To the Editor:
The Shawnee National Forest is about to approve massive logging, burning, spraying and other destructive practices on 15,000 of national forest in south Pope County, where I have lived for 38 years.
The justification for this project is based on unproven assumptions and out and out falsehoods. It will decimate one of the largest and most relatively undisturbed and unbroken areas of older forest in the entire Shawnee.
The Shawnee and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have purposefully kept local residents out of planning efforts, while bringing in hand-picked supporters from across the state in sham public involvement activities. They base their conclusions on findings of a hand picked committee that held secret meetings that a federal judge ruled should have been public.
The agency purports to restore “barrens” habitat. In reality, they have destroyed their very showcase barrens management area, “Dean Cemetery East,” by employing the very techniques that they now claim is mysteriously going to work on a widely expanded area.
Where is the oversight of our federal representatives? This project is going to cost large amounts of money at a time when campgrounds are closing, trails are a mess, parking areas are insecure, and county access roads are in bad shape. The late U.S. Rep. Sid Yates is rolling over in his grave.
We need our trees. They are worth more than being sold for pennies. We need the truth. And we need the public to be involved.