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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Clearcut should stir Langley residents to action
To the editor:
Has anyone noticed the clearcut logging operation at the intersection of Maxwelton and Langley roads?
I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and thought, “Hmmm, that’s too bad. I wonder how that happened.” Life is busy — four kids, two dogs, a wife, goat and a job (not necessarily in that order!) all competing for my attention. Who has time for taking it any further? I drove on.
Last Monday I woke to the sound of a chainsaw in my backyard.
After a short walk thru the woods I introduced myself to the nice forester and discovered that this clearcut goes way back over the hill and shares a property line with me.
Well, I set life aside for a few days and this is what I found:
The clearcut logging operation on the doorstep of Langley appears to be absolutely legal. It is permitted and meets all regulations I could find. I have no legal quarrel with the landowner.
There are no public notification requirements for this action.
It can happen fast. You can be logging within six days of submitting a permit.
Does this trouble you? It certainly troubles me — I’m troubled because I personally don’t like the visual impact.
The clearcut is on the back side of my property and I am more likely to see it driving around town, but I really feel for the
homeowners and business owners living with this immediately outside their windows. Can you imagine?
I’m troubled about other possible impacts as well (erosion, Langley aquifer, local tourism/image). I’m troubled because any intervention I could imagine would also impact the rights of a property owner.
In general, I don’t want to go there. Live and let live, right?
Wrong. We all live here. In community.
Unless I’m mistaken, I think clearcutting in this community is an old paradigm. I think our perspective has changed; new people and ideas, response to global warming, a war overseas and a stumbling economy locally. Has your lifestyle changed in the last five years? Mine has — I’m much more focused locally.
What would I have different about this situation?
Notification, discussion and local oversight; the Department of Natural Resources, currently issues the permit in a vacuum. DNR is used to administering timber stands in the forest. They don’t do a good job considering local situations.
Who gets hurt? The landowner’s rights would be more at risk if they had to consider other parties.
I think we need to protect those rights, but a landowner in a community has different responsibilities than a backwoods landowner. This property is in an urban growth area. The urban entity should have a right to comment. The neighbors who live there should have a right to comment. And those comments should carry the weight of local oversight.
DNR has provision for transferring oversight to local entities, counties or municipalities.
Talk to your neighbors, write your county commissioners. There is an election underway. Make your representative aware of your concerns and consider if their opponent might be more responsive.
Get involved. Vote. Don’t just drive on down the road and say, “I wonder how that happened.” It might be your backyard next week.