WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Forest Service has
canceled the Eagle Timber sale in the
Eagle Creek Wilderness area after an independent review determined the deal required significant modifications to prevent environmental harm, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said Tuesday. The cancelation ends years of conflict with environmentalists over the sale in the Mount Hood National Forest. "From its inception, I believe Eagle Creek salvage sale was not subject to adequate review and the planned logging would result in excessive environmental damage," said Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources' forests subcommittee. "The administration has now made the right decision." In a letter Friday, Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen proposed a "mutual cancellation" of the sales with Boring, Ore.-based Vanport Manufacturing. The agency offered to refund roughly $1.3 million in deposits, interest and other expenses that Vanport incurred. "It's in the best interest of the Forest Service to do that," said Vanport President Adolf Hertrich. "It's in the best interest of the forest." An independent review, commissioned by the government, recently concluded that the sale required alterations to reduce the risk of blowdown -- trees that are meant to be left standing but are felled by winds because they are located near heavily logged areas. Since 1996, the planned logging on the Eagle Creek Wilderness near Estacada, Ore., has been a focal point for environmental protests. Activists worried that logging would threaten a watershed that serves almost 200,000 people in the Portland area, as well as harm rare plants and animals and destroy centuries-old trees. Protesters lived in aerial platforms high in the trees to try to block the logging.
The Cascadia Forest Alliance and Cascadia Forest Defenders, a few of the environmental groups leading the opposition, could not immediately be reached for comment. The sale was among the "salvage rider" sales that were exempted by Congress from environmental laws to facilitate logging at the height of the timber battles of the 1990s. Such sales go through with little public input. Wyden said he would use his Senate subcommittee to make sure people have a voice in the process.
Oregon Natural Resources Council
> (503) 283-6343 ext.221