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In the Summer of 2002, natural forest fires burned in the Siskiyou National Forest in Southern Oregon. The corporate media's panicked reporting made it sound like the world was ending. The truth, however, is that fire has been a normal part of the area for thousands of years, and that the ecosystem's cycles of growth and regeneration are actually fire-dependent.
The Bush administration, however, ignoring both science and common sense, created the "Biscuit Fire Recovery Plan", which -- while disenguously utilizing the language of conservation in its presentation -- threatened to destroy thousands of acres of old growth native habitat. When, in December of 2003, 90% of the 23,000 people who commented on the plan expressed their opposition, the Bush administration declared an "emergency" and removed the ability of citizens to appeal the plan.
The Forest Service claims that half a million acres burned. In actuality, that agency set backburns in a perimeter around the natural fires, and let them join up into one big fire. That perimeter describes an area of half a million acres, but half of that did not burn at all, or burned in a light, healthy underburn, mostly clearing away underbrush. Activists have observed (and even the Forest Service admits) that the burned areas are recovering naturally. Logging them would only disturb this process with long-term deleterious effects to the ecosystem.
The most hotly contested timber sales are those that are categorized as "Late Successional Reserves" (LSRs), a designation from the Clinton-era "Northwest Forest Plan" meant to protect such areas from logging forever. Also in danger are "matrix" sales, which -- though set aside for timber harvest under the same plan -- are also native old growth, and can often be saved from the saw by identifying endangered species, riparian areas, etc.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of cutting in the LSRs begins on March 22. In the meantime, the court system denied citizen requests to forbid logging there in the meantime, so people have turned to direct action. As of mid-March, over 40 arrests have happened during blockades of the road leading to the Fiddler timber sale, on the East side of the Biscuit area, near Selma, Oregon.
Southern Oregon is sparsely populated, and the people there are seeking the help of everyone in Cascadia (and beyond) to help them with their fight.
Organizations fighting the logging:
upcoming events to see video about the issues/action & find out how to help:
- pdx indymedia "Best of" Videos from The Resistance show, 2002-2005
Thursday, March 24, 7pm @ Reed College details
- pdx indymedia Videos from The Resistance, special Biscuit show
Monday, March 27, 7pm @ It's a Beautiful Pizza (SE Belmont btwn 33rd & 34th)