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Splash Some Water on Your Face 

Editor:

Your story on the flood was of course fascinating ("When the Waters Rose," Dec. 4). What was disgusting was that you ignored the back story. Within a few days after the flood the timber companies ran full-page ads saying "Oh no, it's not our fault!" They lied.

They had filled the rivers with enormous quantities of gravel, denying the water any place to go. As a salmon surveyor I have watched an unlogged, unoccupied watershed in which moss grew on the gravel bars right down to the waterline — very stable, obviously able to handle high rainfall.

For contrast, in the mid-1970s I talked with elderly Mrs. French of Ettersburg, who as a young girl saw many kayakers on the Mattole. According to her, the loggers destroyed that recreation by filling in all the deep holes with gravel. From far more frequent wildfires to damaged roads due to way overweight trucks, the timber industry has never been socially responsible. But the real enemy is capitalism, the system that welcomes greed and selfishness as the premier motives of humanity. It's Mammon. Will you folks ever get past the daydream, or will you continue protecting the lies? Are you always just going to say nice?

Robert Sutherland, Ettersburg

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