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Crystal Clear is a 13,271 acre timber sale proposed in the White River watershed in Mt. Hood National Forest just north of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs boundary. This area is home to spectacular winter and summer recreation opportunities accessible along Highway 26, and also plays the significant role of sequestering and storing carbon, which is critical to mitigating the projected effects of climate change.
The Forest Service is fast-tracking Mt. Hood’s largest timber sale in recent history, which would include logging native and mature forest which is entirely in Critical Habitat for threatened northern spotted owls. The agency will surely not be making steps towards gaining the public’s trust if they move forward with this project on an expedited timeline.
The White River Watershed contains approximately 555 miles of roads, making it high priority for reducing road density within habitat for sensitive species impacted by vehicular traffic and road-related erosion.
The Crystal Clear project area also includes the McCubbins Gulch OHV riding area, one of three designated Off Highway Vehicle riding areas in Mt. Hood National Forest.
In 2014, wolf tracks were confirmed by wildlife agencies in the White River area of Mt. Hood National Forest, and within the Crystal Clear project area. The two-year old male wolf that made its way to our forests this year is collared OR-25 from the Imnaha Pack in eastern Oregon. Its arrival brings up questions about whether there is suitable habitat to sustain a wolf population on Mt. Hood. With more than 3,000 miles of roads and logging occurring in thousands of acres of our wild lands every year, we need a paradigm shift to keep wolves around.
Bark believes that instead of pursuing activities which degrade native forest, the agency should prioritize decommissioning roads which are currently damaging to the ecosystem, restoring wildlife such as beavers which can bring further recovery of the watershed, and promoting the natural and invigorating role of fire on the Eastside of Mt. Hood.