Sample letter/talking points to send to your legislator or for a phone call

This is a sample letter. It is important to use your own words and experiences. Writing the letter longhand is more effective than typing or a computer. Make sure to ask the legislator to follow up with you in a phone call or letter. Get back in touch with her/him after a few days and reiterate your original points. Note: Some legislators courageously supported the "Four Point Plan" to protect Maine's Forests. Find out how your representative voted before contacting them so you'll know whether they should be lauded or chided.

Dear _______,

I am writing to you to express my sincere disappointment in the legislature's failure to protect our forest resource so that future generations of Mainers will be able to enjoy the natural beauty as well as the economic bounty of Maine's North Woods. The largest landowners must be stopped from clearcutting tens of thousands of acres each year. According to the US Forest Service inventory, they are cutting trees twice as fast as they are growing back.

I am urging you in the future to support the joint policy of the North Woods Coalition. This four point plan includes reasonable goals for forest practices reform in Maine:

Clearcutting Limits. Clearcuts would be allowed only when silviculturally justified and permitted by the Maine Forest Service under a process with public accountability. Maximum clearcut size of 35 acres, with separation zones 1.5 times size of opening. .25% annual cap for large landowners.

Science Based Stocking Standards. All harvests of commercial forest products shall leave an adequate residual stocking, as measured by US Forest Service guidelines.

Sustainable Harvest Limits. The annual harvest of forest products cannot exceed average annual forest growth.

Mandatory Audit. All landowners holding more than 100,000 acres will participate. The Audit Board will be comprised of independent experts in the fields of silviculture, soils, fisheries, and wildlife. The public will have access to audit results.

Any reasonable Mainer would agree with the Coaltion's basic points -- wood should not be removed from the forest faster than it can grow back, the negative ecological effects of clearcutting should be minimized, and an independent and publicly accountable audit board should be established. It's just plain common sense.

I look forward to hearing back from you on this important issue. Thank you.