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February 4, 2009


Though the issue has been off the public radar for awhile now, the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies have apparently been having a severe impact on their finances. This has caused them to turn to solutions that would have been unthinkable before they took their hard and discriminatory stand against gay scouts.

In a desperate attempt to find new ways to generate income and dollar-value privileges they've lost because of those anti-gay policies, they have turned to wholesale logging in previously pristine forests on lands that they own throughout the country. These are tens of thousands of acres that they once vigorously and adamantly protected for exclusive use as camps and environmental learning grounds for young scouts.

Eugene Grant, president of the Portland, Ore., Cascade Pacific Council's board of directors, said to the San Francisco Chronicle, "There's no question that the Scouts' anti-gay, anti-atheist stance has cost the organization money. As a result every council has looked at ways to generate funds ... and logging is one of them."

The Chronicle went on to report:

The scouts insist they manage the wild lands they own with sensitivity and care.

But the investigation - a nationwide review by five newspapers of more than 400 timber harvests, court papers, property records, tax filings and other documents since 1990 - also found that:

-- Scout councils have ordered the logging of more than 34,000 acres of forests - perhaps far more, as forestry records nationwide are incomplete.

-- More than 100 scout groups - one-third of all Boy Scouts councils nationwide - have conducted timber harvests.

-- Councils logged in or near protected wildlife habitat at least 53 times.

-- Councils have authorized at least 60 clear-cutting operations and 35 salvage harvests, logging practices that some experts say harm the environment but maximize profits.

I was, as were most of my childhood friends, a boy scout. I loved the camping trips and jamborees. They were a lot of fun and provided a lifetime of good memories.

Unfortunately, the actions of today's scout leadership is a tragedy and a travesty of the core fundamentals that scouts are taught to believe in. But then, I'm not really surprised by the duplicity and hypocrisy they've demonstrated since today's Boy Scouts are so heavily financed by the Mormon church.

If you want to read the full, in-depth story, go to: SFGate.com