On Monday July 11th, following the 25th annual national gathering of Earth First!, activists stretched an eye-catching banner between two visible tree-sits across Highway 26, outside Government Camp, drawing attention to an adjacent old growth logging project on Mt. Hood National Forest.
"Mt. Hood National Forest continues to log old growth, destroying native biodiversity and threatening our drinking water. We need to re-direct money from the commercial timber sale program to true non-commercial restoration," said Sarah Wald, of Cascadia Rising.
The action took place at the Hilynx Logging Project, a timber sale slated to log 300 year old Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock trees just 10 miles southeast of Government Camp, with several units visible from Highway 26. The Forest Service claims they need to log the area because it is "diseased' with Indian Paint Fungus, even though this so-called "disease" is a natural fungus praised by biologists for creating habitat for an array of old-growth dependent species. The area has a high density of recreation use with many trails, dispersed camping sites, and usage by hunters.
"We need to restore and protect Mt. Hood National Forest. Logging for profit is not true restoration," said local activist Kevin Sloan.
Activists from around the nation attending the Round River Rendezvous joined together to call for an end to the commercial timber sale program in order to protect Oregon's endangered forests, and Mt. Hood National Forest in particular.
"The clearcuts currently happening in Mt. Hood are a terrible reminder of the destruction of endangered old growth habitat in Southern Arizona due to urban sprawl," said Arizona activist Jessica Lee.
Hilyx is one of over forty timber sales threatening Mt. Hood National Forest, many of which propose logging mature and old growth forest. Just recently 68 acres of publicly owned old growth was clear-cut at the Bear Timber Sale, in the southern portion of Mt. Hood National Forest.
"Mt. Hood National Forest provides the drinking water source for one-third of Oregonians. We need to protect our water resources for both drinking and recreation," said local Clackamas River raft guide Jes Karper.
DIRECTIONS: The Intersection of Highway 26 and Highway 43. The location is a little over 10 miles southeast of Government Camp.