Forest Watch

Forest Watch, Bark's forest defense program, tracks proposed timber sales, energy transmission corridors, grazing allotments, road building, destructive recreation, and other ecologically harmful activities in Mt. Hood National Forest.

By investigating conditions in the forest and providing the scientific and legal documentation to oppose destructive activities, the volunteer-led Forest Watch program, with the financial support of thousands of concerned members of the public, has protected thousands of acres of the forest from destruction. Forest Watch works to combine the information documented through on-the-ground fieldwork (called groundtruthing and post-logging monitoring) with processes for public input as required by law. Bark provides the tools and resources to support community members who want to submit their concerns and recommendations to the Forest Service, helping push the agency to better address social and environmental concerns. 

Fieldwork with Bark starts with a groundtruthing training. Bark hosts groundtruthing trainings throughout the year in our Rad·i·cle Program and as a stand-alone training. Trainings usually occur in the spring and in the summer.

Groundtruthing

Bark’s network of volunteer groundtruthers help us monitor every logging project in Mt. Hood National Forest and surrounding public lands. Groundtruthing involves exploring and documenting an area proposed for a timber sale (or other project type) by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. The information that is collected enables Bark and the public to assess how accurately the agency’s project documents describe the forest and the impacts. By providing more transparent and accessible information, Bark supports the public to understand and engage in decisions about public lands management. Groundtruthers can and have found discrepancies in agency information and located rare or threatened plants and animal species leading to the cancellation of some or all of the proposed logging.

Post-logging Monitoring

Logging operations have immense impacts on the water and soil quality, even beyond the logged area. To mitigate these impacts, the Forest Service uses protocol known as Best Management Practices (BMPs) or Project Design Criteria (PDCs) which should be implemented during logging operations. In Bark’s post-logging monitoring program, Bark volunteers visit timber sales during and after logging to evaluate whether the logging companies are practicing these federal? criteria and whether the PDC’s effectively or sufficiently mitigate the logging impacts. Bark volunteers have consistently recorded data that show PDCs are often neither implemented nor effective in mitigating logging’s impact to the forest.

Base Camp

Base Camp is a volunteer campout in Mt. Hood National Forest to bring our community together in the forest and increase our access and capacity for monitoring logging projects. Base Camp also includes a program of invited speakers and presenters who share their work so that as we spend time together in the forest, we can connect to other issues as well.

Hundreds of Bark volunteers have helped us save 15,000+ acres of Mt. Hood’s forest from logging.

Want to get involved?