News (from 2002)

Naturalists are once more facing off against Governor Dick’s board of trustees over their latest attempt to log.

As of the October 16th. [2002] board meeting, 266 trees on 16 acres have been marked for logging. But that’s just the start. They’re considering more on up to 100 acres between Pinch Road and the tower.

Since 2001, the board has tried different excuses for logging, but their arguments always return to money. In 2005, spokesperson Chuck Allwein told the Lancaster Sunday News logging would help them meet their financial obligations. At this October’s meeting, he again defended logging citing a need to balance their budget.

Their priorities are also obvious by their choice of forester whose business is timber management and pesticide applications, and who defends logging Governor Dick by citing a need for wood and paper products.

Their latest excuse for logging is gypsy moth damage. They sprayed 100 acres ignoring naturalists warnings that this would negatively impact other species (including gypsy moth predators) and is an ineffective long-term control. A study from Hawk Mountain (which doesn’t log or spray) found the same thing. Ironically, or perhaps predictably, it’s this same 100 acres that suffered gypsy moth damage and is now being considered for their overly ambitious logging scheme.

Having unsuccessfully tried to convince people to accept logging before, the board is now trying a less ecological tactic – fear! A dead tree might fall on someone!

Dead trees are part of nature. They provide habitat, nutrients, and many benefits vital for a forest’s health – areas damaged by this summer are even already regenerating on their own. Logging robs a forest of these benefits. Worse, logging equipment causes erosion, compacts soil, crushes forest floor inhabitants, and inhibits the regrowth of native wildflowers while encouraging invasive species. Their forester responded to these criticisms by saying any damage will be within “government guidelines”.

No one argues against cutting individual trees that pose an immediate risk in hight traffic areas. But the board’s definition of risk is excessive ranging from every dead tree within 120 feet of every trail (plus blocks of adjoining forest to make it easier for logging equipment) up to the entire 100 acres.

There’s a very real difference between how naturalists respect a forest and how timber managers see the trees (or saw the wood). It comes down to the value of preserving biodiversity versus the little temporary monetary gain logging can provide.

But money’s not the problem. The problem is the board’s inability to prioritize. They found money to build ‘Possum Lodge,’ their half million dollar ‘environmental center’ (basically an empty shell with stuffed animals and posters). They found money to add a new fireplace, hardwood floors, pavilions, and other questionable luxuries. They grew a $6,000 annual budget to $160,000. Now they want the forest to pay.

Governor Dick’s future is being decided now. Speak out! Attend board meetings (every 3rd. Thursday, 7 PM). Write letters to the editor. Tell the trustees to appoint members to the board who understand forest ecology. (The trustees are Lebanon County and Sico Corporation, see under ‘Administration’)

They’re not making forests like Governor Dick anymore. This is it!

Thank You, And May The Forest Be With You!

Postscript: The text of this section is borrowed from an abandoned Friends of Governor Dick website from 2002; minor formatting and editing has been added. We would love to know who penned these words, if you recognize them, please use the contact form to reach out.