Public Meeting on USFS Trapper Project
The Willamette National Forest will host a public meeting on the Revised Trapper Project at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield from 6 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 2nd. The project, located near Blue River, proposes to harvest approximately 44 acres and use prescribed fire to underburn approximately 36 of those 44 acres.
Officials say the meeting will give the public an opportunity to view maps, ask questions of specialists and hear opinions from other forest users and stakeholder groups. Attendees will also be given time to provide verbal comments on the project, which will be used by the Forest Service planning team to shape the design of the project.
“We are always interested in gathering public input and answering any questions they may have,” said Terry Baker, McKenzie River District Ranger.
The Revised Trapper Project started as a much larger project with a signed decision back in 2003, called the Trapper Project. The original Project was the result of a 1997 study designed to use timber harvest and prescribed fire to emulate historical natural disturbance processes like fire. The original Trapper Project planned to harvest approximately 149 acres and underburn approximately 92 acres. Just before the contractor was to begin harvest, on-going studies found Northern Spotted Owl nest sites in the area had moved, prompting the Forest Service to suspend operations in 2010. Two environmental groups then filed a lawsuit to permanently halt the timber operations.
In 2011, the judge ordered a re-analysis of the project, requiring the Forest Service to determine impacts to the Northern Spotted Owl and explain the learning value of the project. The document will also update the analyses to current standards of environmental review.
The Forest Service is now proposing to complete a portion of the Project to comply with contractual commitments with the purchaser, while still adhering to all environmental laws. A preliminary analysis by the planning team indicates about 44 acres are still available for harvest. A variety of reasons are currently driving the reduction, including wildlife and riparian area protection. The treated acreage may still change as further analysis is conducted by the planning team and comments from the public are considered.
To review the project, go to www.fs.usda.gov/willamette and click on Revised Trapper Project. For more information on the public meeting contact Cheryl Friesen at 541.822.7226.
McKenzie River Reflections