Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

March 21, 2014

Sullen Silence

longleafpine1        weightsign
One of our  spectacular Longleaf Pine Trees and the obviously ignored weight limit sign on our road

As most of you know,  passion comes  easily when it concerns watching over Florida’s  Wild things for me and patience does not visit me very often.
Well, for the past week to ten days, my patience has been pushed to the limit and beyond!
And today, it finally snapped.
We have watched,  with gritted teeth every single day,  as logging trucks go past our house filled to the top with fairly young-looking pine trees, 5-9 trips every day,  for close to ten days now.
Yes, we were both counting them all.
So, what was it that broke the sullen silence on our part, you may ask?
It was when truck number two went  down our road this morning.
All of the other days,  it had always, only,  been a red one, but today, the red one and a new blue went down our road to collect more trees.
That was it, I could not take it any more and started calling.
It began with our local Sheriff, which turned out to be a very nice call, they politely referred me to someone  in the State Forest Department.
From there,  it was on to the top of the list at the Florida Forest Service.
Mr. A.  was most polite, extremely  knowledgeable and quite patient, this last part was key to the success of this call.
He listened, so rare these days, and answered my many questions about the  ”what, when,  who and why.”
And finally, the dreaded,   ”but why not?”
I kept hearing words that turned my stomach like , “they will grow back really fast”  and ” it’s  good for everything”  when they are cut.
I know that this man meant well and that he is an expert on the subject.  So then why did I  feel so bad?
Because in the end, no one can,  or will stop this.
The polite, carefully structured, carefully worded call,  left me with such an empty feeling.
Like I had failed, again.
Something that, since beginning this Blog one year ago,  has become a familiar experience, one I do not like much!
As he clearly said several times, any owners of land near us,  can cut as many trees down as they like, even the Longleaf Pine because,  he said,  “it was NOT an Endangered Plant.”
When he claimed that they could even cut this tree down, my heart sank.
There was no hope, if this was true, although I could not understand how it could be so.
It is also unnerving that these trucks filled to the top with trees,  are absolutely over the posted weight limit for our road and NO ONE apparently is concerned at all.
Even he admitted,  that they were most likely over weight!
Can you even imagine meeting one of these trucks head-on,  on any of the countless sharp curves on our road?
Think there would be any survivors in the car?
A brief history is in order for your better understanding.
At one time, this magnificent tree covered most of the entire South-Eastern United States, there were millions of them, like the nearly eradicated Bison in the West, both with pretty much the same ending.
Too often, Humans rule and take what and when they wish,  with frequently little concern for the future of a species, or plant.
Several places referred to new plans for re-introducing this tree in other Southern States,  but wouldn’t  it be better to not take all of them in the first place and then have to do this?
Just asking?
The worst part of all of this,  is the number of animals whose very existence depends on this very particular tree, like the now nearly extinct  red cockaded woodpecker  and others.
Here are my own words, on my website about this magnificent Tree:  Gatorwoman/longleafpine

A few places to learn more:
The Longleaf Pine
The Longleaf Pine or Pinus palustris
Longleaf Pine
Longleaf Pine For Sale

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