Old Growth Reserve Logging has begun on Fiddler timber sale unit 11 about 1 3/4 miles above the National Wild & Scenic Illinois River on the road to Babyfoot Lake (also known as the T.J. Howell Memorial Botanical Drive). The old growth forest making up unit 11 was burned by the Forest Service in fire suppression efforts during the Biscuit Fire.
Note - Unit 11 is an 18 acre logging unit, directly adjacent to the 335 contiguous acre Inventoried Roadless Area timber sale the Forest Service has laid out in the Mikes Gulch watershed/South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area and Briggs Late-Successional Reserve.
About 11 people were arrested this morning, in a peaceful blockade of the Babyfoot Lake/Fiddler timber sale road. There is heavy law enforcement presence. In addition, law enforcement drew a big line around the road blockade, called it a crime scene and threatened to arrest anyone, including media, within the line.
TV crews and newspaper reporters are on the scene including the AP, Oregonian, Ashland Daily Tidings and Medford Mail Tribune. A photographer from the NY Times is reported to be on the scene and the Washington Post is also said to be covering the story.
The Fiddler Timber Sale is entirely in the Briggs Late-Successional Reserve. It includes 440 acres of contiguous logging units in the Babyfoot Lake/Onion Camp Fiddler Mountain Area, 170 acres of contiguous logging units in the Days Gulch watershed and scattered units in Fall Creek and Mikes Gulch - all totaling 697 acres - 14.68 million board feet. The Fiddler sale will log on soil-types where Forest Service documentation reveals its taken the agency 20 years to re-establish conifers on previously logged areas, due to the rocky, dry soils.
While the Northwest Forest Plan allows for a "conservative" amount of post-fire logging in Late-Successional Reserves, it must be neutral or beneficial to recovery of old growth habitat. The logging proposed in Biscuit Late-Successional Reserve timber sales is not conservative nor is it restorative. For example, the Forest Service's selected alternative proposes to log approximately 42.5 percent of the pre-fire late-successional (old growth) habitat in the Northwest Forest Plan's Briggs Late-Successional (Old Growth) Reserve. The Briggs LSR makes up much of the watershed of the first 17 miles of the National Wild & Scenic Illinois River.
Barbara Ullian, Conservation Director
Siskiyou Regional Education Project