Whenever I ask a tree hugger type to name just one advantage of wilderness areas, all I ever get is "they are beautiful" or something like that. Wilderness areas are the worst thing that can happen to a forest and its animals and Joe pretty well described that. Here, on the Western Slopes of the Cascades, Douglas Fir is our commercial tree and the only way to harvest and regrow is to clear cut. Yet I hear endless complaints about clear cutting because its not discussed in schools. What is discussed - because teachers are mostly libs - is how ugly clear cutting is and how greedy timber companies are that do it.
For those easterners here; We clear cut Doug Fir because when its replanted, the young trees need full sun to grow, as they are a non-competitive tree. If Doug Fir was selected harvested, other trees (we call them weed trees, like alder and hemlock) would pop up and shade the young trees and they would not prosper. Animals prosper in young forests because there is more browse for them to feed on.
Our forests may even be quite different than yours as we are in the Okanagan desert. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okanagan_Desert
This forest is almost completely man made. There are many more trees here today than when Louise and Clark came through here doing their survey.
By nature the trees here are lodgepole. Because this area has a tremendous number of lightening strikes every summer being mountains on the edge of a vast semi desert.
Lodgepole repopulates by fire which cracks the pine cone open.
unfortunately lodgepole is good of one thing fences posts.
Left to nature this area, much of the Colville national forest burns in wildfires so frequently that almost every square foot experiences a wildfire at 5 yr intervals. That is the natural cycle here.
So long ago the government and the timber industry decided to change the forests here to a profitable wood type by planting Douglas fir, and Western larch. There was already some Bull Pine here and that was preserved. For a century the summer lightening started wild fires were suppressed, trees planted and thinned and unwanted trees thinned out. To control the fires it was of the utmost importance to log constantly. Logging policy in these forest required the logger to clean the forest floor in the area logged, push the wasted into huge cut clearings and then burn it safely if there were wet snow or during the spring rains.
The logging operations left behind logging roads to quickly access the summer fires, huge clear areas for fire fighters to retreat to and stage equipment etc, and no fuel on the forest floor to carry the fires. It was an example of industry and government working together to promote wealth in part of the nation unsuitable for farming .
That is how it was till 1990's. Amazing forests of marketable timber which was well cared for because each tree brought about $4-500 average when harvested. Huge amounts of tax revenue were generated and the forest industry maintained the forest floor, was used to removed diseased or infested stands of timber before the forests because sick etc. You could drive through the woods for hours on logging roads and game was everywhere as the deer etc could see their predator's before they were lunch.
Most people in the area were directly or indirectly employed by timber dollars. Some worked in the woods, others trucking, some in the mills, hospitals etc etc.
Once Clinton broke that relationship everything changed.