SHOWDOWN AT OPAL CREEK by David Seideman

SHOWDOWN AT OPAL CREEK

The Battle for America's Last Wilderness
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A moving account of personalities and politics in the on-going battle over logging the last areas of old-growth forest in the heart of Oregon's Cascade Range, from Time reporter Seideman (The New Republic, 1986--not reviewed). Concentrating on two primary players in the dispute surrounding the ancient forest at Opal Creek, Seideman's narrative- -as the story unfolds in the late 1980's--quickly allows the individual acrimony and psychological effects of the controversy to surface. To George Atiyeh--a logger-turned-environmentalist from a prominent Oregon family--Opal Creek is a church, and his willingness to use every means necessary to protect it from cutting--including media manipulation, state and federal legislation, and endless legal maneuvers against the US Forest Service--made him a contemptible turncoat in the eyes of his hometown community of Mill City. To Tom Hirons--an independent timber-company owner--dwindling logging prospects and the struggle to gain access to Opal Creek meant teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but at the same time being pushed into the limelight as an articulate spokesman for the plight of loggers like himself. Atiyeh and Hirons had been best friends and business partners, and the animosity accompanying their falling-out made any negotiations thorny. With national media exposure, their positions stiffened further, but efforts to compromise stayed alive in part because they couldn't completely forget their friendship. The two are now reconciled to a degree, although the final chapter on Opal Creek remains to be written. What seems clear is that the area's clearcutting heyday is a thing of the past. Well informed, if long-winded, and adept at revealing the human faces behind the issues, with genuine sympathy for those hurt by the decline of Oregon's timber industry.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-88184-867-0
Page count: 432pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993