Home Commentary Letters to the Editor, Feb. 7, 2024

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 7, 2024

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Don’t Speak for Other Cultures

To the Editor:

As a retired archaeologist who spent decades working with Native tribes throughout the United States related to federal land management policies, I would caution David Hinton, and all of us who are not Native, from comparing the current concept of federal wilderness areas to any “Native American ideal.” 

The concept of “Wilderness” is a social construct that originated from an entirely white, Euro-centric, and some would say elitist and racist ideology. Native American cultures were and are extremely diverse, and there are many examples of societies that collapsed as a result of Native-caused environmental degradation coupled with drought and other climatic changes, as well as societies that existed successfully for thousands of years because of sustainable resource use. 

 There are many valid reasons to argue for protecting the Worcester Range. Let’s not pretend we know or can speak for other cultures and their relationship with the land. From my professional experience I can tell you it is very complex and nuanced and the Native groups I worked with find any comparison between their beliefs and ours to be insulting and quite frankly, ignorant. 

Mark Martin, Barre

Logging Plan Compromises Streams

To the Editor:

I have looked at the state’s Worcester Range Management Plan and the various maps supplied. If one superimposes the #42 Timber Implementation map over the #4 Topographic map, it can be seen that the #9 and #12 timber sale areas fall directly over Hancock Brook and at least four of its tributaries. Using the same superimposition, it can be seen that the timber sale areas #1, #4, #7 and #10 fall over Minister Brook and at least five of its tributaries. Further south, timber areas #5 and #43, just below Burnt and White Rock mountains, fall over Shady Rill Brook tributaries. 

These three brooks are the primary drainage off the east slopes of the Worcesters in the designated “Potential Vegetation Management Areas.” These are steep fast-moving streams moving a lot of water quickly. The results of large rains starting Oct. 31 of 2019 can be seen readily along their banks, with overflow reaching areas that have not been flooded in the 43 years I have been hiking them. 

It’s hard to imagine implementing a plan that would compromise these three primary drainage areas as being sensible. The proposed timber sale plots lie directly in the critical areas of confluence of so many tributaries of these primary streams, which then enter the North Branch, flowing on to Montpelier and beyond. The effect of logging the seemingly small timber plots would, in my opinion, be very negative to drainage, not to speak of the loss of wildness [sic]. 

Concerning wildness; the approach to, and the lower section of the Worcester Mountain trail is one of the most undisturbed trailheads around, either by logging or housing. I am nearly at a loss for words to describe the effect the proposed timber sales #9 and #12 would have on this undisturbed area, which includes a series of superb waterfalls 15 minutes from the trailhead. The waterfalls and surrounding beautiful areas are extremely close to where these two timber areas abut.

Jim Kelso, Worcester

Make Worcester Range an Ecological Reserve

To the Editor: 

I live in Barre Town and have hiked the Worcester Range many times in my youth. I hope the state will please reconsider the plans to harvest timber in the Worcester Range. 

Declaring the Worcester Range an “Ecological Reserve” would be in keeping with the numerous federally designated wilderness areas in the state and would make it in fact among the larger such areas (federal wilderness areas in Vermont range from around 4,000 acres to 25,000 acres). And because it would further Vermont’s image as an ecologically pristine place, it would also offer more economic value to the tourist industry and producers using the “Made in Vermont” label than the value of the timber that could be extracted. In fact, this should be the first of a state-wide network of such wilderness areas, as essentially called for in Act 59: an eventuality that could become the crown jewel of Vermont’s image as an environmental refuge.

I hope the state will reconsider its management plan and establish the entire Worcester Range as a permanent “Ecological Reserve.” PLEASE keep Vermont pristine! 

Gale Rome, Barre Town

Letters to the editor represent the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of The Bridge. Submit your letter by email to editor@montpelierbridge.com. Preference is given to submissions by those who live in central Vermont, should not exceed 300 words in length, and may be edited for brevity and accuracy.