The PROWL Project is springing into action to bring new energy to forest conservation east of the Cascade crest. "PROWL" is the acronym for a nice long name: Protecting and Restoring Oregon Wild Lands. We are based in Bend and engage in forest watch and public outreach activities to protect the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests. Our goal is to pounce on (and stop!) proposed public lands projects that are likely to degrade native ecosystems and to support ecological restoration.
The PROWL Project was recently initiated in the Bend area to increase the number of people working on forest protection issues. We are engaed in forest watch activities on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests. These areas are currently covered by the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (BMBP), a small but very effective group which has been working to protect eastside forests for the last 11 years. Additionally, BMBP covers legal monitoring for the Malheur and Umatilla national forests, as well as the Prineville BLM district. This is a huge workload, considering that most westside forest groups focus on one national forest...and still never run out of work to do!!
The current forest watch activities of PROWL include keeping up to date on public lands projects, submitting comments during the planning process for proposed projects, and ground truthing out in the forest. We hope to move into initiating or signing on to appeals and litigation when those means are necessary to stop bad projects, which can often involve logging, mining, herbicide and pesticide spraying, predator extermination, and cell phone tower construction. We will also be engaged in public outreach activities in Bend and other places throughout the northwest and working to collaborate with other conservation groups in central and eastern Oregon, as well as folks from the westside. As a group that's just getting started, we are of course needing all kinds of help.