A new tree-sit is being occupied within unit 5d of the Blue River Face Timber Sale in the Mckenzie Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest. Continued implementation of old-growth timber sales by the McKenzie District has demonstrated the district is not interested in halting controversial sales involving the cutting of ancient trees. Why are Cascadians occupying trees within the Blue Rver Face Timber Sale? Here's why:
Since proposed in 1997, Blue River Face has been opposed by environmental groups for several reasons. The area, which is directly uphill from the Blue River, contains massive old-growth Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks, Red Cedar and much more-a complete forest ecosystem including year round streams.
The timber sale logs lands which drain directly into tributaries flowing into the Blue and McKenzie Rivers, the McKenzie being the drinking water source for 250,000 people living in Eugene and Springfield.
The presence of Spotted Owls within the Blue River Face sale was documented by citizen researchers. Two other species of concern were also documented, a rare lichen species, Pseudocephalaria rainerensis as well as active and inactive Oregon Red Tree Vole nest sites. All documentation was turned in at the McKenzie Ranger District in good faith with the expectation the district would mitigate based on the supplied data. The district FAILED to mitigate to standards required by law under Survey and Manage guidelines and chose to stall and wait until S&M was dismantled in order to get around following the rules and protecting these three species. Mitigation was minimal and inadequate.
A federal court ruling on 8-04-2004 "Gifford Pinchot Task Force vs. US Fish and Wildlife" clearly states that critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl must be managed for recovery. Blue River Face is designated critical habitat. The US Forest Service is permitting further cutting within the sale area despite this ruling.
Logging at Blue River Face is being carried out under the guise of research in Adaptive Management Areas. This is unacceptable.
2 areas of trees were cut within the sale during may 2004 and prior to the commencement of felling activies trees hundreds of trees were mysteriously remarked from "leave trees" to "cut trees". Stumps of the remarked trees were disguised and portions with tell-tale orange paint were cut away and removed to remove evidence.
Rosboro Lumber is the contract holder on Blue River Face, Rosboro is also the contract holder on portions of the Robinson-Scott complex of timber sales. Rosboro is a major recipient of federal timber sale contracts and is not processing the logs themselves, rather they are selling the ancient trees for profit to other mills. Capitalizing on the public's ancient forests is unacceptable.
A tree-sit has been erected and is being occupied within unit 5d of the sale. This is intended to send a clear message to the McKenzie Ranger District and Rosboro Lumber that continued cutting of the public's ancient forests will not be tolerated and will continue to be the source of public controversy. Activists will continue to occupy the area until the Forest Service halts logging activities within the area and drops further plans to fell trees within the Blue River Face Timber Sale.
Directions to visit the tree-sit are available in the map rack at Growers Market in Eugene(454 Willamette st., upstairs).