July 6, 2004
Biscuit salvage draws two-city protest
Activists plan rallies in Medford and
Portland starting at noon today
By PAUL FATTIG
Environmental activists plan major
rallies in Medford and Portland today to
demonstrate their opposition to the U.S.
Forest Service’s records of decision for
the Biscuit fire salvage scheduled to be
A bus will transport activists from
Eugene for the Medford rally at Alba Park,
organizers said. Another will bring
activists from Ashland, and a car caravan
is expected from the Illinois Valley, they
In Portland, the rally starts at Tom
McCall Waterfront Park near Greenpeace’s
Arctic Sunrise ship before activists march
to the Forest Service’s regional
Both events begin at noon.
In addition, organizers are staging a
national telephone "call-in day" for
activists to contact elected officials to
ask them to stop the planned salvage.
"This is a call to action for Americans
from coast to coast to protect the wild
Siskiyous," Rolf Skar, campaign
coordinator for the Siskiyou Regional
Education Project based in the Illinois
Valley, said Monday.
The Ashland-based Klamath-Siskiyou
Wildlands Center and Greenpeace, an
international environmental group, are
also supporting the rallies.
Skar acknowledged that the Forest
Service has made its decision concerning
salvaging trees killed during the
half-million-acre Biscuit fire on the
Siskiyou National Forest in 2002.
But he said activists haven’t given up
hope they can influence the plan.
"Most people do see legal action
coming," he said of a potential last
Although no Forest Service personnel
were available on Monday, Scott Conroy,
supervisor of both the Siskiyou and Rogue
River forests, called the planned salvage
a "very protective alternative" when he
announced it early last month.
The selected alternative in the
agency’s final environmental impact
statement calls for salvaging 370 million
board feet of fire-killed timber on about
19,400 acres. Those figures reflect a cut
from the agency’s preferred alternative of
518 million board feet on 29,000 acres
contained in its draft impact statement.
Conroy estimated the proposal would
provide wood to build 24,000 moderately
sized homes, creating up to 6,900 jobs and
generating up to $240 million in income.
About 100 million board feet could be
harvested this summer and fall, he said.
"We are only proposing to harvest dead
trees — no green trees," Conroy said. "And
we are proposing to harvest on only 4
percent of the acreage (burned). On the
flip side, that means 96 percent of the
acreage will be left to recover
The agency’s Northwest regional
forester has granted the project emergency
status, which will allow logging to begin
as soon as the timber is sold. Emergency
status would not stop litigation,
In addition to the salvage, the agency
has proposed to increase the 180,000-acre
Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area in the Siskiyou
forest by 64,000 acres. However, only
Congress can create a wilderness area.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at
776-4496 or e-mail him at