The U.S. Forest Service should heed the many concerns being raised about logging's potential harm to an ancient spring in Rockcastle County.
The water from Climax Spring, which tumbles down a 20-foot-waterfall, is so abundant (225,000 gallons a day) and pure that it supports a 7-year-old local bottling business, whose products include Climax Mountain Spring Water and AquaPerfect.
Locals also still have free access to the popular spring.
King Bottling Inc. touts the protection that the watershed receives from the Daniel Boone National Forest as one of its products' advantages.
But a Forest Service proposal to log 365 acres above Climax Spring and to use chemical herbicides to combat invasive plant species has some people worried.
Everyone agrees that the forest is in less than desirable shape, in part because of earlier clear-cutting approved by the Forest Service.
The debate, as staff writer Dori Hjalmarson reports, is about how best to restore the woodlands to health — with chemicals and more logging or by letting Mother Nature take her course?
Climax Mountain Spring Water, which is marketed in biodegradable bottles, is a great example of the national forest spawning a sustainable local business.
It would be a disastrous trade-off if the spring is harmed by a logging operation in the national forest, especially since taxpayers generally lose money on the logging of public lands.