A nation-wide review has found that some Boy Scouts of America administrators have significantly damaged tens of thousands of acres of forestland through clearcutting or other means of high-impact logging.
The Boy Scouts have a long-standing reputation of positively interacting with the environment and teaching members to connect with and respect nature. But an ongoing investigation has shown that some council leaders have betrayed their environmental values in the interest of increasing profits.
The investigation, conducted by five Hearst newspapers, found that at least 26 councils have logged across 34,000 acres or more. Some of the destroyed areas are delicate ecosystems inhabited by protected species like salmon, timber wolves, bald eagles and spotted owls.
Tell the Boy Scouts of America to make sure all council leaders are staying true to the environmentally conscious message they promote and stop logging their wilderness.
Dear Boy Scouts of America,
I am concerned with an investigation conducted by five Hearst newspapers that reports Scouting councils nationwide have logged across at least 34,000 acres of land, and that often times these areas are in or near protected wildlife habitat. I am also concerned that some of the land was donated by supporters who intended to have it used for camping or wilderness activities--but instead it was clearcut and the trees were sold to timber harvesters for a profit.
As teachers of our children, you should carry out in practice what you publicize as your values. Your outdoor code states: "As an American, I will do my best to ... be considerate in the outdoors. I will treat public and private property with respect. ... and, (b)e conservation minded. I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy." You have carried out this code in many ways, but I challenge you to make it consistent and representative of all councils and all practices.
I know that some officials have exclusively practiced sustainable forestry, and we commend them. But as the report shows, this has not been true across the board. Several councils have ignored rules and conditions for sustainable management and some have submitted incomplete and/or inaccurate information regarding their logging practices. I hope that you see to it that all councils are held to the same standards of sustainable management and that these rules and conditions are taken seriously and are prioritized higher than increased profits. Stop logging areas intended to teach kids about the environment!
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