National Geographic : 1979 Apr
Some people tramp the woods, are refreshed and want more lands preserved. Others see needs for woodland resources es calating and want more commer cial latitude. Who's right? Many dream of wilderness, to visit occasionally, for recreational experience. To escape the rush and pressure of today's world. To be relaxed by recollections of crys tal waters, misty alpine meadows. To save for the future, often for unexpressed reasons. Wild. Beau tiful. "Let's expand this wonderful heritage," they say, "put more lands away in wilderness holdings." Others see impounded wilder ness lands as entombed. No roads, shelter, communications, conveniences. No mineral explo ration or woodland harvests. To day, wilderness covers nearly 19 million acres. Another 105 million Alaskan acres have been set aside by executive order. And 56 million other national forest acres are under study. Those acres supply over a quarter of our softwood timber. Woodsmen in particular say "lock up that much potential and lumber costs will climb. Jobs will be lost. Let's have expanded commercial acreage, not less." What's the answer? We desire forest recreation, wildlife sanctu aries. We want wood products too. But these seeming opposites needn't be incompatible. Though woods are upset in cutting, the 25 to 50 years between harvests offer beauty, serenity, wildlife cover. Not that all our woodlands should be put into lumber. Some areas unique ecosystems, remote val leys - should be preserved. But those. recommendations should come from professional forest managers. With legislators mak ing the final decision on land use to balance aesthetic needs with sus tained outflow of forest products. Caterpillar equipment is used to cultivate, harvest and transport forest products and build forest roads. We're convinced the multi ple use character of our forests can meet wood and recreational ob jectives. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. W CATERPILLAR Caterpillar, Cat and0 are Trademarksof Caterpillar Tractor Co.