Polallie Cooper Comments Due Thursday!

Barkers!

When we learned that the Forest Service was resurrecting the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale ten years after it was stopped by local opposition, it felt like déjà vu. But then something else happened – we found out there’s more people than ever who care about the Cooper Spur forests.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of people have registered their opposition to logging such remarkable forests. The Hood River News reported on the 3,584 comments Bark delivered at the recent open house, as well as the mountain bike rider groups who have expressed concern for the impact to trails.

As Bark’s former Executive Director, Sandi Scheinberg wrote about stopping the project ten years ago, “Hiking up through the diversity of plants and trees to reach the alpine vistas, it was always so clear to me why people cared so much about the future of this place.”

I’ve spent the last three weeks wading through the doublespeak of the 338-page Environmental Assessment, which boils down to the Forest Service wanting to log the forest now so it can’t burn in a hypothetical future fire later. Here are a few of Bark’s biggest concerns:

Wildlife – With the latest report on Northern Spotted Owls showing them in decline from the joint threats of continued habitat loss and Barred Owls, logging in designated critical habitat is unacceptable.

Crystal Springs Watershed – The logging proposal includes 4.5 miles of roadbuilding and 782 acres of logging in the supposedly protected Crystal Springs watershed. This is the source of drinking water for communities in the upper Hood River Valley and many of them have spoken out in opposition.

Hiking/Biking Trails – With all the legal questions we have with this project, planning a project over some of the most popular trails in Mt. Hood National Forest just makes no sense. People not only love this recreation area, but there are many jobs in the area that depend on world-class trail access to keep people returning.

And still the Forest Service persists!

Bark has organized thousands of people to tell the Forest Service what we think about this project. A few people who haven’t yet spoken are Oregon’s congressional delegation. They've been active in protecting this area in the past and need to tell the Forest Service to enact the will of the people on our federal public lands. Take a moment to tell your senators and representatives to speak up for the future of our forests!

We’ll keep you posted on how to stay involved in the coming weeks. If you haven’t yet commented, please take a moment and use our online tool to send in your thoughts of this ridiculous proposal, and read more about our campaign to stop this logging on our website.

Sincerely,

 

Brenna Bell

Staff Attorney

P.S. The comment period for Polallie Cooper has fallen perfectly onto Bark’s annual “Daphne Challenge.” I swear the smell of daphne helped keep me calm reading the Forest Service's assessment of logging the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale. If you have a bush in bloom, bring a cutting into the office and help us welcome in the beginning of Spring!