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July 04, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE FINAL FOREST: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest by William Dietrich (Penguin: $11; 303 pp.). A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the Seattle Times, Dietrich examines the ongoing controversy over the fate of the remaining old growth forests, focusing on Forkes, a logging town on the Olympic Peninsula that has been hit hard by environmental restrictions and the recession. He profiles loggers, scientists, mill owners, politicians and ecological activists, and documents the shameful record of the National Forest Service. Although he strives for impartiality, Dietrich's sympathies lie with the beleaguered woods: "To ramble along the mossy mat of a big old-growth log--using it as a sidewalk to look down at the garden of fern, wood-sorrel, salal, skunk cabbage, mushroom, salmon berry, fairy bells, lady's slipper and huckleberry--to do that is to walk across the breast of a giant, sleeping, mother."

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