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Letters to the Editor in support of a new Shawnee National Park

The Southern Illinoisan

Voice of the Reader: Stop logging

Nov 19, 2021

To the Editor:

Dear Readers,

I want to thank Les Winkler for the article, “Give the Shawnee National Forest the Recognition it Deserves” that supports making the Shawnee National Forest into a national monument or national park. This same notion is being proposed for the Sierra National Forest (National Geographic 08/09/21). The SNF is indeed special and is the reason many of us remain here in southern Illinois! I have been hiking in the Shawnee for decades and am still in awe. It is the largest forested area in Illinois, our only national forest, and is very diverse ecologically. Around the globe citizens and scientists are calling for the end of deforestation to help mitigate the worst of climate change and ensure the survival of the forests. To do so, the national forest service must put an end to commercial logging. The opposite is happening in the SNF. I recently witnessed several logged sites not far from Garden of the Gods. The site that had just been logged a few weeks ago looked as if bombs had gone off-huge ruts from the equipment, splintered stumps and large debris everywhere, and it was less than 60 feet from Big Creek, a National Scenic Waterway candidate. The other two sites had been logged several years ago-to promote oak and hickory growth. What I witnessed was a large amount of invasive species and few oak seedlings. There are several more commercial logging projects slated. Visit for information and to get involved.

Lucia Amorelli


The Southern Illinoisan

Voice of the Reader: Thanks again Les

Nov 19, 2021

To the Editor:

I am a Southern Illinoisan who recently retired from the National Park Service. When I lived in Southern Illinois I was an underground coal miner and United Mine Worker. Although I now reside in Tennessee I follow home news closely.

I am writing to commend the Outdoors writer Les Winkler on his recent article regarding the future of our beloved Shawnee Forest. Les makes a strong case for the National Park Service to shepherd our forest.

I am trying to work with the Forest service on restoration of our hardwoods but certainly admit it is frustrating and perhaps it is time to take a serious look at a new caretaker for our forest.

So thanks again Les for your courage and integrity in addressing tough issues concerning not only our forest but all of Southern Illinois outdoors.

I would remind readers that the great potential of our Forest and parks has never been realized. Visitors don't want to go to Parks where clear cutting and fossil fuel extraction is occurring.

It's time for the Forest service to manage the Forest for the people, not the logging and oil industry.

Thank you

Robert Hughes

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