As a retired forest supervisor with Gifford Pinchot National Forest, I’m responding to Bob Dingethal’s Nov. 10 local view, “Mount St. Helens must be protected permanently.” Let’s set the record straight regarding the Gifford Pinchot Task Force’s so-called threat to Mount St. Helens.
The GPTF continues to exploit the National Volcanic Monument by referencing it with many of their anti-positions to legal actions as provided by law. They have challenged a collaborative proposal for a stewardship contract to thin dense forests, a regeneration harvest in which early seral is created for all species of animals, or, in this latter case, a legal right to test drill a long-ago established mining claim to determine the values of pursuing development. As Dingethal points out, such drilling is allowed under the 1872 Mining Law.
I have hiked the Green River below the proposed drilling area, and it’s truly a beautiful stretch of water with large, older forest conditions. This area is not within the National Volcanic Monument; it’s over a mountain range northeast of the monument in an area that drains away from the monument through corporate timber lands. There is clearly no threat to the monument.
Dingethal should make his case on the merits without misrepresentation of the facts. We all respect such an approach even if we differ on the point being made.