Letter to the Editor:

If Kurt Krueger could be teleported back to Vilas County in the year 1500, he would not like the view. He would be looking at vast, mature forests of white pine and hemlock. The forest floor would be dark, moist, verdant, and populated by diverse animal communities that included wolves and cougars as top predators.

He refers to himself as a single-minded grouse hunter and would see this awe-inspiring ancient forest as a monumental waste.

Missing would be Krueger’s preferred clear cuts choked with small aspen that support exaggerated populations of a few game species such as ruffed grouse. His columns consistently promote the position that Vilas forests are public lands that should be managed to maximize unnatural populations of select game for the benefit of those choosing to hunt.

In his Aug. 24 column, he accuses the “antis” (sic) or liberal left of advocating for wilderness and old growth forests. According to him, those people want to set aside forests, turning them into a museum exhibit for viewing at a distance. It’s as if he hasn’t yet heard of day hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, snowmobiling, equestrian trail riding, and nature photography (something Krueger is very good at).

Responsible journalism should avoid making forest management a polarized political issue. Rather, let’s acknowledge that tree harvesting from our county, state, and national forests is important and will necessarily continue. Let’s also advocate for a forestry that includes older growth forests that can provide a slight glimmer of what Vilas once looked like.

So, I’m urging Krueger to show some balance in his weekly column and occasionally acknowledge that many Americans have a legitimate desire to experience an old growth forest.

Bradley Rehnberg