In a surprising twist, Lynda V. Mapes of the Seattle Times writes that timber companies and environmentalists are now working together to save Western Washington’s forests. As urban sprawl threatens to swallow the Puget Sound region, logging has been hailed as a sustainable alternative to rising development. Once profitable timberlands are quickly depreciating in value, as developable lands draw more dollars per acre. Legislation filed in Congress last week is designed to help stem the development tide by purchasing rights to build on forested lands. Timber companies could continue to log the land for income.
“We need to hug loggers the way we do farmers,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, who took part in tree-sitting protests in past decades. “Given the choice between a logger and a developer, I’m going to take the logger, even if that challenges some of the notions of my old friends.”