I heard an interesting piece this morning on my way to work courtesy of NPR. It was about Aqua-logging and what Washington and Oregon state have to say about the practice. There is a show on the History channel called Axmen and one of the groups of the loggers on the show is a group in Washington state called S&S Aqua Logging. Well what the aqua-loggers do is go out onto rivers and lakes and retrieve logs that have been sunk. They take logs off the bottom of the beds. Now these are logs that have been cut down years and years ago and basically were sunk during transport to the mills. In the old days when logging was huge in the north west tug boats used to push and pull huge rafts of timber up and down the rivers in the north west.
These guys realized that there was a lot of unclaimed timber just laying on the bottom of the waterways in the northwest and it might be a money maker to scoop those logs up. The state of Washington sees things differently. Here is a link to the OPB story. Aqua-logging
So, for myself, after listening to the piece and reading it again. I need to put down here in quotes what really stands out for me in the piece.
"Larry Raedel is the chief enforcement officer for Washington's Department of Natural Resources.
Larry Raedel: "We basically said we don't allow that practice to happen. Then come to find out later, he went off on his own and did it without the permission of DNR."
Raedel started an investigation of Jimmy Smith's company after seeing them in action on national TV. The Grays Harbor County prosecutor is currently weighing a charge of theft of state timber."
Yes the state said you can't do that and he went ahead and did it anyway. I understand the moral ramifications of those actions and Jimmy should be fined at the very least for that. But what gets my goat is that they are talking about a charge of theft of state timber against him. There is another aqua logger in Oregon who is facing the same charge. THEFT!! THEFT!! Are they serious? These men are not going out onto state or federal land and chopping down a tree. They are picking up logs that have been laying on the bottom of a river in some cases for more then 50 years. If anything the logs are owned by the logging company that first cut them down.
I do not see how anyone can justify a charge of theft against them. I can see licensing these guys in some way and making sure that they are using safe practices. That makes sense but if anything these logs are public domain. They were most likely cut down in Canada and then shipped down here to the mills to be processed and at some point in the trip they got sunk. The state does not own them. Again a quote from Larry Raedel
"It boils down really to habitat. They don't pose a threat to property owners. They're down there for a reason to provide habitat for fish and those types of wildlife creatures that are down there."
The key phrase for me there is that the logs are down there for a reason. Well, I hate to break it to you, Larry but the state didn't put those logs there. They are there for purely accidental reasons. They fell off a log raft and sunk. It was complete random chance that they ended up there. I think his argument is basically invalid and I hope someone comes to their senses before one of these loggers end up in jail.
Have a good day folks.