There must be careful forest product extraction (perhaps somewhere in this world, I’m not at all sure about this) and there is what’s going on on our ridge even as I sit here pretending not to hear the clank of the iron treads of the bigger-hammer machinery on our hillside, where our property——raped over by loggers itself in 1994——meets our new neighbor’s 120 acres. It is a spine of a ridge where the boundary runs, and visually, it was of a single piece, a place we went to feel enveloped by the whole of this place.
The pillaging started about a month ago. Yesterday we climbed several hundred feet to the top of our ridge, to this spine of high land, to look down into the adjoining valley and we were sickened by the sight. This is not a figure of speech. No forest logging is beautiful but some is hideous, and this is hideous.
The felling we saw was not selective, cutting was not careful, and I’d guess at least half a dozen trees were severely debarked,Â root—damaged, pushed over or splintered for every tree trunk put on one of two trucks that rumble past here several times a day, spewing white smoke as if they were fogging in Miami for mosquitoes. The logging gouges called roads cut across contours in the clay soil without water-lets, and the silt and erosion in Goose Creek will be horrible, all the way to the confluence that forms the south fork of the Roanoke River.
I’m disappointed in the neighbor/property owner for not placing restrictions on the loggers. Might be, he bought here more with the intention of making a profit than making good neighbors.
I wish I could say I expected anything more from these loggers, but other than Jason Rutledge, our local horse-assisted woodsman, I’ve never witnessed anything other than this kind of disregard for the forest by the “industry professionals”, living trees extracted as a commodity and a paycheck, Once-lers like Seuss’s Lorax deforesters, with no thought or regard for the next generation of life on that piece of dirt once they were paid and gone.
I’m disappointed with the county forestry office, who confers meaningless approval and permit on operations like this, then looks the other way. I have seen this before, sad to say.
The worst thing is that this careless, wanton plundering of natural resources is happening on a massive, worldwide scale every minute of every day. It is making a few rich, who live where they do not have to see the results of what they’ve done. It’s just more poignant to see and hear and smell it from one’s front porch. And I’m feeling very sad just now.