Question’s raised

To the Journal editor:

Plum Creek acquired the 650,000 acres of forestland assembled by the former Mead Corp. The lands were located throughout the eastern two-thirds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when Mead owned the paper mill at Gros, just north of Escanaba.

The Mead officials were very community minded and they approved of performing good forestry practices. At the beginning of each 10-year period, a harvesting schedule was prepared to clear cut mature aspen stands, selectively cut hardwood stands that needed thinning, and leave uncut the few remaining white cedar stands for deer’s winter shelter, etc. I spent 35 years with Mead as lands manager.

I feel that it was Plum Creek’s objective to harvest all the merchantable/ saleable products off every acre they acquired, even the valuable hardwood stands. I observed hardwood stands where not a tree of any size was left standing. Plum Creek attempted to plant European larch on a small acreage, but it was only a failure. Today the hardwood clear-cut acres grow only horseweed and burdock.

I contend we should encourage growing as much hardwood veneer as possible. Plum Creek, at the same time doing un-forestry cutting, was making a number of monetary donations to various organizations. I am aware of a number of individuals who interpret this as a means to keep the community appeased relative to Plum Creek’s harvesting practices. I believe their high profits wind up in a western state and do not remain in the Upper Peninsula. Therefore I raise the question: Why did Plum Creek not use the value of these donating monies and leave an equal value in 8 inch diameter trees and under in their cutting of hardwood stands?

We need to think of future persons who want to grow and harvest forest products and to keep the economy in the U.P. I am referring to mining, tourism and forestry as top sources of economy. I cannot think of Plum Creek and its officers as being good stewards of our natural resources. Greed! Mind and hand produce principle/interest. Forestlands produce principle/interest via rain and sunshine; only the latter allow mind and hands to do other good things, using interest only. With our liberal freedoms, we ourselves need to exercise discipline.

Robert Schmeling