Barbara H. Peterson

When I lived in a beautiful, wooded area near Georgetown, California, I made friends with the local founding family, who harvested trees, performed tractor work, and were the all-around people to go to for the basics in the area. Their names were Cal and Deed. Yes, real names. They knew their business, and took care of the forest. Then, along came the Spotted Owl. No longer could they harvest timber, their main livelihood. And we talked about it.

In 1990 the owl was placed on the Endangered Species list. This meant that due to the forest being their habitat, the trees had to stay. All of them. The interesting part is, Cal and Deed had lived there all their lives, and they were no spring chickens, and had never once seen a Spotted Owl. Not once. Never. In all their lifetimes.

And so the timber stood. And when it fell, a permit was needed to harvest the dead wood. And so most of it lay there. Piling up. And do you know what that pile-up is called now? Fuel for rampant wildfires. A problem created by government regulation of a problem that did not exist. An owl that wasn’t there.

©2019 Barbara H. Peterson

Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “The Owl that Wasn’t There”

  1. Thank you. I lived there for some time and saw firsthand what happened. The critters and I are doing well ;)

  2. E. Grogan says:

    Barbara, thank you for this short, simple story that speaks volumes. I live in the Deep North of California and love it here; if only we had honest govt. Hope you and your farm are doing well.

  3. Paul Turner says:

    Thank you for once again providing what mainstream so often fails to report on. Without honest reporting, grave mistakes are allowed to continue.

  4. Paul says:

    Any updates t0 2012 data?