portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

environment | forest defense | sustainability

a visit to the logged Bear II forest

i visited the Bear II timber sale in early autumn, so when i heard that it had been felled, i decided that i needed to see how much was left. here are my observations:
unit 10...not much of a canopy
unit 10...not much of a canopy
unit 10...waiting to be dragged out
unit 10...waiting to be dragged out
unit 8...a big one cuts through the forest
unit 8...a big one cuts through the forest
several days ago i traveled to witness the further disruption of a part of cascadia currently known as the mt hood national forest; specifically the Bear II timber sale. i should note that i do not support any commercial harvesting of timber on "public" lands except in the case of overgrown plantations with poor diversity. when i first visited some of the units of Bear II in autumn, i was surprised how the USFS had left the thin slices of native and old-growth forests among devastating clearcuts. like most logged landscapes, it seemed ridiculous. however, once i had entered the remaining stands, i could see the unravaged diversity and was relieved that there were still native forests left. they are so important. the air temperature, the groundcover, the canopy, and the energy was obviously in sync. having previously focused my actions on preserving roadless forests, i left with a broadened perspective that now includes all remaining native forests, roadless and old-growth or not. i have walked through many logging projects, but had never been able to get into one before it was yarded. upon driving up to unit 10, which lives next to a nasty clearcut, i did not know what to expect. initially i was relieved to find that it was not completely obliterated. i credit the USFS with nothing but poor vision, however some of the remaining wildlife trees were indeed saved. however the shielding canopy that protected the forest below is gone, and the air temperature was high (so much for fire prevention!) those lonely, big wildlife trees will not fare well in some of cascadia's winds without the protection of the rest of the stand. i had some difficulty navigating the forest, as felled trees lay this way and that. it was strange to see them on the ground and it took a while for the damage to set in. i realized that the green visible everywhere was a false screen created by mounds of limbs and needles from the fallen trees; it would all be gone once it was yarded. moving through the forest i began taking stock of not only what was on the ground, but what was left. a forest remains, but it is badly damaged, and once yarding is completed, the ground will be mostly torn dirt. there are smaller diameter trees left as well, but like most logging projects it was designed to make them grow fast - not to leave a healthy intact ecosystem. i observed no wildlife. unit 8 was a somewhat different experience for me. because it is more akin to an old-growth forest than unit 10, the landscape was notably different prior to logging anyway. it is filled with large rhododendrons and great diversity of interesting flora. i was struck at first how many small-diameter trees were standing, and at first, felt that perhaps it had not been cut yet. as i traveled further away from the road, i began to find very large trees that had been brought to the ground; mostly the oldest ones. i began walking the length of the giants, and was struck by how far they extended through the forest. i could only imagine what was crushed beneath them. thinking that i could perhaps find a destroyed nest or killed rare beast, a smokin'-gun of sorts, i tried to examine the top of an old-growth douglas fir. once i reached the area where the top had come to rest, i realized the futility of this action. the destruction was incredible; huge branches and the smashed ground cover where entangled, blocking my path. this impressed upon me the most how much of a tree is NOT used after it is harvested. further inspection of the forest revealed more of the same. sometimes i would find a bunch of trees whose falls had stacked them, and other places i would find only the biggest tree in the area felled. the section of the forest i walked through had a generation of trees dropped from the sky - a very important strand in the ecological web. due to time constraints, i was unable to enter other units and make critical observations. overall, it was difficult to compare the impact of this harvesting operation to others i have seen because so much damage is left to be done. one thing is certain, this forest's natural development has been altered, and not for the better. i hope that we stop this from continuing to happen. please do more.
A Few Comments Upon Hoof's Observations 07.Jul.2005 00:53


I have no doubt that Hoof's heart is in a good place. However, having been
involved in Native Forest preservation activities of various and sundry
sorts for over a decade I was disappointed to see the use (very common amongst mainstream enviros) of Timberbeast terninology. You do not "harvest"
but what you plant and nothing Hoof writes about was planted by any of
our august species, the naked ape who is, as Capt. Watson says, "a legend in
his own mind". The word "timber" is another loaded item. It connotes the
expectation that the forest being referred to via this Timberbeast term
was put there for one reason and one reason only, i.e., for some stinking,
puking redneck to kill it with his chainsaw and alter the angle of its
repose by 90 degrees, from sky scraping vertical to ground crushing horizontal. And I just have to say that Hoof's assertion that any actual
forest remained where this butchery was accomplished is just not true.
What remains in the post Native Forest Destruction situation he describes
is no longer a forest but a collection of tree that are doomed to blow-down
and disease. The bastards might as well have done the honest thing and
taken them all to their stinking mills. What Mr. Hoof omits to mention
is that much of the Cascadian Forest exists underground in an amazing mass
of intertwined root structure which interfaces in ways still not understood
with what may be largest single organism on the planet, the Mychorizzhal
fungi. We do know that the Mcychorizzal fungi live in symbiosis with
the trees in a nutrient exchange deal that makes each essential to others
health and well-being. But the fungi die when the forest soil is exposed
to direct sunlight. Hard to hold up your end of a symbiotic relationship
when you're dead. So too, The Forest, after yet another round of redneck
slaughter, the acreage described by Hoof can now be added to the 96% plus
of American Native Forest that is gone forever and the 85-90% of publically-owned Cascadian Forest that is likewise destroyed. And, of course, the profound irony is that these fools are destroying the web of life that supports all of us. Too bad they can't all be shipped off to their very own
Planet Redneck. It would be fun to watch the remote video as they do themselves in. But, as Pig Bush himself said in his first "Inaugural Address", "sometimes it seems we just co-inhabit this country". So too
the planet. Too bad for those who say they oppose the destruction of their
one and only true home but will not do what is necessary to stop the insanity.

misunderstood... 08.Jul.2005 12:56

hoof, that's ms. hoof...or is it?

my apologies for not conveying my message clearly...different semantics clearly provoke different feelings. NO logged forest is ever the same (well, within our timeline anyway), however i will not harsh on the rape victim after she is raped. i still value the forest, even after the timberbeast has its way with her. i make no claims that logging is good - it is NOT and i too have been involved with forest defense for over a decade. believe me, we are on the same page. i do not see the forest as mere trees, it is collection of life intertwined.