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'Protecting Redwoods'

May 25, 1988

Three cheers for the courage of those civilized people--employees of Pacific Lumber Co.--for having the courage to quit their jobs in protest over the logging practices of their employer ("Protecting Redwoods," editorial, April 26)!

Anyone who sets foot in any stand of old-growth redwoods that sprinkle our Pacific Coast without leaving it filled with awe and spiritual elation can be nothing but a callous guest to the redwood domain.

How old is "old" when we're talking about old-growth stands of redwoods? About 2,500 years old. Thus, these groves have stood by in their immutable majesty of silence, watching the centuries pass by. Through countless ages of evolution, they have adapted to their enemies in nature--their tannin-filled barks cause insects to flee in distaste, their dry, resinless wood renders them practically impervious to the frequent blitzkrieg of lightning fires.

It seems ironic to think that, until recently, their only enemy was water--water which soaks up at the base of the tree, eventually destabilizing its foothold in the ground, causing it to topple over by virtue of its own sheer size. There the redwood will lie contentedly on its bed of moss and fern for another 2,000 years.

The groves of ancient redwoods are now faced by an additional enemy and that enemy is man. Anyone who has entered the ancient redwood groves knows they are sacred places. This is so whether they stand on protected, government land or on land that is privately owned.

And when one stands in the forest, surrounded by these giant trees, one dares not intrude with anything louder than a whisper. Thus, Pacific's logging of these venerable trees is nothing short of blasphemous.

Let Pacific Lumber Co. (now owned by the Maxxam Group) make a profit--but it should not forget that there's always a cost to doing business, especially when it entails bad investment strategies. There are times when all of us must realize that some things on this earth are more valuable and more important than thousands of little papers stamped with green pictures of our past Presidents.

After all, any barbarian can decimate an ancient forest of trees with a chain saw; it takes a truly civilized person to say no--to protect our ancient forests of redwoods.

JOAN MOUNTEER

Pasadena

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