This is an example of the FS getting its side of the story out there. Good on them and to KTVZ for publishing it here.
Here’s a quote from the FS side:
The EXF Thinning, Fuels Reduction and Research Project is a collaborative effort between the Deschutes National Forest and the Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service. The project site, in the Lookout Mountain Unit of the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest, is located west of La Pine and about three miles east of Crane Prairie Reservoir.
· The Lookout Mountain Unit of the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest was established in 1937 as a center for forest silviculture, management, and insect and disease research in ponderosa pine forests east of the Cascade Range. Today’s dense forests on Lookout Mountain were established primarily after two stand-replacement wildfires that occurred around 1845 and 1900. The road system was constructed in the 1960s. Over the last 35 years, vegetation research treatments have occurred on 2,534 of the 3,535 acres within the Lookout Mountain Unit.
· Planned research will improve our understanding of how management actions influence forest structure and dynamics over time, including the effects of thinning and fuels reduction treatments on forest resiliency during a period of potential climatic change.
· Planned management actions will maintain growth of trees through thinning, leave forests more resilient to drought, reduce their susceptibility to forest insects, and reduce the risk of significant loss from wildfire.
And from “concerned citizen Jeffrey Kingsley from Milton-Freewater Oregon” (8 miles s of Walla Walla Washington, 272 miles from Bend).
Going up to Lookout after logging operations started was devastating. The forest service claims to be worried about fires but let logging crews leave piles of slash two stories high along with other debris strewn throughout the area creating much more fire risk than the intact forest we saw there before. You can see huge log decks of old growth trees cut to line the pockets of industry at the expense of recreation, wildlife, and the last intact scenic ponderosa pine forests.” said Kingsley.
Hmm. Of course, they will treat the slash, also it appears to me after having a chance to discuss the project with various involved individuals, it is a research project. I’m sure that industry is happy to get it, but that’s not the point. Does Mr. Kingsley really believe that PNW scientists design their projects to benefit the timber industry? Or why else say it?
Another piece of the FS story is that civil servants must always be reasonable and civil. That seems to be a disadvantage in any competition of impugning motives and inflammatory rhetoric.
Here’s another piece, by Karen Coulter, the director of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, an environmental advocacy organization based in Fossil, Ore.(about 100 miles away)
The court ruling on EXF granted extraordinary deference to the agency because the timber sales are on an experimental forest and did not otherwise address our legal claims regarding the wrongful use of a unique intact block of old growth forest on public lands.
Note the response to the claims in the comments..
But it is really “wrongful” to do experiments on an experimental forest?
And what do the environmental groups in Bend think? Why are only people from far away quoted? I guess the good news might be that there aren’t any questionable projects on closer National Forests, so they have to range more widely to find projects to appeal?