Logging on Public Lands

Examples from National Forests in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington

Logging is promoted by agencies and the timber industry as necessary for public safety and restoration. However, most logging on National Forests takes place in the backcountry, far from human communities. Logging in remote wildlands does not keep people safe. Home hardening, working around homes and communities, and emergency preparedness are far more effective strategies for protecting people and communities. 

We need to protect biodiversity, clean water, and the climate.
Instead, we are losing the remaining ‘last-best’ habitat in our region to logging, and exacerbating the climate and biodiversity crises. 

The photos below are only a few examples of the widespread, landscape scale logging taking place in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. Usually, we focus on documenting on-the-ground-conditions in proposed sales– before logging occurs– so that we can fight to protect areas from logging before it happens. However, we’re increasing joint efforts to document the aftermath of logging and shine a light on what’s agency “restoration” projects actually look like in far too many cases. Even when logging is not as intensive, the ecological costs also include, all too often, habitat loss, soil damage, erosion, and degradation of water quality and stream habitats.


The following photos were considered thinning by the Forest Service:

The photo below is the Forest Service’s example of “Free Selection” thinning, which the agency provided in their environmental analysis for the Big Mosquito sale:

Here are real-life examples of “Free Selection” thinning, which BMBP found in the Big Mosquito timber sale– much different than the agency’s depiction:


Unfortunately, protections for large trees in National Forests in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington were rolled back in 2021 under the Trump administration. The Forest Service now has even more discretion to log big trees. This puts mature and old forests at an even greater risk of logging, and threatens wildlife, fish and clean water across our region.

Black bear cub in Wilderness area adjacent to the Upper Touchet timber sale, Umatilla National Forest (photo credit: Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project)
Contact your Congressional representatives to tell them:
  • No blank checks for the Forest Service to continue outdated and ineffective logging in the backcountry
  • Community safety starts around homes, not from the wildlands. Smart strategies focus on home hardening and emergency preparedness
  • As a starting point to help meet climate goals such as 30×30, stop all logging of mature and old forests on public lands, including National Forests in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington
  • No poison pill riders! Environmental regulations and public oversight need to be strengthened– not weakened through backroom deals and fast-tracked compromises that sell out public lands
  • Real paradigm shifts are needed by Congress and the Biden administration in order to address the climate and biodiversity crises– not business as usual extraction.
Northern goshawk in the Crow sale, Malheur National Forest, prior to logging (photo credit: Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project)

It’s increasingly clear that human health and safety is inextricably intertwined with protecting the ecological integrity of natural ecosystems. We depend on nature to provide us with clean water and air, a stable climate, food security, and more.

Please help ensure that forests and streams on public lands are protected– for the good of all life on earth.

Thank you for caring about the plants, animals, fungi, and all native species that depend on the last-best habitats in National Forests for their survival!

 

An example of a logged forest in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Logging created a homogenous, unnaturally evenly spaced and open forest– which nevertheless burned severely in a fire. Post-fire habitats, or “snag forests” provide rare and crucial habitats for wildlife. Unfortunately, logging– both before or after a fire– severely degrades the value of snag forests. (Photo credit: David and Dee Tvedt)
The Imnaha River downstream of the proposed Morgan Nesbit timber sale on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Please contact Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project to help fight ecologically destructive logging in the Morgan Nesbit sale! (Photo credit: Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project)
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