Local sawmills used to be common
Fifty-five years ago, when I arrived in Nevada, many small communities had small locally owned sawmills to process the logs harvested in the Sierras. A dozen or more existed between Susanville and Bridgeport on both sides of the mountains. Often the towns grew around the sawmills and much of the lumber was used locally. The USFS lands were managed much like agricultural land only with a much longer growth cycle dating back before development in the western states. The USFS Foresters usually managed the “harvest of trees” to thin the forest reducing complete fire destruction and often to create defensible fire breaks. Public opinion turned, forest management stopped resulting the dense and more fire prone forests we have now.
Today, much of the lumber used in the US comes from Canada. Often after a forest fire the dead and dying trees are consumed by insects rather than becoming viable lumber. Putting these post fire transportable sawmills locally allows much of the timber to become valuable lumber even if their presence is a brief annoyance to local residents. Putting sawmills where needed as close to the burn areas requires local government and residents to accept them as a needed part of the post fire recovery process. Alpine county is going to need Nevada support in their recovery as those in Sacramento probably have no idea where it is or why they should care. Those trees are essential to the Carson Valley watershed. We care and should help the return to a healthy forest.
The recent letter from an Alpine County Supervisor about the proposed biomass plant missed a wonderful opportunity to provide citizens with solid information. Instead, the supervisor, who is concurrently the chairman of Alpine Biomass Collaborative, claims that a biomass facility would “actually improve air quality over the alternative” -- open-air burning. This isn’t saying a biomass plant will be clean; only that its emissions will be somewhat better than a smoky open fire.
Thus far, the public has received only vague and evasive answers when we asked for specifics. We hope that the supervisor will provide solid data in future communications. Citizens deserve to know:
• Where, exactly, are the potential biomass locations in Alpine County that were toured by consultants in 2019? (See Alpine Biomass Collaborative minutes of July 2, 2019).
• Just how far have “exploratory discussions” gone? Who, exactly, has been involved?
• What size plant is contemplated? Is it under one Megawatt (the definition of “community-scale” biomass)? Or is it the 3-7 Megawatts previously mentioned in ABC meetings?
• How long will such a plant be economically viable? Will it depend on public funds?
• How will competition from nearby sawmills affect fuel availability?
• What fuel(s) will run the plant after available timber is gone? (There was an estimated 1-1/2 years of timber, before the recent fire, according to the USFS). Will it burn trash? Is there a plan to haul in forest fuels from the Tahoe Basin?
• What is the plan to address local road damage and traffic from heavy logging trucks?
• What’s the plan to mitigate noise from round-the-clock trucks?
• How much pollution and particulate matter will be emitted from this plant?
• What will the impacts be on property values?
The public deserves transparency and answers now, not at the Environmental Impact Report stage, when opposition would be too late. The public deserves the right to cast its opinion by vote Nov. 8 on whether We want a biomass plant.
Bears didn’t sign up for this
I write in hopes that residents in the “Scotts Bluff” area of Meadow View, Riverview, parts of South Riverview and Karina Roads will take note that the bears have now come up the hill from the Carson Valley Golf Course. For the 12-plus years I’ve lived in the area, the bears stayed down by the river, and many enjoyed the ability to place trash out the night before pickup.
I hope residents won’t do that anymore. On pickup day last week, many trash cans had been gone through by a bear. I know one bear has 2 cubs. I hope it wasn’t that bear, as then her cubs might have become garbage trained.
Dresslerville Road and the Dresslerville community residents might want to look into this as well. I am aware that at times over the years, bears have been seen throughout the Ranchos, but haven’t been a habitual problem.
Fortunately, the Douglas Disposal truck doesn’t come to this area too early, usually after 8 a.m. It is best to keep trash locked up until the morning of trash pickup.
The poor bears have nowhere else to go, since the Tamarack Fire burned much of their habitat. Sadly, another bear was struck and killed on 395 near Ray May Way on Aug. 10. They didn’t sign up for this and it is up to us to help them stay wild and not be able to obtain human food.
Thanks for supporting
St. Gall rummage sale
St. Gall Catholic Church is most grateful to our wonderful community for all their donations to our annual rummage sale.
Many thanks to all our annual shoppers, who support this great event. To our volunteers, inside and outside for their great devotion of time and labor.
Those that donated lunch, snacks, and goodies to our workers throughout the month of July. The Record-Courier for our ad, COD Casino for advertising the event on their marquee, Douglas Disposal for their donation of the bin. China Springs, men for assistance with set-up , loading sold items and cleanup. Sani Hut, Churches Carson Valley Methodist, and Shadow Mountain for the use of the parking lots. The Knights of Columbus for help with Security and serving lunch to all workers on days of sale. This is our 38th year of being able to serve our community. All of our volunteers are in their senior years, we are hoping to get younger volunteers to continue this wonderful tradition and support our parish with funds made.
Raquel (Rocky) Barth
St. Gall Catholic Church
Anyone who feels the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is “limiting a woman’s right of personal autonomy” is sadly forgetting someone: that little “reproductive decision“ already existing…with its own autonomy. (ref. RC letter 8/10/22).
Moral decline is the unequivocal result of a nation that legalizes the throwing away of their own kind. Look around.
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