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Hope for a Break in Long-Term Drought

May 17, 2003

Re "Forced to Take Out Old Friends" (May 13), about all the dead and dying trees being removed in the San Bernardino National Forest because of beetle infestation and drought: As a hiker of the forest, I have also noticed many signs of severe drought: the lack of a stable snowpack; the low-to-barely trickling streams and creeks; the low lake levels; the variety of dead and dying trees; the scorched, waxen leaves of dead and dying manzanita.

My hope, as this prolonged drought manifests itself throughout the forest, is that we are not witnessing the ecological impact of global warming on the local level. If global warming is causing this lack of snowpack and precipitation, it may mean the slow demise of the forest ecosystem and the extension of our nearby mountainous desert. Hopefully, this drought will break, and our national forest will reemerge and regenerate into a healthier and much stronger ecosystem. I don't care for cliches, but maybe we should pray for rain -- and plenty of cold winters with plenty of snowpack -- and repeated healthy spring runoffs that last right into summer. Just like the good old days.

Bill McEwen

Yucaipa

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