Forest defenders rise-up to protect sacred forest of deceased comrade
The forest defense community, still mourning the loss of their friend known as "Sparrow", announce the occupation of the forest at the Straw Devil Timber Sale in the Willamette National Forest near Oakridge. Two separate tree-sits were erected at the sale in old-growth trees slated to be cut and a road blockade was established.
The occupation began not only to protect the precious and rare ecosystem here, but to call attention to unprotected red tree vole nests and to defend the sacred place that Sparrow now rests in.
Sparrow, who took his own life 2 weeks ago, was a kind, gentle individual who fought hard every day to defend the ancient forests and to foster a deeper relationship with the earth. Sparrow was especially involved in surveying for rare species like the red tree vole. He spent countless hours in the forest climbing trees searching for vole nests in order to protect the interconnected web of life in ancient forest ecosystems.
Following Sparrow's death, his ashes were placed throughout the forests of Straw Devil, one of his favorite places on earth. His community vows that this forest will never be logged. It is now a sacred place.
"Sparrow will always be a part of the forest and will forever be inside each of us, affecting our thoughts and actions. Any attempts to log this forest will be akin to a declaration of war and is an audacious attempt to desecrate the sacredness of this forest," said Karla Wiley, a forest advocate and friend of Sparrow.
The Straw Devil timber sale is one of many egregious ancient forest timber sales slated to be logged this season. Straw Devil encompasses 100 acres of predominantly old-growth forest and contains dozens of red tree voles, a rare species. The Forest Service is required by law to protect the red tree vole under the Northwest Forest Plan, but has blatantly refused to protect 32 nests found here last summer by Sparrow and a citizen's survey team effort.
Straw Devil was purchased by Engel Investors, Inc. of Cottage Grove, a subsidiary of Starfire Lumber. It is unclear who Engel has contracted out with to perform the logging operation, but Roseburg Forest Products/Scott Timber has the contract to log two adjacent sales, Pryor and East Devil/Canyon East, where operations began late last fall.
Cascadia Forest Defenders is a collective of volunteers dedicated to protecting the public lands of the Willamette and Umpqua regions. They were established in 1995 during the successful Warner Creek Blockade. Their current campaigns include a 5-year occupation of the Fall Creek Tree-sit at the Clark Timber Sale and the 4-year occupation of the Winberry timber sale.