UPDATE ON BEAR TIMBER SALE CAMPOUT
Info on what to expect, the environment, gear list, and more. This is for people interested in organizing in the Portland area.
1. What is a forest defense campout?
2. What does this mean for what the weekend will look like?
3. The environment you'll be inhabiting
4. Weather/ What to bring
5. Gear List
6. Child care/ pets
7. What you can expect us to provide
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-493-7495 for more information. Thank you to the Cascadia Rising Eco-defense Network for supporting our logistical needs.
What to Expect:
1. What the heck is a forest defense campout?
What the heck do you mean when you say forest defense?
This campout is billed as a "forest defense campout". What that means is that we are organizing it to support forest defense in the best way we know how.
We are both fond of direct action as a way to bring issues to the public's attention. Society as it exists takes apart too many ecosystems for our taste. We don't like the things that this is generally agreed to cause - species extinction, global warming. We like even less that this is framed as being an unfortunate but unstoppable result of people having anything from jobs to basic physical comfort.
The art of direct action is the art of doing things in a way that people don't expect. When people come to expect things, they can become numb to them. Direct action doesn't mean breaking the law, although some actions do risk arrest. It means doing things so that people experience the news of them with heightened interest and attention. They pay greater attention than they otherwise might to the view of the world that we're acting out. This makes changes more likely to happen in the area the action is focused on.
Direct action is not the only way to help create change. It is also true that most of the movements that have resulted in changes in the relations between genders, races, sexes, and ecosystems have used it. Most people in relationships have used it as well - that moment where you do something that finally puts the other person's attention on what you've been trying to tell them for weeks, months, or years. And maybe you break up, or maybe you don't end up agreeing, but maybe you find that you get more than you wanted, because now you've got the other person looking out for ways of making your desires come true as well. And in any case, you just know that you couldn't have let things go on the way they were.
We feel that way about what is going on with the forests. We hope you do as well.
We also remember that we didn't do what we've done alone. We had support; people sharing knowledge, connections, efforts, and skills. We would like other people to have what we had, and more. We would like to do something out of the ordinary together and see what happens.
2. So what will this look like? And why?
The reason why we're doing this weekend the way we are is because we don't know of any direct action forest defense going on out of Portland that is dedicated to the areas around, and issues local to Portland. The Cascadia Forest Alliance, that saved Eagle Creek, died by consensus of all the people who had been maintaining the office about five months ago. Since then, we haven't heard of anything else going on.
(Which doesn't mean it's not happening - just, not that we're aware of.)
So - this isn't like a camp where we come in and teach you all the skills you need to do this one kick-ass action, or go up in our treesit. It's more like - if you're going to stay in Portland for a while, and want to be a part of something happening, come on over!
Which looks like what again?
This weekend will have some sections that are very facilitated. This is so that we can move through a lot of different info and activities with hopefully a little something for everyone's learning style. Some of it will be us teaching you what we know, and some of it will be us encouraging you to share ideas, ask questions, or brainstorm possibilities. We're still working out the exact schedule of it.
The first part of what we want to do is to give you a sense of what's possible in forest defense and direct action. We'll do some talking on this, and we'll make room for anyone else who wants to contribute.
We'd like to help people really connect to the forest and to what's going on with it. We'll probably have stretches of time with and without talking, in various parts of the landscape.
We'd like to help you get to know one another, in such a way that no one feels obligated to do anything but has space to tell stories, share ideas, play music, or anything else that comes.
We'd like to help each of you figure out where you want to go from here. We have our own ideas, and multiple connections to people who have different ideas than we do.
Finally, if you come out of the woods feeling like you're waking up from a dream that you could change the world and realizing that it wasn't just a dream... .if you're excited about the people you met or about bringing what you learned to your friends... and if years later you still think of the wind on your face and the way the trees sounded, felt, smelled... ... well, mission accomplished. Especially if you remember these things on the day when logging ends as we know it... when loggers voluntarily get other work that they love but get to keep their skills, their dignity, and their communities... .when we no longer are faced with a choice between forest products or more forest products... and when you know that the forests are honored for what they bring so much that someone would as soon mess with their own grandma as mess with the woods... ... and you know you helped it happen.
3. The environment:
First and foremost, the place used to be a part of the web of life that sustained a vibrant culture of people. We invite all readers to take a moment of silence to honor those cultures that have been killed, and to ask to be shown how to contribute to a world where regeneration of the communities that still exist can happen with ease.
The campsite will be somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 feet in elevation, in the place where the wet temperate rainforest begins to shift to a drier, coniferous forest. Douglas firs are still the most common big trees, but the forest floor feels crunchy and springy, instead of moist and springy, and its usual color is amber instead of green.
Being in ancient forest, at these elevations, is more about a history and feel than about the size of the trees. What might be a 100-year teenager at sea level may here be a 350-year elder. Soils are sparser than they are in the river bottoms. When a forest lies high on a slope or ridge, the only place for its nutrients to go is down, unless animals carry it upwards, or an unbroken web of life holds the food of life in place.
The area around where we'll be was logged by more people than have studied it, and studied mostly by an agency conceived to support and regulate logging. In the hundreds of pages of Forest Service documents I've read about this, the Upper Clackamas Watershed, there are bare sentences talking about what the land used to be, before the clearcuts. Apparently fires used to leave a mosiac of burn patterns upon the forest. Rarely, there might be one severe enough to kill off the majority of the tree-tops. Otherwise, fires tended to lick away the smaller trees and brush, in ragged patterns on the land, and leave the larger trees standing where they passed. There were many places where, for decades or centuries, none passed.
There were also "unknown" numbers of animals of "unknown" species. There were salmon, but the Forest Service can't say how many, in streams, of "unknown" flow strength and purity. People lived there using customs and ways whose descriptions aren't found in the documents used to justify logging. And the soils? Even where studied, by the Forest Service, their ecology and composition are often "unknown" past the level of how prone to landslide or erosion they are, or how compacted they might be.
Perhaps all this missing information exists somewhere, but not knowing where, I have to tell you that I don't know any more than the Forest Service does. Except - we think differently - based on the amount of unknown, the decision of the Forest Service says: "Log. No significant impact predicted," and I say that I want them to tell me what "significant" means, those people whose documents tell me so much less than I want to know about the past. Do they, then, know more than they are telling me, to be able to say that they know the effects of their own actions? If they are not, then I am equally miscontent, for I have seen little to spark my confidence in them. Only admission after admission of ignorance, followed by decisions to proceed despite all ignorance, trust them.
But don't trust me. Sit down with me, some time. I'll show you.
In the place where we'll likely be camping, the land is in fragments, carved up into shards of its former self. The areas designated to be logged are surrounded by clearcuts. Many of them bear some trace of having been altered with heavy machinery. Their borders are littered with blowdowns: trees allowed to remained standing as the world in front of them fell, but couldn't stand on their own before the new forces of wind and change. This is true not only for the 99 acres of Bear, but for uncounted other timber sales across the Northwest. Islands of older trees are being sold under the excuse that they are now too small to be of value.
My question is why the same is not said of children, or seeds.
The trees themselves are said to be "dying and decadent". So are many people's grandparents, and yet they aren't rendered for raw material.
In the area of Bear that the campout is intended to be in, a 10ish acre island of Douglas-firs, Hemlocks, Firs, and the occasional Sugar-pine, shelter an island of a certain kind of life that, once logged or plowed, disappears.
Around is a jigsaw puzzle of clearcuts of various sizes, ages. Inside is a dry amber-brown-green sea change. The currents in the air are gentle, of different speeds, moistures, temperatures. Outside, the wind is a varying blanket of sameness. Inside, I once saw a small forest of peculiar plants. From the fuzzy 2-foot tall porcelain brown spire of each sprang a many rose-colored balls. I also saw innumerable lichens. I looked for, but couldn't find, the spotted-owl nest site that supposedly exists 1/4 mile from the logging zone. I found candy-cane striped plants that eat no sun, but feed off of the roots of other plants. I saw pipsissewa, fungi, liverworts, bunchberries. I felt the coolness as I stepped under the canopy. I felt the living cushion of the ground. I heard the branches sigh.
But don't take my word for it: come, and find out for yourselves.
4. What to bring/ Weather:
The area we'll be camping in is a different part of the world. When the city is hot, the higher forests might be - or might not. It is possible for people to get fatally cold when the temperature is in the low fifties. That's never happened with anyone on any of the campouts I've been on, even though people had fewer clothes than they might have liked and of the wrong sort. What did happen is that people were cranky and less comfortable being where they were. Attention spans wandered and people snapped at each other.
I'd like this gathering to be one where people are happy on a basic, bodily level. Plus, we're going to be camping within 1/4 mile of the road, and don't have to bring everything from the cars, just have it with. Therefore:
5. The Everybody-Happy Summer Gear list:
Clothes: Polypro, wool, fleece, or silk are at all times preferred to cotton.
Long underwear, top and bottom
2 pr. socks, wool preferred
2 Sweaters (one that can fit over the other)
Sunglasses or hat with brim
Boots with ankle support and/OR dirt-friendly shoes that will help your feet stay warm
Menstrual supplies (if you need 'em)
Medical supplies (if you need 'em) (Please let organizers know about any life-threatening allergies/conditions. All information to be held in confidentiality.)
Extra contacts & supplies (if you have 'em)
Containers able to hold 2 quarts of water
Small flashlight or headlamp
Toilet paper (or a willingness to use leaves etc.)
Foam pad or series of pillows to sleep on (sleeping bags are not designed to be used without these - huge warmth difference between with and without)
Sleeping bag OR several comforters and blankets
Tarp or tent
Rope or cord
Notebook and writing utensils
Trash bags, smaller plastic bags (for waterproof storage of everything)
Shorts, guidebooks, brush etc., underwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, biodegradable soap, towel, maps of the area, compass, inspirational materials, sandals, songbooks, musical instruments.
6. Children: We may be able to arrange childcare. Please contact us at email@example.com, if you would be interested in providing or receiving.
We request that you not bring: Pets, arrestable drugs, alcohol, condemnation of one another's beings or choices.
We encourage you to bring food that you won't need to cook. We'll attempt to provide some, but can't guarantee.
7. We will provide:
Car pool coordination
Answers to your questions of where to excrete and how
Any extra gear we can rustle up
A coffee/tea cooking setup
At least 10 gallons of drinkable water - and we welcome you to bring more
A facilitated schedule
Time where you can ask questions, give feedback
We look forward to meeting you!
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