Environmental group calls logging plan a clear cut
Capital Press 10/28/08
Ore. (AP) - The Forest Service calls Low Meadow a restoration
project. The Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center says it's a clear
Either way, trees, some four feet in diameter, are coming down as
part of a 3.5 million board foot cut in the Rogue River-Siskiyou
The cut is in an inventoried roadless area, a key watershed for
salmon, said George Sexton of Ashland-based environmental group
KSWC. "So it's always disappointing to us when the Forest Service
says, 'We're going to clear cut it.'"
"The Northwest Forest Plan didn't say everything had to be managed
as old growth or owl habitat," said John Williams, forester for
the Gold Beach Ranger District. "It recognizes these meadows are
an important component of the landscape."
The sale, purchased by South Coast Lumber of Brookings, sat for
more than 10 years. It was stalled first by court hearings, then
by the Biscuit Fire in 2002, which burned about 5 percent of the
trees in the sale, Williams said.
KSWC and others sued to stop the sale, but in 2007 a federal
magistrate ruled that the Forest Service didn't need to update its
National Environmental Policy Act analysis.
In August, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals upheld the ruling that the impact of the project was
covered in the Biscuit Fire environmental impact statement, and
allowed the harvest to proceed.
The 200-acre sale is near the Chetco River, a thriving salmon and
When the helicopter logging project is done it will look like a
clear cut "with some big trees left in it," about eight per acre,
He said meadows have shrunk because of fire suppression the past
100 years, and restoration is vital for wildlife habitat.
"On the Siskiyou side of the forest less than 1 percent is in
meadow habitat and we're losing it quickly," Williams said.
While no trees more than 40 inches in diameter at breast height
were supposed to be cut, some are because of growth since the plan
was made in 1997.
"What prompted our frustration was that in district court the
Forest Service attorney said it wasn't a clear cut, and no trees
over 40 inches would be harvested," Sexton said.
Sexton e-mailed photos of logs to Rogue River-Siskiyou Supervisor
Scott Conroy, saying: "Truth is indeed in very short supply on the
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest," referring to an op-ed
Conroy wrote in 2007 calling "truth a casualty" in claims against
the Forest Service during the Biscuit Fire salvage.
Sexton says he believes those favoring logging along trails near
the Kalmiopsis want to prevent expansion of the wilderness.