Northeast Swift Timber Project Comment Letter

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Table Mountain Roadless Area inside New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest would be logged — and in some locations clear-cut — under the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed “Northeast Swift” timber project.

The land is visible to the north from the famous Kancamagus Scenic Highway.

This is the eighth timber project proposed in the forest’s roadless areas since 2005, and we have submitted comments outlining our strong opposition.

Standing trees in large blocks of mature forest store carbon and provide high-quality wildlife habitat. In northern New England, the federal government is the landowner best able to create and sustain mature forest conditions, and that should be the management priority rather than creating additional early successional habitat.

Timber harvest can and should occur in some locations, but not in roadless areas, which fulfill the need for mature forest conditions. Undisturbed forest provides clean drinking water to downstream communities.

Moreover, this proposal does not make economic sense. Pristine national forest land supports recreation and tourism, the region’s largest revenue generators; timbering produces much less local economic activity, and puts road-building costs onto taxpayers.