By Jarrod Lyman
Logging operations have commenced in the Sierra National Forest at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the first time the forest in this area have been harvested since the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company ceased operations in 1931. While the area has a rich logging history, the methods used today are far different than the clear-cutting operations of decades ago.
“Today it’s selective logging, where the U.S. Forest Service timber crews come in and mark trees scientifically. They determine which trees need to be removed,” said Max Stauffer, owner of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. “They leave the larger trees and the good seed trees so they can replenish the forest."
What many people don’t realize, he said, is the logging operations are also beneficial for the forest. The logging operations thin the forest, allowing more sunlight in for healthier growth like fire used to before the region was settled. The logging also helps prevent larger, more dangerous fires.
“It prevents the catastrophic fires where the buildup over the years because of preventing forest fires actually creates a situation where you have more catastrophic fires because you have more fuels,” said Stauffer...