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The open comment period for the Lava Preliminary Assessment, which overlapped in time with the 2013/2014 holidays, culminated in over 670 responses from the public, almost entirely in opposition to the project. In February Bark filed an objection to the Lava Timber Sale, citing new and developing science, the recommendations being at odds with logging in riparian areas and roadbuilding into Westside forests. See: http://coastrange.org/documents/ACS-Finalreport-35pp-0804.pdf In late April, the Forest Service approved moving ahead with the Lava Timber Sale, with the modification of dropping one huckleberry enhancement unit.
The Lava Timber Sale is located in the Hood River Ranger District directly north of Mt. Hood and the Mt. Hood Wilderness Area, and takes its name from the Lava Beds Geological Site just to the east. The proposal would log a mix of plantations and forest that has regenerated naturally after fire, and would include tree planting in the burn area of the 2011 Dollar Lake Fire. Additionally, Lava proposes units that would drastically thin trees at 5,000 feet elevation on an exposed ridge adjacent to wilderness in order to increase huckleberry production. We previously saw these Huckleberry Enhancement units as part of the Red Hill Timber Sale. After the Forest Service received serious concerns from Bark and members of the Hood River Stewardship Group these Huckleberry Enhancement units were removed from the Red Hill Timber Sale -- only to be reintroduced in Lava. These units were the largest point of contention for Bark due to the potential for blowdown to occur because of thinning to a very low forest density, as well as the location in sensitive high elevation forest adjacent to wilderness.
Lava is one of three newly proposed sales that are situated adjacent to one another, covering a massive stretch across the north of Mt. Hood National Forest. The two other sales are Pollalie-Cooper Round Two and Red Hill. We hope the Forest Service will investigate the cumulative impacts of logging that could total upwards of 6,000 acres.
On the ground, the Lava Timber Sale is marked as:
"Ashes", "Caldera", or "Basalt"
Take I-84 E/U.S. 30 E to exit 64 for Mt Hood Hwy toward OR-35/White Salmon/Govt. Camp. Turn right onto U.S. 30 W/Button Bridge Rd/Mt Hood Hwy (signs for OR-35 S/Govt. Camp. After 13 miles take a right onto OR-281 N/Cooper Spur Rd. toward Parkdale.Turn right onto OR-281 N/Baseline Dr through Parkdale, and then turn right onto Old Parkdale Rd. Take the 1st left onto NF-16 - this takes you into the Lava project area.
Of the proposed temporary roads, 1.0 miles are new temporary roads, 11.2 miles are previous temporary roads that would be reconstructed for this project, and 2.5 miles are on previously decommissioned roads.
The Forest Service plans on decommissioning 2.1 miles of system roads when "implementation funding becomes available."