- Your Town
To the editor,
Dear Linda, you’re wrong again.
You see, while you take wild guesses I worked for the Bureau Of Land Management for a time and have knowledge of government tree sales and the Headwaters which is under BLM control in California. I lived in Humboldt each summer with my family since I was 7, I worked and ran racehorses there, two weeks each summer during the horse racing meet until 2007.
Humboldt is not a big county. It’s two thirds the size of Beaverhead.
The county contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests in the world, the vast majority of which is protected or strictly conserved within dozens of national, state, and local forests and parks, totaling approximately 680,000 acres. Humboldt also houses 8 of the Indian nations of California They preserve their forests as well.
Despite premature accounts of its demise by people like you, in 2011 Humboldt’s timber harvest of 400 million board feet represented almost one-quarter of the state’s total harvest volume … Montana’s entire timber harvest volume during 2011 was an estimated 348 million board feet, about the same as the estimate of 347 million board feet for 2010. Total Montana forest industry employment during 2011 was about 6,530 statewide. The last three years’ harvests are the lowest since 1945, and the industry is still dealing with harvest levels that have been declining since the early 1990s. It wasn’t radical environmentalists; it was the crappy way industry up here has handled its affairs
The forest products industry in Humboldt supports about 4,300 jobs in the greater industry, jobs that continue to boast some of the best wages and benefits on the North Coast, according to a 2004 study by SHN Consulting Engineers & Geologists Inc. of Eureka.
In recent years, the industry has fueled the local economy with combined annual spending of more than $300 million, including payroll, expenditures for local forestry and support services, charitable giving and payments to local government, which in turn supports another 1,800 jobs.
What accounts for this boom you won’t talk about? About 1 million acres of “privately owned land” in Humboldt that is designated as timber production zones, devoted to the growing and harvesting of redwood and blue fir trees — activity that employs a range of professionals from foresters and – shock of all shocks – environmental consultants, to loggers, truckers … all working together.