Showdown at Opal Creek: The Battle for America's Last Wilderness

David Seidman, Author, David Seideman, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $22.95 (419p) ISBN 978-0-88184-867-0
Opal Creek, in the Willamette National Forest, comprises 6800 acres of virgin forest, the largest stand remaining in western Oregon. Since 1970, 38% of the state's old-growth forests has been logged while 25,000 woodworkers have lost jobs due to automation. Rich in wildlife and home to the spotted owl, Opal Creek is central to the land use controversy pitting economic interests against the environment. Time reporter David Seideman ( The New Republic ) explores this conflict in the richly detailed stories of two men on opposite sides. George Atiyeh has been fighting to save the forest for 20 years; Tom Hirons is a logger whose livelihood in nearby Mill City is threatened. Both have presented their views on national television. Seideman offers a balanced account of their conflict, noting that in the Northwest, the logger is a cultural icon comparable to the cowboy. He examines the politics and policies surrounding the timber industry, and points a finger of blame directly at Congress (the Forest Service receives criticism, too). Atiyeh and Hirons ultimately reach a compromise, but the fate of Opal Creek remains uncertain. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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