SHOWDOWN LOOMS BETWEEN FOREST SERVICE, PROTESTERS

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Fri Jun 9 01:58:14 EST 2000


>From The Oregonian, Friday, June 2, 2000 p C7

Showdown looms between Forest Service, protesters

The agency plans to remove logging foes blocking two roads in the Mount
Hood National Forest

By TREVOR MAXWELL, The Oregonian
	U.S. Forest Service officials said Thursday that they would remove
protesters blocking two roads leading to controversial timber sales in
the Mount Hood National Forest.
	"We are going to open those roads," said Earl Ford, Clackamas
district ranger. "The folks that are participating will be removed. It
will be their option whether that involves legal action."
	Vanport Manufacturing of Boring, which is cutting the Eagle timber
sales under contract with the Forest Service, had planned to begin
logging Thursday. But activists supported by the Cascadia Forest
Alliance set up blockades this week on the only two Forest Service roads
that provide access to the logging units.
	The protests have entered their fourth year, and the standoff
between the activists and the Forest Service appears to be escalating.
What's more, positions appear to have hardened since last summer, when
protests stalled some logging in the timber sales east of Estacada.
	"We have more support than we've ever had," said Donald Fontenot, a
Cascadia spokesman. "More people are realizing that this is not just a
group of left-wing extremists."
	Forest Service officials are increasingly frustrated by the protest.
They cite the Eagle sales as an example of the Northwest Forest Plan's
best intention: a fine balance between ecology and the economy.
	The forest plan was adopted in 1994 in an effort to provide timber
from federal forests while protecting habitat for fish and wildlife,
including the threatened northern spotted owl. It reduced logging by 80
percent from harvest levels during the boom times of the 1980s.
	"As one of the veterans who has been dealing with this for several
years, the frustrating thing is the misinformation going around about
these sales," said Jim Rice, Forest Service coordinator for the Eagle
sales. "We are not logging old-growth timber in those sales. The
harvesting in that area helps maintain healthy forest vegetation."
	Vanport officials said they expect to gain access to the sales soon.
The company won a contract in 1996 to selectively log 1,030 acres, more
than half of which lie in roadless areas. About 450 acres have been
thinned since then. Most of the trees cut were 110 to 130 years old.
	Ford said he and other Forest Service representatives are talking
with law enforcement officials about reopening the roads. He declined to
say how or when they plan to remove the blockades, but he said the
safety of protesters and Forest Service employees was his top concern.
	More than 30 activists are blocking the entrances to Forest Service
Roads 4614 and 4615, which lead to a roadless area that borders the
Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. The activists have used long cords to
suspend "pods" at least 40 feet above both access roads. The pods,
tethered to the closed gates, will fall if the gates are opened, they
said.
	On Thursday, the protesters said they want the Forest Service to
cancel the remainder of the Eagle sales. They oppose logging on national
forest land and say the Eagle sales pose environmental threats to the
Eagle Creek watershed.
	Eagle Creek runs from two forks near Mount Hood to its confluence
with the Clackamas River, a source of drinking water for thousands of
residents, mostly in Portland's southern suburbs.
	"The Northwest Forest Plan is still focusing on older forests that
help provide clean water and habitat for wildlife," said Ivan Maluski,
Northwest organizer for the American Lands Alliance. Maluski was at one
of the blocked roads Thursday to show his group's support.
	"The allegation that they are going to improve this wateshed by
loggin it as intensely as they are is preposterous," he said. "In terms
of logging practices, if this is the model that the Northwest plan has
to offer, then it only supports our fight to end logging in these
areas."
	But Rice said the Eagle sales have been cut using methods that meet
or exceed the standards required by environmental laws. He noted that
only 17 percent of the Mount Hood National Forest is open to logging.
	"These sales include buffer zones to all riparian areas," Rice said.
"We did not build roads where we could have. We surveyed wildlife
species, and we consulted with National Marine Fisheries Service and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The impacts here have been checked and
rechecked."
	Maluski said the Eagle protesters are nonviolent but ready to stand
their ground. They plan to occupy the area until the end of the logging
season, on Oct. 31.
	"We didn't expect them to force a confrontation today," he said.
"But we don't know if they will be coming out here tomorrow or next
week."

COMMENT BY POSTER: I don't know which "side" I'm more against or for.
The sale is probably a good one. But it has vastly more timber offered
than should be taken off considering the slope. OTOH, the
"environmentalists" are represented as wanting no logging, something
which may be as detrimental to forest health here or anywhere as bad a
solution as clear-cutting. In the history of the Eagle Creek sale, it
should be noted that until the proposed sale came in at well over twice
as much harvest as was initially suggested, there was no protest. So
who's zoomin' who?

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com


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