Letters from our readers

September 11, 2013 

APTOPIX Western Wildfires Yosemite

A member of the BLM Silver State Hotshot crew patrols the fire line during burn operations on the southern flank of the Rim Fire on Aug. 30.

MIKE MCMILLAN — AP/U.S. Forest Service

Forest thinning a vital management tool

The Rim fire has been a traumatic and catastrophic event for residents, fish and wildlife in the region. To date, the fire is over 250,000 acres and still burning. Almost the entire fire has been within the Tuolumne River watershed, which provides drinking water to millions of Californians, irrigation water to hundreds of thousands of acres, and important habitat for many species, including the great gray owl, northern goshawk and American marten. The value of these lands is incalculable and the loss of its forests a tragedy.

Although I agree with many of the questions in your Sunday editorial, “Our View: Lessons from Rim fire near Yosemite a generation out,” I would like to point out that the argument that places blame for this fire on environmentalists is misguided and based on poor and incorrect information. In fact there were many thinning projects planned in the Stanislaus National Forest with broad support from various interests including environmental groups.

In 2010 the Tuolumne River Trust led a collaborative planning effort for the Clavey Watershed that included fuel reductions and thinning as a key recommendation in the management of the watershed. As widely reported in recent media stories, many thinning projects were never completed because they never received funding from Congress.

We believe thinning and fuels reduction is an important management tool that should be used and urge our local representatives to support funding these critical activities as well as adequate funding for the long-term recovery of the watershed and forest.

PATRICK KOEPELE

deputy executive director,

Tuolumne River Trust

Modesto

Roundabout a danger in area with teens

Regarding these roundabouts instead of stop signs, there is a definite problem here. These work great if no other car or pedestrians are around. I was driving by James C. Enochs High School the other day as school was getting out. The streets were full of students walking home. Many cars were circling in this roundabout while the kids were blatantly crossing without looking. The cars, some driven by students with little or no driving experience, are circling in a hurry.

It’s apparent these kids have no fear of pain or death because most teenagers don’t. This is a prime location where a roundabout has no business being.

I hope the city of Modesto and the school district rectify this problem before something bad happens.

DAVID H. TEPLY

Modesto

Plan for tunnels to export water is all wet

This letter is written in opposition to building the twin tunnels to export water to Southern California.

Having returned from Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano, I was alarmed at how green the urban sprawl is with lush landscaping and expansive boulevards, parkways and freeways lined with manicured lawns and trees. Of course, the rolling hills outside of the urban centers are a landscape of dry, rocky chaparral.

Contrast this scene with Northern California freeways lined with weeds and dead trees and evidence of burnt hillsides from fires – the result of our water conservation efforts. Land outside urban areas is in heavy agricultural production – farms, orchards and dairies – the “breadbasket” of California.

So why are we planning to send water to Southern California? So they can waste it on urban sprawl, to make a desert green, to permit rampant population growth, etc.? If you do not have the resources to sustain this opulent growth, then you should not be expanding. Taking water from Northern California will severely impact our wildlife, ability to farm and the economy.

Please stop the twin tunnels.

JOSEPH COOK

Manteca

Brains overloaded as we age

In response to “Video games may boost mental abilities in older people” (Sept. 5): While it was interesting, I was surprised that the story didn’t mention my theory: that as we age, we have so much stuff in our brains, that it takes forever to access what we want to remember. Therefore, it takes a while to finally get the memory out and to tell the person to whom we are talking what we were trying to tell them.

ANNE M. STEELE

Modesto

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