As a resident of Sunnyside, I was pleased to see coverage of the proposed timber sale within the peninsula in the December 1 issue of The Reader. Along with other Friends of Sunnyside Cedars, I oppose the logging of the two parcels.
I am not a forester and realize that I may not be aware of some important aspects of the proposed sale, but I have walked this land. It is beautiful, graced by towering cedar and other trees, green-filtered sunlight, peaceful wetlands, and varied topography that includes a fairly steep ascent up a ridge. It is reminiscent of the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, but it is just a few miles from Sandpoint, not a 1.5-hour drive to Montana.
While in the forest, I saw relatively few marked trees—the ones that would remain after logging. As most trees were not marked, it was clear that, if they are cut, little will remain of the forest. It also seems likely that with the loss of so many trees, erosion of the ridge would be substantial, damaging or ruining it, the wetlands below, and the habitat of many plants and animals.
In the article in The Reader, IDFG’s Panhandle Regional Supervisor Chip Corsi is quoted as saying: “The conservation benefits that IDFG can provide elsewhere outweigh any possible short-term negative impacts of this sale.” It is difficult to believe that the impacts of logging this forest will be anything other than actual, long-term, and worse than merely negative. The benefits have yet to be defined, so it is impossible to evaluate them or whether or not they are worth the sacrifice of the forest’s cedars. Surely there are ways for IDFG to fund regional conservation projects that do not require the logging of an unusual, beneficial natural area that could remain as it is or, in the future, become Sandpoint’s and Bonner County’s own cedar forest park for people to enjoy.