A 2004 Bush administration rule that removed protections for rare plants and animals was determined illegal by Judge Pechman of the U.S. District Court. Summit CE is one of the logging projects that may be illegally moving forward without providing protections for rare species required by the court ruling. Bark appealed this project on 1/19/2006. This project is another example of the Forest Service ‘s abuse of the Categorical Exclusion loophole. The Forest Service claims to thin these stands in order to prevent Mountain pine beetle infestation. Sadly, this area is Critical Habitat Unit OR-11–dispersal habitat for the Northern spotted owl.
The Forest Service plans to thin 70 acres of forest to enhance growth and light penetration through the canopy. Field surveys of these stands indicate that they are already significantly open, with a variety of plants growing in the understory.