Logging began wednesday in Unit 7 of the Blodgett Timber Sale in Umpqua National Forest. The Logging was prevented for one day by Forest Defenders, but began again yesterday after a blockade was removed by the Forest Service. This area consists of gorgeous rocky meadows as well as madrones, hemlocks, sugar pines, doug firs, yew trees, and more. It is also home to numerous wildlife including at least one cougar.
The rights to log this area were given to Roseburg Forest products / Scott Timber as replacement volume under the controversial Salvage rider program. Both companies are owned by Allyn Ford of Roseburg, OR. Mr.Ford is also the Chairman and 3rd largest shareholder in Umpqua Bank behind the Herbert Family and Richard Williams; all of which are huge player in the logging industry.
Although Roseburg Forest Products released paperwork stating that they would not begin logging the sale until 2004, they recently lost a major lawsuit to the Oregon Natural Resources Council potentially costing them several lucrative old growth sales. Afraid that this suit could affect other old growth sales, they are quickly felling as many trees as possible before the season ends.
The weather of Blodgett has been stormy, but logging continues despite warnings by the Forest Service against the practice of logging in wet weather. Logging in wet conditions is not only dangerous to the loggers due to slippery conditions and unpredictable winds, it is also more harmful to the surrounding environment. Soil is softer and plants more fragil when they are wet, and damage to the humus soil of Pacific Rainforests can last for decades.
Cottage Grove citizens are becoming incresingly concerned about the logging of Blodgett, since streams running through the area are part of their watershed. Silt and oil from saws flows quickly into the drinking water of nearby towns, and into larger rivers and streams that endanger many species of river dwellers. The endangered native salmon are especially in danger from silt contamination in streams. Their eggs can be destroyed by even the smallest amount of silt entering their habitat.
Blodgett is part of the Brice Creek watershed. The Brice Creek watershed is the key recreation area for the Cottage Grove Ranger District. Recreational use currently exceeds the capacity of trails and facilities in the watershed, and is expected to increase significantly in the future. 85% of recreational use occurs outside of developed recreation sites. There are more than 200 miles of logging roads and only 28 miles of trail in the watershed, and more than 13,000 acres of the watershed have already been clearcut. Scientists recommend that the Forest Service log less than 3.4 million board feet a year from the Brice Creek watershed. The Wyatt, Blodgett and Northnoon timber sales would log 9 million board feet of timber from the watershed. This is almost 3 times the amount recommended by the forest service!
Roseburg has claimed they will log units 7, 11 and 10 before breaking for the season. This beautiful stretch of forest could be lost forever in weeks or even days. The forest defenders are working to bring logging to a halt, but they need your help! They can use people, supporting letters to forestry/roseburg lumber officials, gear and supplies, and good vibes their way.
To get to help out, or to provide other forms of support, contact the Cascadia Forest Defenders at: