Fire

Biggest Timber Sale Ever!

Earlier this month, the Forest Service released their 30-day public comment period for the largest single timber sale we've ever seen in Mt. Hood National Forest. The "Crystal Clear Restoration Project (CCR)" includes 13,271 acres (nearly the size of Manhattan) of commercial logging, much of which is in mature, never-logged forest southeast of the mountain.

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.

Project Status: 
Proposed
General Information
District: 
Barlow Ranger District
Total Acres: 
13,271.0
Watershed: 

The project includes parts of the White River, White Horse Rapids-Deschutes River and Beaver Creek watersheds within the Lower Deschutes River sub-basin.

Habitat & Species
Habitat & Species: 

Northern spotted owl (threatened), Oregon spotted frog (threatened), redband trout, & historically habitat existed for beaver, pine marten, fisher, wolverine.

Prescriptions
Total Acres: 
13,271.0
"Purpose & Need": 

From the project's scoping letter: "The purpose of the Crystal Clear Restoration Project is to provide forest products where there is an opportunity to restore resiliency to forested areas and reduce the risk of uncharacteristic
wildfire behavior."

Bark Comments: 

Despite the stated purpose of this project, Bark has heard this project described by the Forest Service as a "straight-up timber sale", funded by borrowed money from the regional Timber Sale Pipeline Restoration Fund, which they must pay back at a rate of 130%. This is by far the largest timber grab Bark has seen in recent years.

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Ride On

While the Forest Service’s blank check approach to fire suppression is a problem that needs attention and creative solutions; none should include a mandate for increased, expedited logging on public lands.

January Ecology Club: Searching for Bigfoot

This month we will be joined by Joe Beelart, author of the newly released Oregon Bigfoot Highway, a collection of stories of Bigfoot sightings in the Clackamas watershed of Mt. Hood National Forest!

Bark Alert: Spinning Fire

What if I told you the number of acres burning this summer is not actually more than should be expected? What if the Forest Service policy of suppressing all fire ignitions wastes millions of federal dollars? What if the media has it all wrong?

ACTION ALERT: Spotted owl habitat under fire!

Northern spotted owls are in trouble. On one hand, barred owls are displacing spotted owls where logging has degraded their habitat. On the other, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is approving more logging in what little critical habitat they have left—right here in Mt. Hood National Forest!

Are forest fires good for forests?

On my desk at the Bark office is a single Trivial Pursuit card. The Science & Nature question asks: “Are forest fires good for forests? What do you think the answer is?”

If you, like so many millions of Americans, have been brought up with Smokey Bear’s “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” and are accustomed to reading headlines like “Blazing inferno destroys forest”, you may well answer the trivia question “no.”

The Oregonian: Logging and fire suppression follow the same path for forest management

Guest Opinion by Karen Coulter
"Despite the much-touted 'consensus' for more logging, some grass-roots ecological groups are still trying to stop the most ecologically destructive timber sales -- including misguided fuel-reduction projects -- using the legal process."

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Restrictions put in place as fire danger levels rise in national forest

Fire levels for the Clackamas and Zigzag Ranger Districts will change from Low to Moderate.

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