Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Massive Logging Plan Proposed in Six Rivers National Forest

[repost]

Upper Mad River Forests Need Your Help
Please send a letter to the Forest Service by May 30th

The Mad River Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest has just announced a massive timber sale called Little Doe and Low Gulch that would remove trees in 87 logging units covering 923 acres. We need your help to convince the Forest Service to abandon destructive aspects of the proposed sale.

The area that would be logged is in the headwaters of the Mad River, south of Ruth Lake and just north of the Yolla Bolly Wilderness. The Upper Mad River Watershed is a popular recreation destination and still provides much-needed habitat for rare species such as the Northern spotted owl, Bald Eagles, Peregrine falcons, Northern goshawks, Pacific fishers and Western pond turtles.

An incredibly fast falcon, the peregrine has suffered alarming declines due to pesticide use and habitat loss. The bird is doing better than it has in past decades, thanks to intensive conservation efforts that must remain in place.

Unfortunately, aggressive logging of this watershed has already placed 8 out of 14 known spotted owl pairs in the area into "take" (the agency euphemism for death) and more logging is on the way.

While the Forest Service admits its intensive logging program over the past 40 years has greatly harmed old-growth forests and critters in the Mad River watershed, the agency just can't break its addiction to clearcutting. A little over 220 acres of the proposed logging call for "regenerating" (clearcutting) mature forest stands, turning them into flammable industrial tree plantations. The remainder of the proposed logging would focus on thinning smaller trees.

The proposed logging also relies on dragging trees out of the forest with tractors, rather than cable helicopter yarding techniques, which are much more gentle on the soil. 69 logging units call for tractor dragging, while only 7 units call for helicopter yarding. Removing all of the trees the Forest Service wants to log would require the construction of 25 "landings" in the forest to pile logs until they could be hauled out. The sale area is so remote that hauling costs will be high, which means the Forest Service will try to sell many big trees in an attempt to make the sale cost-effective to log.

Please take a moment to let the Forest Service know that you value the forests, water and wildlife of the Upper Mad River Watershed.

Initial (scoping) comments on their logging proposal are due by May 30th.

TALKING POINTS

- Please ask the Forest Service to extend the comment deadline. Many areas in the proposed sale remain under snow at this writing, while many roads are likely to remain impassable for some time. It is important that at least some members of the public be able to fully inspect the proposed sale in order to provide well-informed comments.

- Clearcutting (regeneration harvest) is inappropriate for this watershed and will greatly increase the controversy surrounding this timber sale. Please focus on thinning smaller trees that are growing too densely due to past logging or fire suppression. Please protect all remaining mature and old trees and stands.

- New road construction and tractor yarding inevitably harm soil resources. Please protect our soil and water by avoiding new road construction and tractor yarding.

-The Mad River Watershed has been seriously degraded by past logging and overzealous road construction. Its time for the Forest Service to change course and promote a sustainable forest and sustainable communities by investing in restoration rather than short-term exploitation.

WHO TO WRITE

Robert Delgado
Mad River District Ranger
Star Route Box 300
Bridgeville, CA 95526

Fax (707) 574-6273

e-mail: comments-pacificsouthwest-six-rivers-mad-river@fs.fed.us

this article reposted from KS Wild- POB 102, Ashland, OR 97520 ยท 541-488-5789 ยท www.kswild.org

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