In the March 7 issue of the Star News was an article entitled, The Value of Wilderness. I would like to express my views on this article.
Fifty years ago, when the wilderness proposal was made into law, we had lands covered with a beautiful forest. If you flew over it in an airplane you would see some wildlife, pristine forests and streams, which would run over the banks in spring but usually when the high-water season was over they would stabilize and hold that flow until the next spring high water.
Last summer, I flew over a fair portion of the wilderness, and what I did see was absolutely nothing in the way of wildlife or pristine forest and streams. What I did see was complete devastation due to wildfires, stream channels washed down to bedrock, with no water flowing in them, due to no forests to hold the water and release it slowly. I also noticed that most of the streams and river were almost dry where 50 years ago they had water in them. Water is something that no living organism can live without and cannot be made artificially.
This article stated that the wilderness was a definite boost to our economy. The only people who I can see that benefitted was the U.S.F.S., because a spokesman for the Payette forest stated in
“2017 that in 2015, 56 percent of the U.S.F.S. budget was spent on wildfires, in 1995 it was only 16 percent and it is projected to be 67 percent, by 2025.” These are the people who are being paid to protect the forests. They also have a let-burn policy and favor prescribed burns.