Mississippi No. One in Forestry
Apparently as part of some kind of promotion one can buy at ones local Tax Assessors office, a licenses plate that says this very thing, “Mississippi No. One in Forestry.”
On its surface this sounds like a positive and true statement. However, let’s look deeper by asking this question: how can we be ‘No. One in Forestry’ when we are last in roads and bridges? It is common knowledge, and if not, it should be, that every phase of the forestry industry requires good roads and bridges in order to move, safely and efficiently, the raw timber to the mills to be processed and then to market as a finished product.
How many of you, like myself, here in our local communities and across our state have crossed small and large bridges and large cubits with weight limit signs posted that read load limit 15 tons, load limit 10 tons, load limit 5 tons, or worst yet, no trucks allowed.
If one is even remotely familiar with our state it is common knowledge that many timbers stands and plantations, be they private or belong to timber companies, are located in areas where there are many small low weight capacity roads and bridges.
During my 10 plus years of employment in Philadelphia, MS there is a section of Highway 15 South of Noxapater in the Vowel Community, where I can recall on three separate occasions of being rerouted to Philadelphia because of accidents involving log trucks.
On at least two of these occasions the driver of the trucks having to quit the road to avoid hitting stalled vehicles or vehicles sitting in the road waiting to turn. If these intersections had turn lanes or if needed the shoulders of the Hwy were constructed properly and up modern standards, perhaps many of these accidents could have been avoided.
Many may be tempted to say, “I bet the truck driver was speeding.” Perhaps, may be so, however, ending up buried under tons of logs, a semi-trailer, and truck shouldn’t be an acceptable punishment for doing so. I have a strong feeling that most Mississippians would love to pay more for better roads and bridges in our state if they were simply asked by the political leadership of our state, to do so.