I would like to point out a simple distinction that some people have commented on, but I think bares repeating: Conservation is not the same as preservation. The organization is called the Triangle Land Conservancy. I can see why some people may assume that donations to this organization would go toward preserving forests. However, as sated on their website, the mission of TLC "is to protect important open space—stream corridors, forests, wildlife habitat, farmland and natural areas—in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Orange and Wake counties to help keep our region a healthy and vibrant place to live and work." Protection can include preservation, but can also include intervention when necessary.
Having lived in the Southwest where unmanaged, overgrown forests have lead to dangerous forest fires, I am happy to see lands acquired by TLC being managed and maintained rather than left untouched and possibly becoming a danger to people living nearby.
I do appreciate the point that Ms. Herbst is making regarding transparency. I would expect that a well regarded organization such as TLC would want to make all efforts to communicate well with the public regarding their plans and intentions. I also appreciate Mr. Brice's response that they plan to try and do so in the future. I would like to thank Ms. Herbst for reminding us all that when we donate to an organization, we should be well informed of what they plan to do with our money (and subsequently in our name). Organizations can also change, so simply going by what you learned of an organization 10 or 5 years ago, is not acceptable. We should all attempt to stay well informed about changes in the groups we put our money towards.
Since I was obviously not involved with the reporting that was done in preparation for this article, it would be inappropriate for me to accuse Ms. Herbst of any misrepresentations of her interactions with TLC. I personally believe she was trying to shed light on the subject of transparency and the future intention of land maintenance and use by the TLC.
That being said, I do feel that Ms. Herbst did not fully represent the side of forest conservation in relation to logging as a means of land management and health. I would have been more receptive to her main investigative focus (transparency) if I had felt the article took a more neutral stance on forest management through logging. Especially give the fact that several seemingly well educated and respected individuals, such as Dr. Robert Brown Dean of the College of Natural Resources at NCSU have supported this practice.
The article and the following comments are not enough to make me question my support of TLC or the The Independent Weekly. It does remind though, that staying well informed is important and questioning the "authoritative view" is never a bad way to learn new information.
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