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For example, the town of Tupper Lake would benefit from an electric cogeneration plant. Trees could be harvested from the surrounding "Forever Wild" state lands and be used to produce energy for the town. Every part of the equation is already in Tupper Lake, except for the plant. Local businesses and residents may also gain the benefit of steam for heat from the plant. Schools in Vermont are currently heating with wood chips produced locally, why aren't ours? This could be one way to teach responsibility to the next generations.

The final step in the process would be to come up with a unique forest management system that will upgrade our forest's health, species composition, and the ecosystems that make up the forests. More jobs, cleaner air, healthier forest ecosystems, and continuing revenue could and should happen through the careful harvesting of "Forever Wild" state land.

I consider myself an environmentalist and I also cut trees for a living. There is probably some sawdust in my blood as the saying goes. I know that when done properly, forestry has many positive outcomes. Many people are trained to think that cutting trees is a bad practice. In reality, proper forestry harvests the natural mortality. The trees that are harvested as part of forest management are the sick, dying, dead, and overmature trees that are going to fall down and rot on the forest floor naturally. Gasses like carbon dioxide are given off into the atmosphere through the decomposition process, so by using this wood instead of leaving it to rot we can harvest usable energy.

The next tree(s) that grows in its place ties up the carbon that we released through the energy making process. Please consider my plea to properly manage and harvest "Forever Wild" lands for the benefit of our future and to give our community lasting jobs, financial stability, and some pride in spending our hard earned money locally. It is the correct choice and the time is now.

Tom Bartiss Jr. is owner of Woods-Edge Forestry in Vermontville. He can be reached at tom@woodsedgeforestry.com

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