“Cutting for Health is a Scam for Wealth”

The era of tree-sitting isn’t over yet. This article explains the latest protest:

Environmental group blocks path to timber sale
Cascadia Forest Defenders’ protest halts access near McKenzie Bridge

“Environmental activists ratcheted up their logging protest Monday about 50 miles east of Eugene, suspending a platform 80 feet in the air on a tree and tethering it by a cable to a roadblock that includes two old vehicles.”

A photo shows the group’s roadblock, which includes a pile of small logs and branches, with a large banner strung overhead that reads, “Cutting for Health is a Scam for Wealth.”

The protest is of the Goose Project, on the Willamette National Forest near the community of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, which has been the subject of appeals and a lawsuit since 2010. It is worth noting that the Goose Project would treat about 2,400 acres (more info below), while there are currently 9 active fires burning on the Willamette totaling 85,400 acres. Some of the fires in the Horse Creek Complex are within a few miles of the community of McKenzie Bridge.

For what it’s worth, the USFS says:

1. What is the Goose Project?
The Goose Project proposes to commercially harvest and reduce fuels on approximately 2,452 acres on the Willamette National Forest near the community of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. Harvest treatments proposed include thinning, dominant tree release, gap creation, regeneration harvest and skips. Fuels treatments include mechanical treatments, post-harvest underburn, natural fuels underburn, and hazardous fuels treatments.

2. Why is the Goose Project needed?
The Goose Project is needed to provide a sustainable supply of timber products, reduce hazardous fuels in the McKenzie Bridge Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and actively managed stands to improve stand conditions, diversity, density and structure.

And Cascadia Forest Defenders’s view: “Since 2010, the Goose timber sale proposal has been portrayed to the public at large as a “fire fuels reduction” and “restoration” project. In reality this logging of native forest will only encourage the growth of understory vegetation thus increasing fire fuel loads in the long term. To add insult to injury, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has given approval to “incidentally take” the lives of 5 listed “Threatened” northern spotted owls.”

 

14 Comments

  1. The Goose timber sale has been discussed and debated on this blog in the past.

    Here are some examples:

    Federal judge puts McKenzie Bridge timber sale on hold
    http://forestpolicypub.com/2013/03/27/or-federal-judge-puts-mckenzie-bridge-timber-sale-on-hold/

    Goosed: Community Outraged by Surprise Logging Launch
    http://forestpolicypub.com/2012/04/20/goosed-community-outraged-by-surprise-logging-launch/

    A commentary on the Goose Timber Sale from Roy Keene, a Eugene, OR timberland broker and forest consultant
    http://eugeneweekly.com/article/goosed

    A McKenzie Bridge logging plan takes neighbors by surprise
    http://forestpolicypub.com/2012/02/27/a-mckenzie-bridge-logging-plan-takes-neighbors-by-surprise/

  2. Also, this seems like a stretch Steve…

    “there are currently 9 active fires burning on the Willamette totaling 85,400 acres.”

    Since October 20, the McKenzie Bridge area has gotten at least 4 inches of rain. So, I’m not sure the words “currently” “active” and “burning” really apply. But whatever.

    • Matthew, I know all about the rain. Had 10+ inches here in Zigzag, OR, since Thursday. Yes, the fires have been doused, but my point was that 85,400 acres burned in just those 9 fires — and far more than 2,400 acres burned at a high intensity. No EISs or EAs or CEs were completed for these fires — and no one filed a lawsuit.

      BTW, the Goose FEIS says that of the 2,452 acres in the project area, 43 acres are to be clearcut (regeneration harvest). The largest treatment by ares is 1,080 of thinning outside Riparian Reserves.

  3. Hey, what about
    http://forestpolicypub.com/2013/04/15/goose-project-update-no-new-roads/
    http://forestpolicypub.com/2012/05/10/how-old-is-old-growth-goose-project/

    Also, who is going to get “wealth” y off this timber sale (assuming Steve is correct about 1000 acres of thinning and a 43 acre clearcut)? It would be interesting to know the size and characteristics of potential purchasers… if they ever get to that stage.

    As we have seen in many discussions on this blog, this project would be a yawn (or half a yawn) in many parts of the West. What is it about western Oregon that is so different?

  4. The ideology behind this protest is quickly losing favor in the public eye. You can debate the severity, morality, and natural effect, but reality is that the public is losing their risk tolerance to loss by fire. 43 deaths and 7000 structures will get more media than another tree sitter.
    Unlike the facts that were ignored in creating the NWFP, the facts will be front and center in reducing forest fuel. The media might even dig into what “5 takes” really means. The public is already calling BS on the soil severity mapping vs actual mortality as the USFS and Enviormental groups attempt to minimize fire severity.
    My prediction is we will see an increase in the speed of the pendulum going back past center. Thanks in part to efforts like those of Cascadia Forest Defenders…… but whatever.

      • Andy, see “Shrub-choked wildlands played a role in California fires,” High Country News, here:

        http://www.hcn.org/articles/wildfire-what-role-did-wildlands-play-in-californias-wine-country-fires

        “But the condition of forests and shrublands also contributed to how severe the fires were when they approached urban areas, says Brandon Collins, a research scientist at UC Berkeley. The fires gained intensity as they ran through mixed hardwood forests and slopes covered with chaparral, manzanita and other shrubs. Chaparral “is designed to burn pretty hot,” says Jeffrey Kane, an associate professor of fire ecology at Humboldt State. And both forests and shrublands were overgrown, choked with underbrush and small trees that provided a continuous source of fuel as the fires moved across the hilly terrain.

        “Wind alone will make even a grass fire spread quickly, but it would not have the head of steam that this one had to penetrate so deeply into the urban areas,” Collins adds. “You can’t just say it’s the wind because you have to have the fuels, too.”

        • These so-called “wild lands” are private property, honey-combed with roads, vineyards, houses, barns, fences, and pastures. The cyclonic strength winds fanned flames through abundant grass and other fine fuels that resulted from winter 2017’s record amounts of rain that fell in the northern Sierra Mountain region. Perhaps deploying thousands of lawn mowers and brush cutters in September would have abated the fire’s intensity and scope. Will Californians be willing to pay the yearly landscape maintenance costs for their wineries, hobby farms, ranchettes, and suburbs? There’s no forest product to be had in these hills that will ameliorate these gardening expenses.

          • I had no forest product income when I created a defensible zone around my house and removed brush and small trees (vine maple, big leaf maple, alder, etc.).

            I’m not saying fuel treatments and “firewising” in general would have saved all the houses, but it might have saved some, and broader treatments also might have led to lower fire intensity. It would be better to do something than nothing and hoping for the best.

            FWIW, when the Eagle Creek Fire was burning hot and fast in the Columbia River Gorge, I cleaned my gutters and roof valleys, and got out extra hoses, just in case.

  5. Some counties in Oregon are covered by the Oregon Urban-Forestland Wildfire Protection Act (SB360). In Josephine County, parts of which are similar, vegetation-wise, to the Napa and Santa Rosa areas in California. According to the county, “The identification and classification process for implementing the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act in Josephine County was completed in May 2008, and the owners of more than 19,000 lots were notified of their fuel reduction obligations under the Act. More than 3,000 self-certification cards were returned to ODF by landowners by the end of 2009. Landowners who do not certify compliance with the Act’s fuel reduction standards by December 2010 may be subject to the Act’s fire cost recovery penalty, should a wildfire occur on their lands.”

    I expect we’ll see state and counties considering this sort of regulation.

  6. I guess people missed the point I was making. The fact that it was shrubland doesn’t matter. The fact that many of the fires originated from power lines and power surges from the 50 mph sustained winds with 70 mph gusts, knocking over trees, doesn’t matter. The fact that apparently PG&E didn’t install adequate breakers as identified 3 years ago, doesn’t matter.
    What will matter in the public eye is “People Died” “Thousands of Homes were Lost” “Forests Aren’t Being Managed” “Valleys Choked by Smoke for 6 Weeks” “Recreation & Tourism Severly Impacted” ……… the fact that Cascadia Forest Defenders were INSENSITIVE enough to put a tree sitter up to prevent forest management, will very likely play against them in the public eye. The options for headlines are almost unlimited……… me thinks you can’t see the forest for the trees!

  7. There were some articles yesterday that some loggers removed the barricade. Seems to me it should of been the FS that removed the barricade. No arrests were made.
    Almost all access to this year fire burned areas across our forests are closed to the public. Even after the fires are out, hugh portions of our public forests are off limits to the pubic, with threat of arrest if you try.
    These people protest a few acres of thinning and have nothing to say about the thousands of acres that burnt to a crisp?

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