The Way I See It, the commonwealth needs to plan a major tree-cutting program. This past weekend my wife and I joined friends at their hunting/fishing camp in Clinton County. It has been several years since we visited the friendly confines of the cozy cabin that sits atop one of the mountain peaks overlooking Route 120 and the Sinnemahoning River. What caught my eye immediately was the openness of the forest.

There is no ground cover. You could see for several hundreds of yards through a forest bare of flowers and fauna. Scattered throughout the forest floor are fallen trees that litter the other wise open vastness. While we didn't see a numerous amount of deer, we were afforded a glimpse of a few who appear healthy and well nourished. Apparently the oaks have been kind, because there is no browse for deer to thrive. We did see more turkey than whitetail. Our feathered friends are enjoying the acorn treats as well. What happens when the oak is deplete of nuts and the red bush roots are exhausted? Will the turkey and deer survive? While I supported the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program, I question whether it would have been required if we would have addressed our mountain forest dilemma.

Some 40 years ago when I was invited to the hunting camp during the antlered deer season, visibility was limited to 50 yards or less, as undergrowth flourished. Red bush and ferns were abundant. Now they have gone the way of the dinosaur.

I'm convinced that in order to support wildlife in greater numbers, the commonwealth has to begin harvesting our timber. I've heard rumors that it's not cost efficient to contractors involved in the business, but I find this difficult to fully comprehend. Lumber prices remain high, and there are variety of uses for this resource.

There are thousands of acres ready for the saw and we should urge our legislation to pursue the harvest. Everything has its season and our trees appear ripe for the harvest.

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