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forest defense | save the biscuit

Indi Blockade Keeps Biscuit Shut Down

Tue, 03 Aug 2004 22:22:55 -0700

Activists Are Currently Holding Off All Timber Sales
Under the Controversial Project
Today marks the seventh day three young forest defenders have spent in a Curry County, Oregon jail, picked up last week at a blockade of the road to the Indi timber sale in the Biscuit Burn. Meanwhile the Siskiyou National Forest contract to log at Indi remains unsigned by a high-bidding timber speculator with an out-of-county mill that cuts old-growth trees.

Using a well-worn fable, the timber industry and their favorite politicians like to pretend that fire destroys a forest, despite the 10,000 years of evidence to the contrary. It is with the fire excuse in hand that the Bush administration is seeking the largest timber sale in modern history in the wildest intact ecosystem on the US west coast. The so-called Biscuit Fire Recovery Plan in the forest of the Klamath-Siskiyou would log19,000 acres of ancient forest in the name of restoration and destroy another 19,000 in the name of fire prevention. But so far, activists are succeeding in this time-critical campaign to protect the entire Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area and the campaign itself is growing fast.

In every logging unit among the 20 at the Indi timber sale, baby conifers are naturally proliferating, now beginning their third year of fresh green growth. In fact, this North Kalmiopsis forest burned in a classic mosaic throughout the boundary marked areas leaving plant and animal diversity beyond most people's wildest expectations. A couple hours walk reveals dozens of wildflowers, dozens of bird species, a yearling bear. There are five-foot diameter green trees, a seven foot-diameter newly dead snag. The diverse understory survives and spreads throughout the area.

Success is spreading in more ways than just one, as the amount of logging likely at Biscuit shrinks as the weeks go by.

Back last year, out of county timber barons paid an Oregon State University scientist to say that two b-b-billion board-feet of timber could be logged from the 500,000 acre Biscuit Burn. The Forest Service used that report and satellite images to suggest last December that 500 million board-feet should be logged - enough to fill log trucks bumper-to-bumper from Canada to Mexico.

This spring, the Forest Service dropped paint from helicopters to mark units and ignored riparian areas leaving aquatic resource management to the timber industry. Still the agency was only able finally to imagine 370 million board feet of timber in the Biscuit area by the time they issued an official decision in July. Two years of bureaucratic process preceded the first opportunity for environmental challenge, yet the first act by the Forest Service after their official decision was to declare a state of emergency exempting their initial 11 timber sales from normal citizen or environmentalist appeal.

Timber industry data indicates that nearly all but the biggest burned trees are worth little after their third winter of decay. That leaves from now until the autumn snows for the industry to grab trees in many areas and to convert maximum ancient forest acreage to plantation. And that explains government prices so low that a Biscuit sale last week was offered up for destruction and bought by a logging company for $195 per acre of ancient forest reserve, about $75 per logging truckload!

The environmental movement is, of course, legally challenging this project and common sense dictates significant victories. Much of the sale has been forced by the Bush administration into protected inventoried roadless areas. But in the Biscuit, recent Bush moves to rollback roadless protections do not apply. Further, local US Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have both stated clearly that they will work to prevent roadless salvage logging at Biscuit. The forest service hasn't spent much time on the ground in these roadless areas and few inside the timber industry or the agency expect to harvest any timber there.

Another significant chunk of the Biscuit area is in ancient forest or late-successional reserves (LSR.) Despite a loophole in the Northwest Forest Plan, the notion of converting wide swaths of ancient forest reserves to brand-new tree plantations just doesn't pass the bureaucratic laugh test. A federal judge held up proposed large-scale LSR salvage logging recently in the nearby Timbered Rock timber sales, likely anticipating her ultimate decision to prevent logging in these areas.

In addition, rumors abound that an industry-requested review of Northern Spotted Owl recovery by expert scientists will recommend next week, much to the industry's dismay, that all ancient forest in the Northwest must now be protected from logging, salvage or otherwise. There is good reason for feeling confident that a federal legal ruling, at least on appeal will declare roadless and LSR proposed logging at Biscuit illegal.

But that is not all Biscuit logging that is proposed.

Currently, no legal strategy is in place to protect 1000 acres of ancient forest destruction under the administrative designation of "matrix." But even in these areas there are signs of hope.

Four "emergency" matrix timber sales have been put up for auction during the first four weeks since the decision was finalized. Two of these areas, while still remaining on the market have so far received no industry bids at all. On only one sale in the entire Biscuit area has a contract to log been offered. And it is there at the matrix sale known as Indi that a road blockade was set up last week to deter operations.

Indi was bid on by East Fork Lumber in Norway, Oregon with President Bob Sproul of Myrtle Point at the helm. Sproul admits that he risked his entire company in a bidding war to profit at Indi. The auction price went to triple the advertised rate, one of only two sales at Biscuit so far that didn't go for the minimum asking price. Sproul plans to mill half the logs at his own plant and sell the other half to the highest bidder he can find.

On the day last week that Sproul was sent the contract from the Forest Service, he traveled out to Indi, only to discover an elaborate blockade of the single road into most of the sale. Giant slash piles stopped his blue Ram 1500 pickup. But the real blockade came in the form of an elaborate series of rope loops strung across the road and holding up a 75-foot high, occupied platform suspended between two ancient trees. More than one week later, the contract still isn't signed.

The blockade held Sproul's logging equipment out of his reach for three days before a well-studied force of thirteen law enforcement vehicles assembled to reopen the road.

East Fork's equipment was there to log the bizarrely-named "hazard trees." Some 12,000 trees at Biscuit have been declared by the Forest Service to be enemies of roads and are therefore marked for logging before they fall the wrong way. These logged hazard tree areas provide a harsh indication on a very small scale of the results of the greater project being put forward by the government. Hazard tree removal includes logging in riparian areas, creates long-term soil compaction, and destroys naturally regenerating conifers and other plants. There is a further loss of large woody debris, shade cover, moisture retention and all of the other wildlife benefits provided by large snags.

Some areas just outside the Indi units provide further obvious indication of the results of industrial forestry. These areas have been previously ruined by clearcut logging. The plantations in their wake were largely unable to withstand the 2002 fire and now will take many years to again grow trees unless replanted at the expense of taxpayers.

On the ground it is easy to understand viscerally what the two opposing scenarios of natural fire recovery and salvage logging represent. For now, biodiversity is winning out over greed. Hope is overcoming fear.

Four weeks after the Forest Service promised logging pronto, one contract has been offered, none signed and not a tree logged. With your help, a growing campaign can continue to be a winning campaign.

Here's what you can do:

If East Fork Lumber tries to log Indi the protests anticipated could well spell the end for a company put on the brink by a speculating owner. The contract can only be signed between now and August 26.

Please call or fax Bob Sproul and convince him that logging at Indi is the absolute worst business decision he can make. ph. (541) 572-5732 fax (541) 572-2727.

A phone call each from one hundred people can have the power to stop an ancient forest logging contract from being signed. Thank you for your kind-hearted effort for the forest and those that defend it at this important time.


homepage: homepage: http://www.o2collective.org


Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

Wednesday evening, April 14, 2004, the Oxygen Collective held their Fire and Forest Roadshow at Portland State University.
The Oxygen Collective, from Ashland Oregon, are touring the West Coast from San Francisco to Seattle spreading awareness about devastating projects proposed by the Forest Service and the BLM. Specifically, the Bush Administration's proposal to "salvage" the 2002 Biscuit fire, seeking to log 20,000 acres of old growth reserves. This timber sale would be be the largest timber sale in modern history. Quoting from Rolf Skar, who also works with Siskiyou Project. Excerpted from an information page on the Oxygen Collective website:
"How large is this extreme scheme? Hold onto your climbing harness. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) contains proposals for up to 1.02 BILLION board feet of logging across 60,000 acres. That's enough to create a chain of log trucks 2,700 miles long - stretching from Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains to the East Coast. The preferred alternative proposes 518 million board feet of logging including 12,000 acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas."

Fast Facts About the Wild Siskiyou
The Siskiyou Wild Rivers area:
(Taken from the Oxygen Collective's Fire and Forest pamphlet)
* boasts the highest concentration of Wild & Scenic Rivers in the US;
* includes the most botanically diverse National Forests in the US;
* contains the largest collection of unprotected roadless forests on the Pacific coast between Canada and Mexico;
* includes Oregon's most botanically diverse watershed;
* is the heart of the most diverse conifer forest in the world;
* is proposed for protection as a National Conservation Area.
The "Biscuit Fire Recovery Project" would:
* log 20,000 acres of old growth reserves;
* log 12,179 acres of inventoried roadless forest;
* create 50,200 acres of artificial, flammable tree plantations;
* lose $100 million of tax dollars;
* violate the Clean Water Act, and degrade salmon-rich rivers of the Siskiyou;
* hurt natural rejuventaion and spread invasive weeds and diseases;
* harm rare and threatened wildlife;
* increase fire risk for communities.

The following are five audio files of speakers, poets and musicians who appeared at the event. There was much more than this, but this gives an idea of the talent, passion and dedication these folks bring to their audience.
The first is Laurel, who gives an overview of what the collective is doing and why. About 11 1/2 minutes.
Next is Ryan who sings a song about the Buscuit fire and the intentions of the Forest Service to "salvage" the timber. About 3 1//2 minutes.
Next is Becky who sings and plays guitar. About 3 1/2 minutes.
Last Days of Empire
Next is Nathan, a poet. About 2 1/2 minutes.
And last is Peg, singing a song, for about 4 1/2 minutes.

Also, a program on Community Television begins next week highlighting information about the resistance to logging in this area.
T.V. Schedules

Forest Resources:
The Biscuit Fire
Some Website resources:
Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center
RainForest Action Network
National Forest Protection Alliance
Native Forest Council
Biscuit Fire Recovery 2003

sample fax 04.Aug.2004 08:10

forest lover

Bob Sproul fax (541) 572-2727

Dear Mr. Sproul,

Please reconsider signing the contract to log the Indi Sale in the Biscuit Complex that partially burned in the summer fires of 2002. This will not be a profitable sale for your company. Since your company is from out of state, it may be helpful to know that when illegal logging that damages ecosystems is attempted here in the Northwest, it is often met with resistance by some of the many who appreciate nature in Oregon.

This resistance is very costly to the company that buys these illegal sales, and your company will be no exception. People do not take kindly to corporations from out-of-state removing resources and damaging ecosystems in the name of profit. This sale will hurt tourism and recreation dollars coming into Oregon, so many local businesses are also opposed to logging this area that is so near to wild and scenic rivers and one of the few unprotected roadless areas left in Oregon.

The legal system is also not likely to allow this sale to be completed, and based on a recent ruling, where a federal judge has held up proposed large-scale LSR salvage logging in the nearby Timbered Rock timber sales, you can expect similar results when this sale ends up in the courts.

In addition, it is very likely that an industry-requested review of Northern Spotted Owl recovery by expert scientists will recommend next week, that all ancient forest in the Northwest must now be protected from logging, salvage or otherwise. There is good reason for feeling confident that a federal legal ruling, at least on appeal will declare roadless and LSR proposed logging at Biscuit illegal.

As you found out with your recent visit to the Indi sale, even "hazard tree" removal will be opposed, especially when 1200 trees are marked for cutting. The surrounding areas show what the industry does to our native forests here in Oregon. The results of the fires in the Biscuit Burn were obvious: The plantations left in the wake of industrial forestry were largetly unable to withstand the 2002 fires, and now it will take many years to again grow trees unless replanted at the expense of taxpayers, whereas the unlogged areas with old growth and mixed conifer multi-layer canopy stands either did not burn at all, or burned in a natural mosaic pattern.

These mosaic burns should be off-limits to logging, since they are the remaining intact and healthy regenerating ecosystems that the forest relies on for habitat regeneration. You know, habitat. Please understand that out here, many of us prioritize not the trees(translation: timber), but the forests.
In closing, I want to emphasize that for East Fork Lumber, attempting to log Indi could well spell the beginning of extremely severe financial trouble for your struggling company.

~Forest Lover

Indy photo Gallery 04.Aug.2004 08:27

looking past the trees

feature pic 04.Aug.2004 08:29

forest lover

Indi Sale Protesters preventing
Indi Sale Protesters preventing "hazard" tree logging in the Biscuit

Wow 04.Aug.2004 15:26

Donnie from Denver grey@damocles.com

Wow... you guys got it goin on up in Oregon. Nice job on saving the forests, and the songs, and roadblocks, and the web site. I especially liked Ryan's song... but it's all incredible, and I think what your doing and what you say represents the way most of us in America feel these days.

I swear I want to move to Orgeon.

Judge rejects tree selection process at 6 sites 04.Aug.2004 21:51

mike tabor callingzebra3@hotmail.com

"Six Biscuit fire timber sales sites cant be logged untill Forst Service comes up with new way of picking trees to be cut....A federal judge Tuesday blocked logging of six parcels of timber scorched by the 2002 Biscuit fire, agreeing with ENVIORMENTAL GROUPS that federal officials were illigallyallowing loggers to select which trees to cut.....U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan said federal law prohibits anyone with a personal intrest in a timber sale from choosing which trees are logged. He ordered no logging at six timber sales planned in older forest reservs until the new way of selecting trees for harvest >>>>>>see article in Oregonian Metro front page Augest 4 2004 KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

east fork lumber's response 05.Aug.2004 16:22


fyi - following is bob sproul's response to my fax:

East Fork Lumber is a small sawmill in the Coquille valley of Southwestern Oregon. We have 14 full time employees and strive to produce a wide variety of high value wood products. We believe that wood harvesting and local manufacturing of our local natural renewable resources is essential to the economic and social well being of our community.

We are proud to be the purchaser of the Indy Fire Salvage Sale. We will be harvesting only a small portion of the dead standing timber in this area. There are no roads to build and no reserves will be entered. No destruction of native ecosystems will take place and these wildlands will be just as wild when we have completed selectively harvesting some of the dead trees from the indigo prarie area.

Thank you for your concern.

Bob Sproul

What did Bob say? 06.Aug.2004 00:29

mike tabor callingzebra3@hotmail.com

ha ! he said "wood harvesting is essential to the economic and social well being of our community" .....hmmmmmmmmm ?