Don't believe the hype -- Wyden's Wilderness Bill will INCREASE logging on Mt. Hood!
Forest Conservation group Bark opposes Senator Wyden's inclusion of a mandated increase in logging in his Mt. Hood Wilderness Proposal, introduced in the US Senate today. The bill mandates a quota for logging on the westside of Mt. Hood National Forest while opening up the east side of Mt. Hood for logging in the name of forest health and fire prevention. Mirroring the Bush Administration's so-called Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the bill allows logging in Mt. Hood's eastside back country, which has been proven to increase the risk of catastrophic fire.
see Today's Oregonian article for background
link to www.oregonlive.com
Wyden's Wilderness Bill Ill Conceived: Includes Loopholes for Destructive Mt. Hood Logging
Bark Opposes Logging Provision in Wilderness Bill
Sandi Scheinberg, Bark, Executive Director: 503-331-0374
PORTLAND, OR, July 22, 2004 —Forest Conservation group Bark opposes Senator Wyden's inclusion of a mandated increase in logging in his Mt. Hood Wilderness Proposal, introduced in the US Senate today. The bill mandates a quota for logging on the westside of Mt. Hood National Forest while opening up the east side of Mt. Hood for logging in the name of forest health and fire prevention. Mirroring the Bush Administration's so-called Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the bill allows logging in Mt. Hood's eastside back country, which has been proven to increase the risk of catastrophic fire.
"If Wyden wants more wilderness, he should pass a wilderness bill, not a logging bill. We support additional protection for Mt. hood, but this legislation is ill-conceived. It includes loopholes for destructive logging that simply do not belong in a wilderness bill," said Sandi Scheinberg, Bark's executive director.
In particular, Bark is concerned about Section 804 that increases logging on the eastside of Mt. Hood. This provision repeats the language of the Bush Administration's pro-logging Healthy Forest Restoration Act to create open season on the heavily utilized East side of Mt. Hood National Forest near Government Camp, Cooper Spur, Hood River, and the Columbia River Gorge. While the bill directs logging to stands that have been previously logged before, the term "previously managed" is wide open to interpretation, and the bill could result in the logging of hundred-year-old native forests that have one or two stumps in them.
"This bill gives too much discretion to the Forest Service, which has a track record of logging forests into ecological collapse. We urge Wyden's office to work with other members of Congress to explore legitimate opportunities for forest restoration in a separate bill," said Scheinberg. This discretion could harm rare and endangered species such as the northern spotted owl, which are increasingly relying upon mature second growth stands for survival.
Senator Wyden's bill provides an increase of $3 million in timber industry subsidies for logging Mt. Hood National Forest, which was determined to be the fourth biggest money losing forest in the nation when figures were last available (according to 2001 report by Taxpayers for Common Sense, www.taxpayer.net.)
"If Senator Wyden really wants to preserve Mt. Hood's wildlands, then he'll create a stand-alone wilderness bill. If he wants true restoration, then he'll call for an end to destructive commercial logging on the remaining areas of Mt. Hood National Forest in a separate bill," said Bark Forest Defense Intern, Sarah Wald.
Bark is a non-profit grassroots conservation group working to preserve the forests, waters and wildlife of Mt. Hood National Forest. Currently there are 50 timber sales in the vicinity of Mt. Hood National Forest, most of which include old growth logging and clearcutting. Bark monitors and tracks all timber sales and commercial projects to ensure the Forest Service and BLM abide by environmental laws, and manage the forest in the interest of the public. In addition to challenging destructive commercial activities, Bark educates the public and engages them in public oversight of local forests through its monthly hikes, Adopt-A-Timber Sale program, and an award-winning cable access TV show, "Bark for Mt. Hood."
Executive Director, Bark
PO Box 12065
Portland, OR 97212
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