Thursday, June 23, 2005


The Birmingham Post-Herald this evening has a sad story about Linda Reynolds. She was Guntersville State Park's most excellent naturalist for many years, and has continued to volunteer there after her retirement, leading the park's popular winter Eagle-watching tours, among other things.

Until now. Until she spoke out against tree cutting in the park. (In prime wildlife nesting season, no less.) Then she was dismissed from her volunteer job.

According to the article, the State Parks Director says the "forest management system" will make the forest "healthier". That the logging is not for financial reasons.

I have serious doubts. I don't know Linda Reynolds very well - just enough to know that she is extremely knowledgeable. If she and Paul Franklin (a well-known Birmingham area naturalist) say that the cutting is unnecessary and destructive - I believe them.

I wonder if they'll add that to the Volunteers In Parks (VIP) program handbook: "Real naturalists need not apply."


Trix said...

Tch Tch. Shame on them...
how did forests ever 'manage' without us?

Zanne said...

My thoughts exactly. Mother Nature has done a darn fine job without us.

Rurality said...

It really is a shame. The parks are hurting right now. Besides having their budgets reduced, Hurricane Ivan ensured that they're getting no revenue from the Gulf State Park for a while, which I think was they biggest moneymaker.

So even though they say it's not for money and that the amount of money isn't substantial - it's a little over 5% of the budget so far this year, and will presumably rise to 10% for the full year. When you're pinching pennies it's got to be a temptation to grab every dime you can.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone may be feeling
a LITTLE threatened by those pesky
volunteers. Advocating for nature
just for the love of it--it's
downright subversive!

cheers, Theo

Floridacracker said...

I haven't visited that park, but I did learn a few things as a National Park Service ranger. Lesson one: Park managers often make decisions that are not in the best interest of the park. Usually it's politics or trying to please surrounding commercial interests. Sometimes it's as simple as a park superintendent's personal vision of where a park should go. Frustrating. On the bright side, I just discovered your blog today and have saved it as a favorite. My site has a lot in common with yours. Take care.

jenni said...

That's too bad. It's not for money--yea right. Greed fuels 99% of decisions these days.

Dave said...

They do that same kinda crap up here in Pennsylvania. Most state park superindents here have forestry degrees; I'll bet it's the same in Alabama, yes? I am all in favor of the art (not science!) of forestry, but the ideology of foresters - like all ideologies - can be toxic, because it says that there is no part of nature that wouldn't be better off managed. Foresters receive very little training in forest ecology, oddly enough, and have it drilled into them that forest health and timber quality are the same thing. Thus, it is entirely possible that money was not the primary motivator in this case. The volunteer was threatening because she didn't except the ideology of 360-degree management.