Pho tos by Roy Hame r ic the “oldest and largest” original beech/magnolia association system left in the world, and Chambers Ferry, 5000 acres also in the Sabine; Big Creek, 5000 acres, Little Lake Creek, 4900 acres, and Four Notch-Briar Creek, 6200 acres in the Sam Houston National Forest; Upland Island, 9200 acres, Turkey Hill, 6200 acres, and Jordan Creek, 7800 acres, all in the Angelina National Forest; Big Slough, 3800 acres and Alabama Creek, 3400 acres in the Davy Crockett National Forest. All of the areas are different, Fritz and other naturalists say. They contain distinctive plant associations and species. Jordan’s Creek for example, has the national champion flameleaf sumac and bluejack oak, the largest pitcher plant seep, the northernmost baygalls along with ten-mile views. Upland Island has the “greatest diversity,” Fritz says, with the largest tree, a bald cypress, a national champion longleaf pine, a state champion parsley haw, rock columns, a canoeing river, one of two known locations of the flathead grasshopper, and one of four locations in the world of the fungus boletus albisulphureus. At Indian Mounds are green reinorchids, five-leafed jack-in-the-pulpit, and yellow lady’s slipper, along with a permanent spring pool where wagon trains watered, fossil beds, and petrified rock. Fritz believes the time is right to save these areas, because, he says, “the people in East Texas have seen the extent of widespread indiscriminate clearcutting, grasshoppered across East Texas, sometimes more like bombed. In private land-holdings there will be hundreds of acres, but in Forest Service areas there are only thirty or forty; however, right 12 OCTOBER 14, 1983 up against that there will be another one . . . and in seventy years or so the whole thing will have been clearcut with the exception of three or four percent of bottomland hardwoods which haven’t yet reached the age of one-hundred years.” \(The Forest Service is cutting on a rotation of seventy years for loblolly pine and “When the bottomland hardwood is cut,” Fritz told the Observer, “it reverts to a large extent to pine, at least 50% , because pines grow faster and take over. And then the Forest Service will say `Look we have all this pine . . . let’s try and keep them,’ and they will start burning and get all the hardwood out. “What we lose then is the gene pool . . . the genetic stock that we cross with our usable products for food, fiber, medical and industrial use,” Fritz continued. “Once we have wiped out the intermixed ecosystem, even the isolated species don’t maintain the power of revigorization that the natural ecosystem maintains through the survival of the mixed species. “Then we lose the soil quality because in a mixed natural system every species is performing a function. For example, the dogwood is a calcium pump. Its roots go down deep and bring the calcium up into the leaves and twigs, and then when they fall, they enrich the soil with calcium . . . and all species have a role like that.” Other losses, Fritz says, include recreational value. A lot of people just want to “feel and enjoy” the diversity of a natural forest. Tourism will increase with wilderness area designation, Fritz believes, since, despite Wilson’s claim to the contrary, all of the areas will be unrestricted and there will be no charge for camping. Even the Forest Service says wilderness designation will have an “insignificant impact” . on the timber industry jobs but could considerably increase “touristrelated jobs.” According to Fritz, Wilson now says he’s concerned, not about the big timber companies, but the small operators who get to bid only on small blocks. Most of the timber is bought by the large companies. \(Four out of five of the largest research shows that the most the small business could lose is about 2’h % of what they are currently allowed to cut and he believes that could be made up by more efficient development of private timberlands. “It’s just a special privilege,” Fritz said, “and right now the Forest Service is providing a disporpor tionate amount of the timber” to the industry. “In a political dispute such as this,” Wilson wrote in the American-Statesman, “one side usually questions the other’s motives. In this case it is my motive being questioned because of my long-time association with and employment by Temple-Eastex. If there is one thing the people should understand it is that, to paraphrase Rhett Butler’s immortal words in ‘Gone With the Wind,’ `Frankly, my dear, Temple-Eastex doesn’t give a damn.’ ” As a matter of fact, it would benefit Temple-Eastex if all national forests were to be taken out of timber production. Temple-Eastex owns a million acres of prime, wellmanaged forestland.” .. and after clear cutting.
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