Sierra Nevada Framework update

Larry Harrell lhfotoware at
Sat May 1 09:05:38 EST 2004

April 30, 2004   Greenwire

Opponents appeal Sierra Nevada logging plan 

by Dan Berman

Environmentalists, scientists and California Attorney General Bill
Lockyer (D) are asking Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth to reverse
the agency's plan to triple the amount of logging in 11 national
forests along California's Sierra Nevada.

The Forest Service's revisions to the 2001 Sierra Nevada Framework,
unveiled in January, calls for the logging of 115,000 acres annually,
including the harvest of old-growth trees up to 30 inches in diameter.
Opponents say the new plan is designed to help the state's faltering
timber industry. The opponents want the Forest Service to reinstate
the 2001 framework, which they believe balances conservation with
logging and fire protection.

More than 9,000 letters were sent to the Forest Service asking
Bosworth to review the new plan, according to the Wilderness Society
and the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign. Forest Service
spokesman Rick Alexander was unable to verify the number of appeals
filed. Yesterday was the deadline to postmark appeals.

"We think the plan is seriously deficient and inconsistent with the
best science on any number of issues," including wildfire risk and the
threat to wildlife in the forest, said Jay Watson, director of the
Wildland Fire Program for the Wilderness Society. "The original plan
was focused on the right kinds of thinning, the right kind of

"The new plan has taken a major shift in the direction of a major
timber program and that program has nothing to do with reducing the
risk of fire," Watson said.

The 2001 framework was designed to protect old-growth stands and
habitats for the California spotted owl, Pacific fisher, Yosemite
toad, frogs, willow flycatcher, northern goshawk and other species.
The Forest Service says 96 percent of the 1,321 protected acres for
the California spotted owl will be maintained with the new plan,
however, the plan also calls for reducing forest canopy in old-growth
stands from 80 percent to 50 percent (Greenwire, Jan. 23).

The final plan has been marred in controversy since it was unveiled in
January. Aside from the particulars of the plan itself, critics
blasted the Forest Service's promotional campaign entitled "Forests
with a Future", especially after it was revealed the agency hired an
outside public relations firm, OneWorld Communications of San
Francisco, to design and promote the plan.

Earlier this month, House Resources Committee ranking member Nick
Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Forests Subcommittee ranking member Jay Inslee
(D-Wash.) asked the Agriculture Department's inspector general to
investigate the $115,000 contract and whether the Forest Service
violated federal law with the OneWorld deal.

Furthermore, a Forest Service brochure about the benefits of forest
thinning in the Sierra Nevada used a photo of the Bitterroot Valley in
Montana in place of the California forest. The Forest Service
published a pamphlet in January that includes six black-and-white
photos of "forests of the past." The first photo, date 1909, shows a
"park-like" forest with widely spaced trees, with the rest of the
photos showing increasingly thick vegetation. But the 1909 photo is
actually that of Bitterroot Valley in Montana, shortly after it had
been logged.

"It has not been a proud moment for the Forest Service," Watson said.
"The whole effort, the marketing campaign has been thoroughly

Despite the criticism and the appeals, the Forest Service is
aggressively implementing the plan, Alexander said. Most projects are
in the planning stages and undergoing National Environmental Policy
Act-mandated reviews, and that effort will continue throughout the

Comment by poster: Again I see the slanting and "eco-rhetoric" when
they say the the SNF "will triple logging", making it sound like we're
going back to the days of Bush's father. Tripling a very small amount
of logging will still result in MUCH lower harvest levels than in the
late 80's (thank god). Though the Forest Service continues to get a
black eye from the photo fallout, we'll see if the SNF will stand up
in court. This will be a big litmus test to see what "big guns" both
sides have when our National Forests are on the line. Again, I'm
saying that the old version of SNF was fatally flawed and that the
state (and people) of California will NOT allow the levels of burning
prescribed in the original SNF. These low harvest levels are not
sustainable, as Larry Caldwell was talking about in another thread.
Many Forests today have mortality exceeding both harvesting AND
growth. That, certainly ISN'T "natural".

Larry,     cutting through government "green tape"

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