Thursday, October 26, 2017

Forests as communities, not commodities.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me, I am a very big fan of trees.  In fact, most of my educational programs in 2017 were about trees.  Those programs included stories about incredible, ancient trees.  Including trees and forests worthy of a special trip to see:  Goose Island State Park, TX,, Congaree S.C, and  Cook Forest, PA.

One of those enduring forests is in nearby Mohican State Park and Forest (near Loudonville, Ohio.)  You will find the Old-Growth portions within the Clear Fork Gorge State Nature Preserve. There you can visit trees over 300 years old. 

Imagine, trees older than your parents' parents. Older than your great-grand-parents' parents.  Human being beings are such a short -lived species, and yet we rarely take time to notice those who have been on this planet --living, breathing-- and releasing oxygen to sustain the mammals beneath them.

Pardon my paraphrasing of Aldo Leopold's quote to "meme" this magnificent picture of friend, Dan Boone.  The photo was taken in the Clear Fork State Nature Preserve by the talented Andrew Lane Gibson.  Both Dan and Andrew are tree guys, and they have a deep and abiding respect for these giants who will live long past our time on this pale blue dot.

We people of the forest admire not only the trees, but also the plant communities or ecosystems which support- and are supported- by our planet's trees.  We are better off  for having visited these quiet place to commune with nature.  We admire the birds and salamanders.  We study the lichens and ferns. We don't take our forests for granted, as we have seen too many destroyed for short term gains.

Once again, the environmentally savvy find ourselves speaking up for the protection of Mohican and the Hocking Hills.  These trees' value to the local tourism economies far out-weighs the paltry dollars brought to the State coffers by timbering the very trees people come to visit and enjoy.

North Central Ohio Land Conservancy is circulating a petition requesting Gov. Kasich  permanently protect Mohican.  Please consider the merits of its text:  "The State of Ohio has no compelling need to timber our valuable forest lands. Timbering only reduces the value for tourism and recreation.

"These ecosystems provide habitat for breeding species of state threatened birds, bats, and flowers.  Pine groves and hemlocks protect the watershed from erosion and condition the riparian corridor for gamefish and the state endangered Hellbender salamander."

Please follow this link to the NCOLC petition and print two copies.  You, too, can help preserve the trees and habitats Ohioans love to visit.  Use your voice to preserve Mohican in its entirety as a State Park, and allow future generations an opportunity to see these grand evergreen forests in Mid-Ohio.

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