I plant trees as a way to slow climate change

I’ve been a volunteer for the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust for nearly 20 years and I’m still learning.

At the Nonprofit Leadership Conference I participated in a workshop on communications. One of the items that caught my interest was the acronym WDYDWYD. That means “why do you do what you do?.” And that got me thinking of which personal experiences led me to the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust.

I remember many new experiences as a young teen at a group camp. The camp was about 400 acres of large trees, lakefront, trails and opportunities. The trees seemed very large and most of them are still standing today. The many wonderful opportunities at camp included swimming, canoeing, cooking over a campfire, hiking and sleeping under the stars. We also learned about knives and knots, first aid, and learning to trust and care for each other and our camp — our environment.

Another experience occurred as a young adult; this was possible while renting a small home on the Deschutes River near Yelm. Across the river and to the south and east was commercial timber. At that time I thought very little about the commercial timber process.

I often spent time walking roads through the timber and along the river. I watched coyotes hunting and otters playing in the river, I watched the fish and the current. The hours spent here were more special to me than anything else. I was in a place where breathing was good and quiet was better.

But one day when I went walking the timber was gone. It was a shock to walk past the large stumps and see the trees were gone. There was no place for coyotes or hawks to hunt. The creek water was muddy and by midsummer there was no creek at all.

Today I know much more about timber practices and the environment. I know that humans need both — wood for homes and standing trees to protect the rivers, habitat and wildlife. I also know that the camp might have been sold and be gone forever. The camp was donated by the Seymour family and creation of a trust was dictated by Mrs. Seymour in August of 1935. The camp I know is still growing trees and welcoming campers because of a Trust.

Years later I read a news article about the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust needing volunteers to help plant native trees on the Discovery Trail north of Centralia. The Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the Discovery Trail and is dedicated to protecting it in perpetuity.

Washington is known as the Evergreen State and most of us enjoy seeing large green areas around us. But most of the large green areas are timberlands. Some timber lands are managed by our Department of Natural Resources, and others are private companies. So I contacted some timber company employees to hear what is new in timber management.

An example of change in commercial forestry is Green Diamond. The company is a sixth-generation, family-owned forest products company that owns and manages working forests in nine states throughout the Western and Southern U.S. In Washington, the company has timberlands that are third-party certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards,

Also, the timberlands in Western Washington are managed under a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The HCP protects 51 fish and wildlife species. Green Diamond has also partnered with the Trust for Public Land to permanently prevent development of over 20,000 acres by entering a conservation easement of coastal forest near the southwestern end of Puget Sound.

Another example of commercial forestry management is Port Blakely Timber. The website states: ”Port Blakely’s story is one of innovation, determination and stewardship. It’s about cultivating a healthy world by caring for our forests to produce the sustainable forest products we grow and the communities we support.”

For instance, they manage lands in various ways and consider the best use. Port Blakely has opened and protected miles of streams for fish, amphibians and clean water. And they set aside properties and buffers from the typical rotation of harvest. They have conservation easements that stipulate when timber can be harvested and they have 10,000 acres in voluntary carbon credits.

All of Washington’s green hillsides are storing carbon which helps fight climate change. But almost all commercial timber lands are used for lumber, and very few have a lifetime trust to protect those lands. Commercial timber companies must make money to pay employees and directors, and (lucky for the land trusts and local communities) most also support local nonprofits.

In closing, why do I do what I do? I plant trees as a way to slow climate change. That is one small action; there are others that you and I can do. Simple things like turning off the electric lights when leaving a room, use a car as little as possible (take a bus or walk). And I believe all the Land Trusts across the state will continue to protect natural lands so that communities and individuals will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment. It’s what I do. WDYDWYD?

Jan Robinson

Vice President

Chehalis River Basin Land Trust

Speed bumps won’t help salmon

You find them on city streets to slow down traffic and in one gas station in Aberdeen.

The state has a better idea. They are putting them up on U.S. Highway 12 and 8 in Grays Harbor County. These speed bumps are supposed to be for safe salmon passage. Their speed bumps are costing us a million dollars a day.

Where they are being put, there are no fish.

Only problem with those speed bumps is that they have bridges under them for improved fish runs.

News flash! There will not — nor have there ever been — any fish there.

Lonnie Yucha


The salmon are never coming back

I had to laugh reading that culverts are the chief reason salmon aren’t coming back. Please, please start using your thinking caps.

First, a five gallon bucket of salmon roe is currently valued at over $40,000.

Second, a major Seattle newspaper has been observed running help wanted ads for salmon roe inspectors.

Third, wooden crates marked export salmon roe have been observed in Grays Harbor.

Fourth, approximately 30 years ago salmon roe was prominently featured atop a new fad food, sushi.

Fifth, associates who have been working at Western Washington fish hatcheries, both state and native, tell me the same. Since the early ’90s they’ve witnessed salmon roe being removed from the fish — then shipped out.

Sixth, if the salmon eggs aren’t staying in our rivers, and I don’t mean by way of the final native runs, which have swallowed barbless hooks and then die anyway. Thanks to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and their idiotic catch and release meddling. Floating dead, back down stream, loaded with full skeins. Collateral damage.

The salmon are never coming back no matter how many dams we breach or culverts we replace.

Norske Copstead