Aug. 11, 1993
Wayne Thornton, Supervisor
Plumas National Forest
Dear Mr. Thornton,
I want to thank you for your participation in the Quincy Library Group meeting last Monday. I am very sorry that the levels of frustration felt by some of the participants made you so uncomfortable. I want to believe that I can understand both their frustration and your response. I do understand the levels of anger and bitterness that have built up over many years between the several factions who have an interest in Forest Service practices, both in the paperwork and on the ground. I can only try to imagine how difficult it must be for you to come into an environment that has well over a decade of mistrust, distortions, battered egos, and, most significantly, almost completely destroyed lines of communication between all the many parties involved. For large or small timber companies, or national or local environmental groups, to castigate you for not immediately solving to their satisfaction all their complaints of the last 10- 15 years is quite unfair. In my own case, with regard to the meeting I held with you and Mike Williams in the spring a year ago regarding the Hallett timber sale and my concerns over its impact on future potential recreation, I have no complaint over your unwillingness or, perhaps, your inability, to contradict the many years of work by the Greenville office in planning this sale, though I am too human not to wish otherwise.
You, I, all of the parties involved in these meetings are, unfortunately, only human. I generally think that it is folly to expect humans to solve the many problems that they, by their very humanness, create. Yet at the same time here we are, a roomfull of strong-willed, suspicious, grudge-bearing individuals, finally having been driven to the point where we all realize that we absolutely must attempt to find common solutions to our separate problems, that to reach the future we now agree is our only sensible goal, we must all work together to repair the lines of communication, to rebuild a framework of honesty and trust.
To say that your participation in these efforts is important is an understatement; it is absolutely vital. We all know that the Forest Service will be the agent that will implement whatever new management scheme comes out of these discussions. Your cooperation and support is key to the success of our efforts. Please try to see beyond the sometimes excessive Plumas County recreation of name-calling, scape-goating and oversimplification. We are only human. If we were all smart enough to easily solve this problem then we undoubtedly would not have created it. Please try to appreciate the rather astounding fact that we are trying to solve it, that we must all try to go far beyond the demonstrably inadequate levels of cooperation and communication we have practiced until now.
I find myself looking toward, with considerable excitement, to a time when the results of these deliberations are accepted fact, when the maintenance of healthy communities in a healthy forest is a given. I look toward to many successful meetings between the Forest Service and timber, environmental, and community groups. Indeed, I can, with some incredulity, imagine a time when the Forest Service and our timber companies in fact actualize our community recreational and environmental goals as a matter of course, when environmental groups automatically advocate community and forest health, when residents and visitors alike get to enjoy time spent in healthy, stable communities and in a healthy, stable forest.
Perhaps at that time we may be able to look back at these current meetings and remember how startling, and how difficult, they seemed at the time. For now, these discussions must continue, these delicate lines of communication must be strengthened, honesty and trust simply must be paramount. For us to spend today arguing over yesterday's percieved wrongs will be to condemn our common tomorrow.
I look toward to our next meeting.
Indian Valley Recreation & Park District