In the summer of 2012, there were 6 timber sales in the Clackamas River Ranger District that total 10,000 acres and span the last 6 years worth of Forest Service planning. Of those 10,000 acres, much of that acreage had not been logged due to the low price of timber in recent years. What we are concerned about is that any season the price of doug fir could increase due to demand in China and trigger the cutting of these postponed sales. Bark is concerned that this economic change may result in all remaining 7,500 acres being logged in one season causing major harm to the Clackamas River Watershed.
This massive amount of logging will have enormous cumulative effects un-anticipated by the environmental assessments performed for these sales over 6 years ago. This concern is especially relevant since in 2011-2012 the Collawash Watershed (a sub-watershed of the Clackamas) experienced seven incidents of road failure. Much of this watershed contains the last stocks of rare salmon and trout.
Of additional concern is the perpetuation of timber sale planning in this watershed despite this back-log of 7,500 acres of sales waiting to be cut. The proposed Jazz Timber Sale would add 2,000 acres to this total and would re-open 12 miles of previously decommissioned roads in this sensitive watershed.
With more than 10,000 acres of planned and active logging in the Clackamas River Ranger District — home of sensitive watersheds and a vast network of crumbling roads — we are gearing up for a season of heavy logging and irreversible watershed impacts. What makes this situation yet more difficult to bear is the fact that the Forest Service considers this logging to be designed to improve forest health through thinning. By framing this massive logging program in terms of restoration the Forest Service avoids public scrutiny for over-logging our public lands. But in reality, 10,000 acres of logging in one district that impacts important watersheds is just that — over-logging.