Learn more about the forests currently threatened by logging in eastern Oregon! Read about the unique ecology and beauty of these forests, and the work we are doing to protect them.
We have put together fact-sheets on several of the timber sales that we are currently working to stop or significantly modify. Learn more about the unique ecology and beauty of these forests, and the work we are doing to protect them. Learn more about the areas that your donations are helping to defend! (Click on the links provided below! Pictures are included.)
The Ringo timber sale on the Deschutes National Forest sale proposes to log ~5,000 acres, including in: Northern spotted owl habitat; areas with very diverse tree species including White pine, Shasta red fir, Sugar pine, and Mountain hemlock; and recent post-fire burns with park-like old growth Ponderosa pine. We field-checked this sale last summer, and submitted scoping comments. We will remain engaged with every stage of the public comment process, and use the information we collected in the field to stop or significantly modify ecologically destructive logging in this sale. UPDATE as of 4/2/2017: This sale is currently undergoing a public comment period. Stay tuned for our upcoming Action Alert!
The Walton Lake timber sale This sale is particularly distressing to us, as this sale proposes to log old growth mixed-conifer forests in the most popular recreation area in the Ochoco National Forest. The Forest Service is using laminated root rot as an excuse to log—despite the fact that laminated root rot is a common and widespread native disease that serves important ecological functions such as creating snags (standing dead trees) and providing crucial wildlife habitat. In addition, logging usually exacerbates the spread of laminated root rot, and has been repeatedly shown to be an ineffective and misguided strategy. Much of the destructive logging being proposed is in areas located far from roads, and is unnecessary for public safety. We field checked this sale last summer. We are investigating the legal options available for continuing to fight for the old growth forests in this beloved area. Despite Walton Lake’s great popularity, the Forest Service is circumventing public process by using a categorical exclusion (CE) for this sale, bypassing any objection or appeal opportunity. UPDATE as of 4/2/2017: BMBP challenged this project in 2016, and the Forest Service withdrew their proposal. Unfortunately plans to log this area are now being re-proposed by the USFS. The proposal is currently undergoing a public comment period. Please see our Action Alert on this sale by clicking here.
The Tiger-Webb timber sale on the Umatilla National Forest proposes to log in extremely rugged and steep slopes above creeks, including in the Tiger Creek Roadless Area. We strongly oppose all logging in Roadless Areas, and we are very concerned about the potential for erosion, increased sediment in streams, and impacts to fish and wildlife species in this sale. We field checked this area last summer, and submitted scoping comments. We will continue to monitor this sale, submit site-specific comments, and prioritize the protection of the Tiger Creek Roadless Area and old growth mixed-conifer forests in this area.UPDATE as of 4/2/2017: This project is still in the works, and we are continuing to track it. We will update the public with any new information during upcoming comment periods.
The Lex timber sale in the Deschutes National Forest includes proposed clearcuts and other heavy industrial-style logging practices. Past logging has heavily impacted most of this area. However, the sale also proposes to log in sensitive, unique, and ecologically important areas such as moist mixed-conifer forests, buttes, and areas directly adjacent to roadless areas– some of which appear to have never been logged. We field-checked this sale last summer, and submitted scoping comments. Our work on this sale is ongoing. We will continue to prioritize the protection of sensitive and ecologically unique areas, and provide a strong and biocentric voice at the table in opposition to clearcutting and in defense of the forests in the Lex sale. UPDATE as of 4/2/2017: This project is still in the works, and we are continuing to track it. We will update the public with any new information during upcoming comment periods.
BMBP is out in the woods almost continuously from the beginning of June until the last week in September, and we cover thousands of acres of proposed timber sales across four national forests. We documented issues in sale units such as: proposed logging on steep slopes above creeks; extensive cattle damage to streams; mature forests mischaracterized by the USFS as tree plantations (some of which have never been logged); cumulative ecological damage from past logging, roads, and livestock grazing; and sensitive areas directly threatened by logging including wildlife corridors, never-logged forests, and old growth mixed-conifer and Ponderosa pine forests. We are also documenting conditions related to climate change, which are occurring with increasing regularity, such as streams that historically supported year-round flows drying up completely or suffering from lower than normal flows due to shrinking snowpacks. Flows that are lower than historic norms are likely to cause increased stream temperatures and decreased connectivity, which can be extremely detrimental or fatal for fish and other aquatic species—especially as these trends are becoming increasingly frequent. Proposed logging, especially in streamside riparian areas, is likely to exacerbate these problems, and further disrupt watershed hydrology and increase stream temperatures. We use the information we collect in the field to do extensive follow-up work in order to defend forests– including written comments, public outreach, negotiations, and sometimes litigation.
In order to write well-informed comments and objections, we spend a lot of time doing extensive research. For example, one of our most fun research projects investigated historic documents and their descriptions of forest conditions across the Blue Mountains in general and the Malheur National Forest in particular. We focused on historical accounts of forest densities and tree species compositions, as well as logging practices. We submitted this research as a portion of our scoping comments on the Summit timber sale—you can read them here. We discovered that much of the Forest Service’s justification to log in the Summit sale, and possibly in other timber sales, is very likely erroneous and based on misinterpretations of historical documents.
Recently proposed timber sales and other projects that we are currently working to stop or modify include: the Camp Lick, Ragged Ruby, Dove, Magone, and Flat timber sales in the Malheur National Forest; the Lower Joseph Creek and Sparta sales in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; the Kew sale in the Deschutes National Forest; and many others. In addition, we continue to monitor numerous other projects at various stages of the agencies’ planning process, and challenge ecologically destructive projects at every opportunity.
BMBP accomplishes all of this work on a shoestring budget, and with only two paid staff! If you can donate, even a small amount, please do. You can donate here. If you are considering volunteering with us, please visit our webpage and go to the “get involved” page. Thank you!
For the Wild,
Paula Hood and Karen Coulter
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project