Goosed: Community Outraged by Surprise Logging Launch
Update: According to Cascadia Forest Defenders: “On Sunday April 22, in celebration of ‘Earth Defense Day’ and in solidarity with Occupy the Trees, Cascadia Forest Defenders installed a tree sit in the Goose Project timber sale known as ‘Golden.’”
The Goose timber sale on the Willamette National Forest has been discussed on this blog before. This week, the Goose got some more press as forester Roy Keene wrote an opinion piece in the Eugene Weekly.
The Goose Timber Sale near McKenzie Bridge is a large Forest Service logging operation posed as a beneficial project for the forest and the people. But local people aren’t buying the sales pitch. They say this giant timber sale will, in truth, be as bad for the forest as it will for them….The reality disconnect of this 38-million-board-foot timber grab reducing wildfire bothers many forest-savvy locals as much as the coming war zone. McKenzie Bridge residents don’t look forward to day-long droning of chainsaws, the roar of jet helicopters, loaded trucks rumbling by in swirling dust or the increase in wildfire danger from summer logging operations….
Instead of logging large trees from distant upland slopes, remove small trees and excess vegetation around residences and thin forest understories along roads. Contract smaller, less-mechanized, but equally effective fuel reduction projects locally. Quit subsidizing distant mega-mills with huge helicopter and skyline logging operations at a loss to the public. Instead, redirect these subsidies toward activities like putting steel roofing on vulnerable community buildings and creating ponds for wildlife that would serve simultaneously as water points for future fire fighting.
The Goose Timber Sale does one thing really well. It highlights the inherent dishonesty, inequity and wastefulness of the archaic federal timber sale program. As one citizen said, “It looks as if you’re going to turn me into a 67-year-old tree sitter with this Goose Project. Bad news for us all!”
Just down the valley a piece, the Salem Weekly also took a look at the Goose timber sale with this article:
Conflict is building between the U.S. Forest Service and residents of a small community along the McKenzie River over a logging plan. Jerry Gilmour, a part-time resident of the McKenzie Bridge community, located in the Willamette National Forest, was astonished to learn in early February that 2134 acres there were about to be commercially logged and 588 acres “non-commercially thinned” by the Forest Service (USFS). Research into the matter left Gilmour angrier as he learned how the Goose Project, as the USFS calls it, came about….
According to critics, the main problems are as follows:
1 – The only warning for the large project was a small legal notice among many others in a Eugene newspaper –more than 50 miles from McKenzie Bridge – in 2010.
2 – The 45-day public comment period passed in 2010.
3 – The USFS chose to log mature forests in riparian reserves where logging is prohibited, and also to log mature trees which provide habitat for the spotted owl, a threatened species.
4 – Despite the fact that the project is located within a major watershed, involves critical habitat and the destruction of old growth trees, the USFS did not prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, but only an abbreviated document called an Environmental Assessment (EA).
5 – In a 2011 notice informing residents of a boundary line survey last year, the USFS did not mention a word about the logging project.
…Gilmour says he quickly learned the project was “massive,” including road-building and spraying of herbicides. It means the cutting of enough timber to fill 9,000 logging trucks in an area rich with elk deer, grey fox, black bear, bobcats and cougars.
Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild also objects to calling the project primarily fire protection. Heiken told Salem Weekly, “900 acres of the sale have nothing to do with fire risk reduction because they are older forests that have most of their fuel suspended high above the ground.” Heiken says logging will actually increase hazard on these 900 acres of mature forest….
Gilmour remains undaunted. “We are hoping that the USFS will do the right thing… put the brakes on and redesign this project with the good of the community, the wildlife and the forest in mind rather than the timber company’s bottom line.” He is “absolutely” in favor of the possible lawsuit against the USFS. “Litigation may be the only real way to bring this madness to a screeching halt.”
For more on community effort to stop the Goose Timber Sale, go to www.savemckenziebridge.com