Logging plans generate more queries
Session looks at two timber projects
RAINBOW: Ranger Terry Baker, of the McKenzie River Ranger District, fielded a wide spectrum of audience questions at a May 2nd meeting. The session gave area residents an opportunity to hear how the Forest Service is responding to a lawsuit on an existing project as well as a first look at a new harvest area that encompasses some 90,000 acres.
Green Mountain was the big one which Baker said came about when two adjacent harvest sites were rolled into one package. A lot of the ground covered includes wilderness areas where logging can’t occur. Among other restrictions, officials say they’re looking at doing “regeneration harvesting” on a total of roughly 5,000 acres.
For many at the meeting, regeneration harvesting means clear cuts, which they opposed. Baker said the practice would involve taking out from 80 to 85 percent of the trees in a given area, to “break up the continuity” as a way of returning forest acreage into areas that will grow brush, grass and other food for wildlife.
The subject of protests and a lawsuit after a 2012 public meeting, the Goose project generated questions about if it was needed and how it would affect the surrounding McKenzie Bridge community. The lawsuit resulted in a directive from a federal court to conduct an Environmental Impact Study. When Baker said the EIS didn’t call for any real changes, people like Edgar Exum said it seemed strange to have the agency examining its own practices.
Exum also asked why a phrase promising “family wage jobs” kept popping up in reports as a benefit of the harvests. No one in the room, however could tell him what that amounted to in dollars and cents.
Leah Gladstone had a problem with another term - regeneration, saying, “Deforestation is part of the planet’s problem. We’re cutting carbon releases for what purpose?”
Offering a counterpoint was Monty Wilson, who’s retired from the Forest Service. “We have the charitably forgiving latitude on the earth for forestry. This is the place to do it.” Wilson offered to take anyone in the room on a tour of the South Fork area, where he could show them areas he was very proud of.
Baker asked people living on North Bank Road if they seen other cuttings, adding that they’d driven by several areas called “gaps” in harvest areas on their way to the meeting. Gaps are what some refer to as clear cuts.
Image above: There were plenty of maps and Forest Service staff in attendance for last Friday’s meeting on the Goose and Green Mtn. timber sales.
McKenzie River Reflections