MISSOULA, MT - June 19, 2002 - Two activists with Wild Rockies Earth First!(WREF!) repelled from the Van Buren St. bridge on ropes anchored to a log truck. The truck was hauling trees cut as part of the Bitterroot salvage scam. Between the two activists a banner declared "Global Capitalism Kills Our Forest" to bring home awareness of the cost of globalization to our local community. About an hour later police removed the two activist. The two are charged with felony criminal endangerment. Four other activists were arrested for stopping the log truck and charged with disorderly conduct and pedestrians in a roadway.
Deforestation worldwide is a result of corporate globalization. The Bitterroot Restoration for-profit deal is yet another sale of our natural resources for corporate gain. The global assault on our environment destroys habitat, ripiarian areas, water quality and soil quality. No place is that more obvious than in the Bitterroot Forest.7
Last Sunday WREF! and other groups went out to the Bitterroot sales with Spike Thompson, interim supervisor of the Bitterroot National Forest. WREF! learned that the Forest Service has made changes in the contracts which directly go against the Record of Decision, the EIS, and the silviculturist's recommendations. These changes have been made under a loophole called 18.1, which allows the Forest Service to make major changes in their mediated plan of actions, without notification of the parties involved in the mediation.
One of the major changes made was that cable logging in Little Bull will now be allowed over sensitive non-winter soil. The primary reason the Forest Service has for the use of the destructive method of cable yarding is that it would not cause soil damage if done over snow. Spike Thompson said that at least ten changes mave been made under this 18.1 process. "The change to summer cable logging has already proven to be detrimental to the soil. Large troughs will cause heavy sedimentation," said Monkey See, one of the activists hanging from the log truck. "Doing this type of logging in the summer goes against everything the USFS has told the public." Monkey See is a former employee of the Forest Service.
Despite WREF!'s best efforts, obvious faults with the timber extraction plan have been ignored by the Forest Service. "We want everyone to know that fires don't kill forests, logging does. This is not restoration but exploitation; it's all in the name of greed," said Jay Buck, a volunteer with WREF! "We will continue to resist until the Forest Service stops using restoration as a cover for commercial logging."
Since the fires of 2000 burned the Bitterroot National Forest, Wild Rockies Earth First! (WREF!) has worked to stop the USFS from the destruction of yet another unique and beautiful part of the Northern Rockies ecosystem. Restoration is the smoke screen the USFS has used to subvert the democratic process of public participation and steal the Bitterroot forests to maximize timber profits. The USFS ignored the community supported Conservation and Local Economy Alternative which would provide local jobs, home protection and true restoration. Instead, the Forest Service mediated a deal in which 60 million board feet of timber are to be removed from 14,000 acres of the Bitterroot National Forest in the largest timber sales in Montana history, all without the right to appeal the sale under the National Environmental Policy Act. This is another example of what WREF! has fought to protect the Northern Rockies ecosystem from for more than 15 years. WREF! is made of volunteers who put their time and bodies on the line to protect the last wild places.
Wild Rockies Earth First!
PO Box 1742
Missoula, MT 59806
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