Save Our County Forest
EDITORIAL W-PHOTOS: Our county’s forest is being destroyed at an alarming rate, with a response letter to the editor.
On Brown Road near Laurens, two large tracts have been clear-cut. Beside the fire station on South Harper St. Extension, a large tract was clear-cut and now is fenced. Now much farther down the road, trees that separated a field from the road are being torn down.
In order to see the new Connexial Center from I-385 (as a marketing tool), SC DOT (Department of Transportation) went along with a request to cut down all the trees that would obscure the view.
DOT right now is cutting 7 large trees on South Broad Street in Clinton that, the City of Clinton says, were identified as diseased by the SC Forestry Commission.
Every wind storm, it seems, some large tree falls somewhere around Laurens County. It’s not something we’re alone in - wind felled a tree the other day in Newberry and knocked out power to a bunch of people.
We understand that constant tree-trimming is necessary so branches don’t come down and take out power lines. The City of Clinton has earned a national designation - Tree Line City USA - for its success in this area. But as man encroaches on trees more and more, we have to ask - Are we killing ourselves in this never-ending process of controlling trees?
Laurens County is “luckier” than most - we have a National Forest. It doesn’t pay any property tax, but every so often, local government gets a check from timber-cutting and land management. Again, a double-edged sword, trees have to be cut for our governments to “earn” some money.
We can’t plant trees fast enough to keep up with the slaughter. Businesses move into the region, and their primary function is to take wood and turn it into energy-generating chips. Most of these are exported and, yes, America still has plenty of untouched forests - plenty more places were wood can be harvested - but do we really have to be the world’s wood-supply? It’s labor-intensive, but just pick up the wood left to rot after clear-cutting, and you would come away with a lot of this valuable “commodity.”
Clinton has planted plenty of trees. The town oak beside The Depot is starting to show its potential, and we are starting to see a gateway-enhancement at the former American Legion building. We certainly appreciate the City and Clinton Canopy for their efforts in this regard.
And, of course, people can do what they want to with their property; and if they choose not to consult a state forester about the best ways to harvest and re-plant, well, that’s just what we will have to live with - the private ownership of land.
There is going to come a day, though, when we look around and wonder, Where did it all go?