The U.S. Forest Service announced in a local TV press conference recently that there would be no fire restoration or tree-planting. Leaving the burnt scars of the Gorge fires is about the dumbest thing the U.S. Forest Service has ever suggested and, in my opinion, nothing but a cop out.
Man created the fire and destruction and man should clean it up. Salvage logging is done in Canada right after a fire. Salvage logging in the Gorge, mostly by helicopter, would go a long way toward cleanup and funding for replanting, as the Boy Scouts and others did after the destructive eruption of Mount St. Helens. And look at it now!
If one is to believe the U.S. Forest Service’s “wilderness” argument and excuse for doing nothing, then neither should there be maintained trails or even a man-made bridge across the face of Multnomah Falls — or millions of dollars in fire restoration funds within the Forest Service’s $5.8 billion annual budget.
Without cleanup, restoration and replanting, the Gorge will be a steep, muddy hillside, polluting streams, killing fish, washing away trails and causing Interstate 84 closures after heavy rain and each spring snow melt for decades to come — costing many millions of dollars more.