The U.S. Forest Service has released the Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed 5,200 acre Grasshopper Timber Sale in Mt. Hood National Forest, triggering the start of the 30 day comment public period. The forests that would be affected by this project are bordered to the west by Boulder Lake and to the north by Badger Creek Wilderness. We’re holding a comment-writing workshop to go over the impacts to this area on Sunday. Please join us to…
The Forest Service asserts that the “purpose and need” of this project is to “improve the health and vigor of forested stands”. However, Bark upholds that logging of old growth in high elevation forests is not appropriate to improve their health and vigor. In the Grasshopper project’s Climate Change Report, the Forest Service did not consider the exceptional threat that these high elevation stands are already under given current climate predictions. In addition, the report fails to consider that trees with large diameters trees store disproportionally higher amounts of carbon than young stands do after logging activities.
The Forest Service claims their proposed actions would also help restore the area to historical fire conditions. However, there are already old growth stands in the project area within historical range of variability of fire frequency. The one-size-fits-all approach to logging old growth stands will prevent natural processes from occurring on the landscape and is not a long-term strategy to achieve “forest health”.
Furthermore, the impacts that logging in this area would have on the federally listed, threatened northern spotted owl include completely removing habitat on 44 acres and degrading 1,223 acres of suitable habitat. In addition, a proposed alternative would remove another 267 acres of high elevation old growth moist mixed conifer forest which also provide suitable northern spotted owl habitat. Given these specific conditions Bark will work to fight against any detrimental long-term effects this project will have on old growth habitat in this area. Please join your voice with ours and us submit a public comments by the deadline, March 20th.
For the forest,
Cara Christofferson, Forest Policy Advocacy Coordinator
P.S. We have a few spots left for Sunday’s Bark About hike to Cooper Spur with Thrive Hood River. It is a beautiful time of year to explore this area and as important a time as ever to get involved in the protection of the north slope of Mt. Hood. Hope to see you there!