29 Jan 2009, 8:01pm
Private land policies
by admin

Last Gasp of a Dying Newspaper

Today the bankrupt Seattle PI, days away from closure due to insolvency [here], published a vicious attack on the Boy Scouts of America. While railing about “bans” against gays and atheists, the purpose of the lie-filled diatribe was to “expose” the fact that the BSA has logged (gasp, oh dear) a handful of acres over the last 20 years.

The hit piece from the soon-to-be-defunct Seattle Un Intelligent is [here]. Some choice quotes with revealing commentary follow.

Profit trumps preservation for Boy Scout councils nationwide

They logged, sold thousands of acres of prime lands

By Lewis Kamb, Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Todd Bensman, San Antonio Express-News; Nadja Drost, Albany Times Union; Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle; Seth Rosenfeld, San Francisco Chronicle — Jan 29, 2024

For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts have worn a self-adorned badge as campsite conservationists and good stewards of the land.

“The Boy Scouts were green before it was cool to be green,” said the organization’s national spokesman, Deron Smith.

But for decades, local Boy Scouts of America administrations across the country have clearcut or otherwise conducted high-impact logging on tens of thousands of acres of forestland, often for the love of a different kind of green: cash.

A Hearst Newspapers investigation has found dozens of cases over the past 20 years … Scouting councils have logged across at least 34,000 acres.

My oh my! That’s 1,700 acres per year. Compare and contrast that with the US Government which has burned 100 million acres in wildfires during the same period. That’s 53 square miles for the Boy Scouts versus 156,000 square miles for the Feds, a ratio of 1 to 2,940.

Or consider the Hearst Corporation which clearcut their 67,000 acre estate in the McCloud River drainage in Northern California.

The Boy Scouts may have logged on 34,000 acres over 20 years, but they did not clearcut them all. The BSA owns summer camps and they attempt to maintain healthy forests for the safety and use of the campers.

My own experience with the BSA includes restoration forestry at Camp Baldwin (see Parking Out Camp Baldwin [here]).

The Seattle PI reported:

In some cases, councils have sought to use revenues from logging or land sales to make up for funding lost because of the organization’s controversial bans on gays and atheists from membership and employment rolls. …

“In public, they say they want to teach kids about saving the environment,” said Jane Childers, a longtime Scouting volunteer in Washington who has fought against Scouts’ logging. “But in reality, it’s all about the money.”

The article does not mention which if any of the “journalists” are atheists or gay. That might have been revealing and certainly in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure. The Mayor of Portland is gay and makes no bones about it [here]. Perhaps the “journalists” want people like Sam Adams leading Boy Scout outings.

I don’t know Jane Childers, but I’ll bet she lives in a home built with wood products. It is likely that all the “journalists” who wrote this story do, too. More tellingly, the “journalists” all work for a wood products retailer, the Hearst Corp, which makes its money selling tree pulp stained with ink.

Hypocrisy anyone? They make their incomes selling dead tree stuff. They live in abodes made of dead trees. But they bemoan logging, and have “ethical” hissy fits about money.

Oh, that evil money! Too bad the Seattle PI can’t make a profit and has to fall ignominiously into bankruptcy and fire all its workers, who will be out on their keisters in a few days or weeks begging on the sidewalks for you guessed it, money.

And their homes built of tree stuff will go into foreclosure and they will have to live under a bridge, which in contrast is probably made of concrete and steel, those wonderfully (non-renewable) environmental building products.

Scouting councils nationwide have carried out clearcuts, salvage harvests and other commercial logging in and around sensitive forests, streams and ecosystems that provide habitat for a host of protected species, including salmon, timber wolves, bald eagles and spotted owls.

Gimme a break. Timber wolves? Do they mean Canadian gray wolves or Mexican wolf-dogs? What’s a “timber” wolf? Do wolves eat trees?

No, of course not. Wolves eat deer, elk, moose, cows, sheep, each other, and children. Journalists eat trees.

Our work at Camp Baldwin restored a spotted owl nesting forest in grave danger of catastrophic incineration due to built up fuels. As a consequence, that forest has not burned up and the owls still nest there. How about that?

Sadly, catastrophic forest fires ignited on unkempt and unmanaged Fed land have burned into Boy Scout campgrounds more than once. At Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico the Dan Beard Fire (1998) burned about 4,300 acres including 1,500 acres of Philmont and the Ponil Complex Fire (2002) burned 93,000 acres, including 28,000 acres of Philmont.

Much like other private landowners in the rural West, it is difficult for the BSA to protect its property from wildfires emanating from Federal land. The BSA does hire expert foresters to conduct sustainable forestry operations, including restoration forestry, but it is tough to stop a Fed holocaust at the property lines.

The BSA engages in meadow restoration, small diameter timber thinning, stream improvements, new trail construction, trail maintenance, campsite development, invasive plant species removal, fire rehabilitation, wildlife studies and wildlife management.

At Camp Baldwin we installed a fish ladder for salmon migration on Ramsey Creek with zero funding or help from any government agency or fish advocacy group. It was the right thing to do so we did it.

From Response to various inquiries regarding the Boy Scouts of America, November 12, 2023 [here]

As part of the Good Turn for America initiative, a national call to service by the Boy Scouts of America, thousands of Scouts and volunteers from more than 300 councils across the country, complete conservation projects such as planting trees, recycling, trail restoration, litter and garbage cleanup, removal of invasive plants, and clearing creeks and streams of debris. This is all inspired by their dedication to the Scout Oath and Scout Law. In a very conservative estimate, since 2004 more than 384,000 Scouts and adult volunteers have given more than 1 million Good Turn for America service hours on conservation-related projects.

One example of how Scouting serves to promote awareness and understanding of conservation as a wise and intelligent way to manage natural resources happened last summer. The BSA’s national honor society, Order of the Arrow, partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to conduct its largest service project since World War II. Thousands of Arrowmen from around the country contributed more than 280,000 man-hours of service, resulting in more than $5 million worth of improvements, conservation, and construction work at five national forests.

In addition to ArrowCorps, in 2008 the BSA entered into a partnership with the National Park Service to work cooperatively to reach youth and new audiences through environmental education and volunteer service at national parks, recreation areas, historic sites, and monuments. They will support the Good Turn for America initiative so that more Scouting youth members, families, and adults will be better trained in the responsibilities of good citizenship and will contribute to the conservation of national parks.

Have any of the “journalists” participated in anything like that? Or have they sat on their cans in high rise urban offices sipping South American coffee while telling each other how much they “care” about the environment.

The Seattle PI article also included a few (mighty few) points complimentary to the Boy Scouts:

Some councils selectively logged and thinned trees as a way to remove hazard trees, reduce fire risks, improve habitat and overall create and maintain healthy forests.

Dozens of councils have implemented long-range management plans with assistance from professional foresters to help better manage woodlands, records also show.

But the article immediately showers scorn, developed by it’s own paid assassins:

…the Scouts’ logging broke state rules meant to protect endangered salmon, a consultant said. The council’s logger misidentified the type of waterway next to the harvest site; did not properly define a potentially unstable slope that posed risks of discharging sediment into the waterway, and potentially onto Scouting camp sites; and failed to leave enough trees to meet the required size of buffer next to the waterway, said Chris Mendoza, a conservation biologist hired by Hearst to review the council’s logging plan.

Mendoza is a member and representative of the Washington Forest Law Center [here]. Draw your own conclusions:

The Caucus is composed of the Washington Environmental Council, Conservation Northwest (formerly Northwest Ecosystem Alliance), Washington Trout,  Pacific Rivers Council, The Mountaineers, and the Washington Forest Law Center. …

The Caucus’ representative on the Cooperative Monitoring Evaluation and Research Committee is Chris Mendoza of ARC Consultants. Chris has strong science credentials and field experience. He is a conservation biologist who has worked as a consultant on specific Forests and Fish adaptive management projects.

More from the Seattle PI article:

Chris Len, legal director for the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, an environmental advocacy group that monitors logging in parts of Oregon and California, said he found several flaws when reviewing three state-approved Scout logging plans at Hearst’s request.

The KS Wild website is [here]. Again, draw your own conclusions.

By the way, the Seattle PI also reported:

Told of Mendoza’s findings, council officials disagreed with them, saying that logging met all regulations and was thoughtfully planned to ensure minimal impacts. Only one logging road was built — to haul timber away from the creek to existing Weyerhaeuser roads. …

“It speaks volumes that they won’t allow an independent third-party audit of what they’ve done,” Mendoza countered.

Independent? I do not see how litigious radical enviro groups who shill for the Hearst Corp are in any way independent. But maybe that’s just me.

The 500,000 acre Biscuit Fire (2002) was the largest in Oregon state history. It burned private as well as public land, including the McCaleb Scout Ranch. From the Seattle PI article:

…the state approved the Crater Lake Council to conduct widespread logging at its camp after the massive Biscuit Fire in 2002.

“They savagely logged it,” said Roy Keene, a former timber industry forester turned activist.

Whoops, that’s not quite right. Keene has no forestry degree, and as far as I know does not bill or tout himself as a forester. He is an enviro activist though; that part is correct.

“The old woman who donated that property to the Scouts had entered into an agreement with the state to protect it from logging,” said Keene, senior forester for the Institute for Wildlife Protection.

Well, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Roy does call himself a forester. The Seattle PI certainly does. The  Eugene-based Institute for Wildlife Protection is a sue-happy frequent litigant, of that there is no doubt [here and here, for instance].

So what have we got here? It appears to be a giant smear perpetrated by desperate “journalists” who are about to lose their jobs because the tree-killer newspaper they work for is going belly up.  Hard core litigious enviro shills with zero professional expertise in forestry, and questionable expertise in anything environmental, are quoted at length. The Boy Scouts of America are the target of the smear.

I am not worried about the Boy Scouts. They are a venerable and honorable public service organization and an exemplary steward of land and youth. They will weather this smear as they have so many that preceded it.

I am, however, worried about the future employment of the “journalists” who perped the smear. Where will they turn up next? What other assassinations will they perp? How many more lies and despicable innuendos will all of us have to weather from sue-happy radicals and their toady mouthpieces?

29 Jan 2009, 9:09pm
by Bob Z.


Mike:

You are exactly right. The Hearst paper and the “investigative journalists” are nothing more than hate-mongering hypocrites, to be polite. How many acres were “savagely clearcut” by the PI to publicize this tripe?

Having Roy Keane as an “expert witness,” “Industrial FORESTER” for Gore’s sake, is the dead give-away. This is a hatchet job AND yellow journalism. And — I hate to say it — it looks like it was engineered strictly for newspaper sales and to promote gay rights. What other explanations are there?

I was a Cub Scout, but never a Boy Scout. I had many friends who were both. Maybe some of them were gay. Most of them had enough common sense and ability not to waste 500,000 acres of burned timberland, as the USFS has done, though.

“Wolves” and “salmon” and “evil, greedy, Boy Scouts!” These people are nuts. Also, dishonest and unethical. And maybe some of them are gay. What other explanations are there?

30 Jan 2009, 10:25am
by Forrest Grump


Yah, that SAVAGELY LOGGED comment caught my eye… never mind the trees were SAVAGELY BURNT and therefore D E A D.

See ya, Post Intelligence.

30 Jan 2009, 3:30pm
by Al


The article was not limited to the SPI. It also ran in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Several Hearst papers contributed to the investigation.

30 Jan 2009, 3:59pm
by Mike


Al is correct, which is all the more troubling. We can look forward to the demise of one snake on Medusa’s head, but there are many more to take its place.

The journalist elite look down from their urban glass and steel towers and sneer at the riff-raff buying their papers. The media megacorp logs vast tracts to produce its cellulosic waste stream, but berates the Boy Scouts for caring for their lands in a manner far less environmentally destructive and profit-oriented than the megacorp’s.

This “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality is imperious and vain. The paper emperor is naked.

31 Jan 2009, 12:48pm
by YPmule


Hypocrite Hearst wants the trees cut down for his newspaper, yet helped prevent the legal growing of hemp for paper in America that would have saved a lot of trees.

2 Feb 2009, 11:14am
by bear bait


The crux of the article: the Hearst gay journalists are finding a way to punish the Boy Scouts for keeping pedophiles out of adult leadership rolls. You know that Sam Adams would not be approved to be a Boy Scout leader, even though he is Mayor of Portland. That is real. One of the few things about politics in America today that is real.

I am NOT a fan of Weyerhaeuser. However, that they have real estate and foresters who are BSA volunteers who try to direct the BSA to a good return on properties, is not a crime. It is public service from volunteers who have esoteric knowledge of the business. They are in it to maximize the BSA returns from forest stewardship to support the furthering of the BSA mentoring of young boys and men, to be good citizens. An honorable expenditure of time and effort.

The BSA uses professional foresters who also volunteer much of their time. That is a good thing. Other forest landowners, including the USFS, would be well-advised to make use of professional expertise instead of lame eco-freak know-nothing culls. When the USFS revised their hiring practices by excluding expertise and merit and replacing those with gender-race-political requirements, they dug themselves into an idiot hole they may never recover from.

The Weyerhaeuser road use fee is not changeable. It has to be for one and all. Weyerhaeuser does not “make” money from that. It is their fund for publicly mandated ESA road issues, run off protection, point source pollution mitigation, etc. The government dictates to Weyco how to maintain their roads but gives them no money. So road use pays for road maintenance. Part of cost of doing business. The USFS does not give the BSA relief from road use fees if BSA logs travel on USFS roads.

The whole of the story and the point of it are bogus. Not a story. It’s an invention and indictment of the Boy Scouts by the gay dead tree press. At least we will not be suffering the Hearst P-I “stuff” much longer. — bear bait

9 Feb 2009, 8:10am
by John K.


Yellow journalism lives and howls in San Francisco. It is not accurate that the Hearst Corporation clearcut 67,000 acres in Siskiyou County, but they have done a few small clearcuts. They also harvest timber every year on the property, but keep a low profile about it. However, the statements by the “environmental experts” are worth about as much as the Chronicle itself - maybe good for toilet paper, but watch out for included carcinogens.

9 Feb 2009, 10:05am
by Mike


John,

I am aware that the McCloud Tree Farm is not completely clearcut. In fact, it is well-managed by professional foresters of the exact same caliber as those who manage Boy Scout properties.

We pro foresters go out there and do an incredibly great job no matter who the land owner is.

I am very proud of the professional forestry work I’ve done for the Boy Scouts. It is cutting-edge restoration forestry, ahead of its time and quite successful.

I am embarrassed for the sniveling dipwads and guttersnipes that pimp for the Chronicle. That kind of human trash is a tragic waste of oxygen.

Their hired “experts” are hippie arsonists, drugged up and setting fires to homes and forests. Ought to be in the penitentiary with the Unabomber and his ilk. Toxic radical anarchist morons.

In my humble opinion.

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