46 local businesses and organizations call for Mt. Hood National Forest to Prioritize Restoration and Recreation

Today,  a coalition of local businesses and organizations, representing farmers, recreation groups, business owners, religious interests and conservations groups across the Mt. Hood region, called for Forest Supervisor Lisa Northrop to shift the focus of land management in Mt. Hood National Forest from logging to watershed health and recreation.

The letter and full list of signatories is as follows:                                                                              

To: Lisa Northrop, Forest Supervisor, Mt. Hood National Forest

Mt. Hood National Forest is a regional treasure.  Not only does it provide drinking water for over a million Oregonians, but it is also a much loved recreation destination. Over two million people visit the forest each year, contributing over $50 million to the communities that surround the mountain.  But this region’s love of Mt. Hood National Forest goes much deeper than the services it provides.  The wild beauty of the peak, lush forests of the foothills, wild salmon runs that still find their way home, these are the heart and soul of this land; you are entrusted with their care.

We, the undersigned, ask that you shift the focus of land management in Mt. Hood National Forest from logging to watershed health, wildlife habitat and recreation.

One of the most damaging activities in the Forest is silent and subtle: the vast network of crumbling roads slowly leaking sediment into streams. While Forest Service roads help us get to our favorite places in the forest, many of the approximately 3,000 miles of roads in Mt. Hood National Forest are unnecessary, and in poor condition due to drastic declines in the road maintenance budget. Between 1989 and 2003, the budget for annual road maintenance in Mt. Hood National Forest declined approximately 60%.  Over the last decade, the road maintenance budget has continued to decline steadily by 2% to 5% each year; now the Forest Service has a backlog of $51.8 million in deferred road maintenance.

With this baseline of disintegrating roads, it simply doesn’t make sense to waste money rebuilding old logging roads. In the Jazz Timber Sale alone, the Forest Service spent $229,000 rebuilding previously decommissioned logging roads. Most other timber sales planned in Mt. Hood National Forest also undo watershed restoration efforts by rebuilding decommissioned roads.  

Instead, we advocate that the Forest Service invest in fixing neglected roads that lead to campgrounds and trailheads, repairing trails forest-wide, and removing – instead of maintaining – unneeded, ecologically harmful roads.  These investments will benefit local communities by providing jobs as diverse as heavy equipment operators, restaurateurs, and those in the recreation industry, as well as benefitting the many different species that rely on clean water.

This shift in priorities reflects changes in the economy and demographic of local communities. Today, the outdoor recreation industry employs more than 140,000 people in Oregon, while logging and wood-products manufacturing provides fewer than 30,000 jobs. Creative solutions, such as road-to-trail conversions, have long-term positive impacts for recreation visitors and the economy and ecology of Mt. Hood National Forest.

We understand that Mt. Hood National Forest has many competing pressures and is bound, in part, by the budget allocations set by Congress and higher level offices in the agency. We also understand that changing priorities requires many allies working together to create long lasting policy change. We are those allies. 

To demonstrate this shift in priorities, we ask that you: 1) substantially invest in your recreation infrastructure; 2) significantly involve the public to create a Travel Analysis Process that right-sizes the Forest Service road system; 3) commit to increase road decomissioing efforts to improve watershed health and wildlife habitat; and, 4) do not rebuild decommissioned roads.

Sincerely,

Arctos School of Herbal and Botanical Studies
Gradey Proctor and Missy Rohs, Directors
Portland, OR

Audubon Society of Portland
Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director
Portland, OR

Balance Media
Trip Jennings, Director
Portland, OR

Bark
Alex P. Brown, Director
Mt. Hood region, OR

Barrow Built
Sean Barrow, Master Bricoleur
Portland, OR

BiPartisan Café
Hobie Bender, Owner
Portland, OR

Business Catual
Joshua Force, Owner
Portland, OR

Cascadia Education Project
Jeffrey Mocniak, Board President
Portland, OR

Cascadia Law PC
Erin Madden, Attorney
Portland, OR

Center for Biological Diversity
Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Director
Portland, OR

Center for Biological Diversity
Randi Spivak, Public Lands Program Director
Washington, D.C.

Cherry Sprout Produce
Katie Nichols, Co-owner
Portland, OR

Christy Slovacek Music Studio
Christy Slocacek, Owner
Zigzag, OR

City Repair Project
Kirk Rea, Board Director
Portland, OR

Columbia Riverkeeper
Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director
Hood River, OR

Devil's Club
Kim Hack, Co-founder
Portland, OR

Discover Bicycles

Kurt Buddendeck,  Owner                          

Hood River, OR

Environmental Paper & Print
Allen King, Owner
Portland, OR

First Unitarian Church
Rev. Kate Lore, Social Justice Minister
Portland, OR

Flying Onion Farm
Mark Bassik, Farmer
Oregon City, OR

Friends of Mt. Hood
Dennis Chaney, Board Chair
Portland, OR

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge
Michael Lang, Conservation Director
Portland, OR

Gifford Pinchot Task Force
Gordy Molitor, Interim Executive Director
Vancouver, WA

Mazamas
Lee Davis, Executive Director
Portland, OR

Mount Hood National Park Campaign
Tom Kloster, Organizer
Portland, OR

Mountain Sports
Tom & Sonya Butler, Owners
Welches, OR

Mt. Hood Stewardship Council
Don Mench, Chairman
Zigzag, OR

NW RAGE
Mark Des Marets, Campaign Organizer
Portland, OR

Otto’s Ski Shop
Andreanne Rode, Owner
Sandy, OR

Pacific Rivers Council
Greg Haller, Conservation Director
Portland, OR

Red Fox
Michael Torribo, Owner
Portland, OR

Rising Tide, Portland Chapter
David Osborne, Co-Director
Portland, OR

Salvage Works
Preston Browning, Owner
Portland, OR

Sea Tramp Tattoo
Don Denton, Owner
Portland, OR

Sellwood Cycles
Erik Tonkin, Owner
Portland, OR

Sierra Club, Columbia Group
Greg Jacob, Conservation Chair
Portland, OR

Sissymama’s Bistro
Amber Spears, Owner
Zigzag, OR

Skyway Bar & Grill
Tracie & Tom Anderson, Owners
Zigzag, OR

The Mushroomery
Dustin Olsen, Owner
Lebanon, OR

Trackers Earth
Travis Southworth-Neumeyer, Chief Operating Officer
Portland, OR

Tryon Life Community Farm
Jenny Leis, Council
Portland, OR

Turning Wheel Astrology
Rhea Wolf, Owner
Portland, OR

Western Environmental Law Center
Susan Jane Brown, Wildlands Program Director
Eugene, OR

Wildearth Guardians
Marlies Wierenga, Pacific Northwest Conservation Manager
Portland, OR

Wraptitude Restaurant
Hidee & Ryan Cummings, Owners
Wemme, OR

Zig Zag Zen Chiropractic & Yoga Studio
Brenda Taylor, Owner
Zigzag, OR

 

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