I find it ironic that the same day the media were reporting on serious forest fires in California and Nevada, The Post chose to criticize the Bush administration's decision to finally dump a Clinton administration-era rule that symbolizes a failed, top-down forest management program ["Roadless Rules Write-Off," editorial, July 16].

For decades, the government enforced a hands-off forest policy that treated all national forests pretty much the same. As a result, the forests became clogged with trees and underbrush. This may sound ideal, but it turned the forests into tinderboxes and led to five years of devastating forest fires and millions of dollars in damage.

By changing the "roadless rule," the administration, as it did with its Healthy Forests Initiative, has implemented a policy that will lead to greater input from governors -- through the network of state foresters -- who are better informed on areas that may need to be thinned to prevent fires, as opposed to self-described environmentalists who participate in postcard-writing campaigns.

For too many years, the environmental community has been able to control forest policy, much to the detriment of these national treasures. The repeal of the roadless rule, along with other recent changes, is a much overdue and needed vote for active forest management.

MICHAEL V. DRAPER

Chairman, Forest Products Industry

National Labor Management Committee

Vice President, Western District

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners

of America

Bend, Ore.