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I am always stirred to pity for the human race when I read an article like "A Special Place" (Dec. 20). How desperately we little people have to struggle to save the last fragments of our once rich, elaborate, creative, imaginative forests! What huge sums we have to scrape together to pay these giant money-raking corporations not to annihilate our water-purifying, soil-generating, climate-cooling, species-hosting, carbon sequestering, mystery-harboring friends who are thousands of times more ancient than we are as a community of beings!

We're not getting pepper spray poured into our eyes any more, as once happened in our congressman's office, or lowered hundreds of feet upside down wrapped in duct tape. And MAXXAM isn't selling us back 1 percent of its land for the price it paid for the whole thing.

All the same, we are paying through our noses to these accidental landlords for forests, much of which they'll continue to log. Part of the reason we on the North Coast are in a climate refuge is because of our forests. "You can replace forests with plantations. You can also arrange Beethoven's Ninth for a kazoo," as Richard Powers put it.

The land trusts are polite and dignified about it, as described in your article. They "highlight" the generosity of the sellers. But what we buyers are really like is the medieval French peasants who ran up the mountains and hugged the trees when the king's soldiers came to cut them down for his wars because they knew their water, farms and livelihoods would be destroyed.

As David Brower said, "We did not inherit the Earth from our fathers, we are stealing it from our children." Therefore let us bravely greet the New Year and salute in sorrow all we have lost in the old.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia

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