Deep in the wild and remote Siskiyous mountains, more than a dozen forest defenders set up a road blockade this morning in the active Bear Pen timber sale west of Glendale. Three people locked down in the early hours and they continue to hold the blockade this afternoon. Several loggers and trucks immediately turned around when they met the first slash pile and saw more obstruction further down the road.
Activists were confronted by the security guard and two loggers. Although the guard was irate, the two loggers were respectful of and interested in the demonstration. The loggers said that they live 3 hours from the logging operation and expressed frustration over the long drive for work. When asked why they did not stay closer to home and perform light-touch forest work rather than penetrate deep into the wildlands far from communities, the loggers said that the forests on the Coast Range have already been decimated, denying them further work.
The Bear Pen and King Wolf timber sales are both currently active in the Glendale Resource Area of the Medford BLM. Swanson-Superior holds the contracts to both of these public land sales. The Cow Creek watershed is thrashed from years of industrial extraction. The coho salmon and steelhead bearing streams are being radically altered by the intense sedimentation and erosion that result from industrial logging.
Keep your eyes and ears open for updates. Any arrests from this action would be sent to Roseburg. The sale is just barely in Douglas County.
Press release and photo to follow.
For Immediate Release 10/17/03
Medford BLM Old -Growth Timber Sale Blocked By Forest Defenders
For more information please contact:
Joseph Flaherty, SOU Student Media Collective (541) 552-8764
Jason Medema, National Forest Protection Alliance (202) 413-8510
Since the early morning hours of Friday the 17th of October, citizens opposed to the Bear Pen old-growth timber sale have put their bodies in the way of the logging. Mazama Forest Defense and the National Forest Protection Alliance participated in the protest.
Bear Pen is a Medford BLM timber sale that seeks to convert fire-resistant old-growth forests into fiber plantations for the benefit of the timber industry. Bear Pen would log over 200 acres of ancient forests that currently provide critical habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl.
"The Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion is a biological hotspot of global significance," said Jason Medema of the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA). "The Medford BLM owns 800,000 acres smack in the middle of this landscape, and their abusive logging program has destroyed our watersheds for far too long."
Earlier this year, NFPA and Greenpeace released a report naming the Medford BLM as the most endangered federal forest outside of the national forest system, because of its aggressive old-growth logging program.
Bear Pen is only one of a series of old-growth timber sales that Medford BLM has planned for remote areas of the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains. Citizens have
vowed to continue to resist these sales until the last remaining wild places are protected forever.