FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 30, 2001
http://www.cascadiaforestalliance.orgEagle Creek Activists Block Road to Section of Eagle Timber Sales
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 30, 2001, activists with the Eagle Creek Free State erected a blockade on Forest Service Road 4615 in the Mt. Hood National Forest to prevent logging operations planned to begin on Friday, June 1, 2001.
The action was taken because the Mt. Hood National Forest has decided to allow logging to occur before hearing the results of an independent scientific review which began just days ago. The blockade was timed to allow for the review team to tour the sale area on Tuesday, May 29 but to prevent logging scheduled to begin as early as Friday, June 1, 2001. The activists were content to let the independent scientific review happen and wait for the outcome, but were given no choice by the Forest Service?s rogue actions but to block the road if they were to keep the trees standing for the scientists, and future generations, to see.
The Eagle Creek Free State blockade action today is the work of individuals working autonomously of any organization. The Cascadia Forest Alliance, which has been involved in tree sitting and blocking roads in the sale area for several years, is currently supporting and assisting the activists in their efforts to resist the destruction of the wild forests of the Eagle Creek watershed. At stake is over 500 acres of wild roadless area with a popular hiking trail adjacent to the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness Area, unlogged native forests, and clean water for wild fish and downstream communities.
This blockade marks the fourth consecutive year that activists have blocked roads to the Eagle sale area to prevent logging. Tree sitters have been stationed in one threatened old growth grove for over two straight years, and currently maintain at least three tree sits in a small village. In four years, over 20 people have been arrested while engaging in non-violent civil disobedience to protect Eagle Creek. Last July, the region watched as over 50 armed federal officers spent 12 hours trying to remove last year?s non-violent road blockades, nearly killing a 17 year old woman in the process. The raid resulted in Tre Arrow?s 11 day ledge sit at the Forest Service?s downtown Portland Regional Headquarters. As a result of the attention, even Vice President Al Gore intervened to try and protect Eagle Creek while pledging to protect nation?s ancient forests on one of his last campaign stops in Oregon.
At times, the struggle to protect Eagle Creek has made national attention and has become one of the many poster children in the effort to end commercial logging on public lands. The Forest Service?s timber sale program costs taxpayers roughly $1 billion per year, according to Congress?s General Accounting Office and has pushed numerous species, including wild salmon, to the brink of extinction, while also destroying clean water. The Forest Service has refused to tell the media and the public how much money they have spent to cut the trees at Eagle Creek. In western Oregon and Washington, 90% of the logging done on federal lands is in mature native and old growth forests, while only 10% is logged from existing tree plantations.
Today?s action is in solidarity with other long-running tree sits in old growth forests in Oregon in places such as the Clark and North Winberry timber sales in the Willamette National Forest. All of these sales point to the need to end old growth logging and commercial, industrial logging and resource extraction on our public lands.--end--
People have blocked one of the two main roads into the Eagle timber sales to block the logging scheduled for June 1. If you can take some time to go up and join them, please do so. They need supplies of food (except bread), wool socks, large tarps, and other helpful items you can think of. They have not yet been confronted by the Forest Service but a showdown could occur at any time, especially if loggers show up on Friday June 1, or Monday June 4. People are needed out there to help do ground support and show solidarity. Keep the calls coming in to Senator Wyden (202- 224-5244) and Senator Smith (202-224-3753) and ask them to intervene to get the Forest Service to guarantee no logging while the independent scientific review is taking place, and to cancel the sales outright. In related news, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley has once again (on May 25) written the Forest Service upon learning that they plan to allow logging while the review is going on. She wrote: "I believe that allowing logging to continue while the projects are still under review runs contrary to the fair and open process requested earlier this month. As you well know, these sales have been very controversial, and for the review to have legitimacy among the public the entire process must be carried out in and open and fair matter. I suggest that the contract between the Forest Service and Vanport Manufacturing be modified to suspend any felling while the review team forms its recommdations." If you live in Rep. Hooley's District, please give her a call to say thanks!