"Protect the Forest"
Independent Coast Observer
February 10, 2006
I am writing in response to an article printed in your newspaper titled "Pinot craze changes rural Sonoma land use", in which I was quoted concerning our winery and vineyard. I wish to correct the misperception of conflict between our winery and our friends and neighbors who are working to preserve the forests in Annapolis. I want to state clearly that we are in complete accord with the environmentalist perspective.
We have a world to protect and we must do it together. We must not let our wilderness areas dwindle away for individual personal gratification. Once destroyed, it is impossible for a forest to grow again in all its complexity. We must create a plan that includes all aspects of creation in a meaningful way.
When we planted our vineyard 30 years ago, zoning lines were clearly drawn delineating agriculture and forestland. Subsequent decisions made by Sonoma County that combined forestland and agricultural land in the same zoning has resulted in chaos and has caused each new development to become a battleground. Zoning must be clarified to create a clear definition what land is appropriate for forestland and what land is appropriate for agriculture.
The common benefits provided by a living forest are much more important than the money from development that will only benefit a few. The realization that we all depend on the forest to clean the air, modify the climate, provide clean rivers, wildlife habitat, and recreation areas for millions of people, gives ownership of the forest to us all. The idea that "this is my private property and I'll do whatever I want" is no longer realistic.
The concept that our remaining forestland is only as valuable as the money it produces is outdated. Our forests must continue to produce life and be protected as forestland forever.
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