Fear not Adirondack clear-cutting proposal
Re Dec. 16 letter, “State mustn’t allow massive clear-cutting in Adirondack forests”: Bernard Melewski contends that the Adirondack Park Agency’s proposed changes regarding clear cutting “is a bad idea.” It’s not!
Using carefully chosen words and phrases, Mr. Melewski would have you believe that this change threatens public woodlands. It does not! It will make it possible for private landowners to more simply and effectively manage their woodlands. He uses the term “clear cut” pejoratively, as if it were a deplorable practice. It is not! It can be a useful tool to promote the overall health and balance of forest habitat.
The Adirondack Park consists of 6 million areas of public and private land. The public owns 2.6 million of those acres (43 percent). The regulatory change Mr. Melewski rails against does not threaten a single tree that the “public” owns. Every tree on public land is protected by the state Constitution. This change applies only to privately owned woodlands. Think of it as Mr. Melewski suggesting to your town board that he knows best how you should trim your shrubs.
“Public easement lands” are lands that a private landowner has generously agreed to make available for pubic use: hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, etc. However, the land remains his. The word “public” is misleading, as if the land has somehow become taxpayer owned. The owner has opened his lands to you, but he reserves the right to the timber. This is certainly not unreasonable.
Residents and landowners in the park regard APA regulations as onerous, overly complex and restrictive. This change will make them less so and allow landowners greater flexibility in managing their lands.
I am an Adirondack landowner. The sale of timber does help pay the taxes. The timber is used for things we use every day — paper, kitchen cabinets, home construction. I have come to know and admire the hard-working people of this economically depressed area. Working in the woods is one of the few ways for them to earn a decent wage. Making it simpler to own and manage these private timberlands makes it possible to continue to offer these job opportunities.
Do not be deceived. In the interest of fairness to landowners and residents of the Adirondacks, I urge you to support this worthwhile change.
Coyotes vital to New York’s balance of nature
Ed Noonan’s Dec. 20 hunting column [“Helping to thin coyote problem”] painted coyotes as the enemy because they had killed a calf. It is important to have some perspective about the relative populations of various animals in New York state.
The Department of Environmental Conservation estimates there are an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 coyotes in New York, while there are approximately 1.4 million cows. Threats to livestock have long been used as a justification to drive a variety of predators, including coyotes and wolves, to near-extinction through much of their North American range.
Among other things, the dwindling population of predators has allowed white-tailed deer populations to boom in recent decades. The economic and ecological costs of a large deer population — over 1 million in New York — far exceeds any impacts of coyotes in the state.
I hope that next year, Mr. Noonan fills his deer quota, while helping rebuild the coyote population to their proper place in the landscape.
The writer is an associate professor for the Department of Biological Sciences.
Anti-pill screed loaded with misinformation
I read with interest the Dec. 20 letter, “‘Women’s health care’ an oxymoron with pill,” by Maristella Greco. I believe that letters to the editor that try to use facts should correctly report them, so as a clinical pharmacologist I’d like to set the record straight.
First, the “effect” of the pill on the reproductive system has been shown to be fully reversible upon stopping the pill. Next, all drugs have side effects, but there is no supporting data to suggest that women who take the pill have children with an increase in childhood illness or autism.
The pill has many positive benefits, regulation of menses, treatment of acne in certain women, prevention of pregnancy when used correctly and very importantly, reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, and is often a “silent” cancer until late diagnosis. Only 50 percent of women live more than five years after diagnosis. The use of oral contraceptives has prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of ovarian cancer in the United States. These drugs have contributed greatly to women’s health care worldwide.
Finally, a comment about early sex: Where, exactly, is the supporting data that says early sex “inhibits their growth physically and intellectually?” There is no factual basis for that statement.
I would remind everyone to be careful using facts from lay magazines and Internet sites because they are unregulated. Data from factual, controlled sources such as mayoclinic.com, webmd.com and the like provide accurate and reviewed information that is geared to the lay public.
NRA halted Conn. ban on multi-shot gun clips
Re news coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre: I was surprised I didn’t hear the normal “guns don’t kill, people do” response from the NRA. They were uncharacteristically silent on the matter.
I was in Washington for a few days, and on Dec. 17 saw a piece in the Baltimore Sun that could explain the NRA’s lack of response.
High-volume clips like the one used at Sandy Hook contain up to 30 bullets. You have to ask yourself why anyone needs 30 bullets in a gun. After the Gifford massacre in Arizona in 2009, the Connecticut Legislature drafted a bill that would limit the number of bullets in a clip to nine: After nine shots, the shooter would have to remove the clip and insert a new one. The bill had a lot of support until the NRA, using its considerable influence, killed it.
Of course it’s hard to speculate, but let’s say the measure passed and the shooter’s mother who owned the gun used in the massacre, complied with the law. He pumped four bullets into his mother before proceeding to the school. He shot at least five times in and around the principal’s office. He was met with resistance from the office staff, and if he [had run] out of bullets they may have subdued him.
It’s possible that 20 kids would have enjoyed Christmas with the rest of us if the NRA had just stayed out of Connecticut’s business. Shame on the NRA, and shame on the legislators who voted against the measure.
More guns, not fewer, would make us safer
Why advocate creating more unarmed people on account of some unarmed people being killed because there were unarmed?
We’ve soared to new heights of irrationality. God help us.
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