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Letter: Erie County forest plan takes the right approach

Erie County has almost completed the update to its parks master plan after many months of outreach. This review has happily included the public and a multitude of stakeholders.

Unlike the 2003 plan, the 2018 update includes a preliminary review of the forestry lots by a forest technician, as a precursor to the recommended full update to the Forest Management Plan for the county’s 13 forest lots. Recently though, two published opinions appeared that have taken the position that the forest lots section was merely “a bad plan designed to extract a few dollars.”

To turn a phrase, the authors of these opposition pieces simply cannot see the forest for the trees. Our forests are in need of a comprehensive plan for their sustainability. To suggest that Erie County should take a hands-off approach to management of the forests and leave the lots to the whims of nature is completely irresponsible.

Harvesting and timbering to ensure forest canopy and understory health, reduce the danger of widespread fire, and contain and eliminate invasive species fall squarely within widely accepted forest management policies that ensure long-term benefits for the public.

While it is true that in the early 2000s logging did take place in Erie County forests in a manner that was poorly executed, the suggestion that the current draft update plan is a repeat of the past is simply wrong.

In fact, the very first recommendation regarding the forestry lots in this updated plan is to create a Forest Management Plan for the 3,200 acres of forest lots managed by the Erie County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department.

I, and the other members of the Environmental Management Council, look forward to working with the county on developing a Forest Management Plan to ensure the long-term sustainability and preservation of our forests.

Paul Michalec

Evans

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