On Three-Year Anniversary of the Biscuit Fire
Forest Service Begins Logging on Wild & Scenic Illinois River
Selma, OR -
Three years after dry lightning strikes started the Biscuit fire in southwestern Oregon's Siskiyou Wild Rivers area, the Siskiyou National Forest has begun logging forests in the Wild & Scenic Illinois River canyon.
"It's disappointing to see that with millions of taxpayer dollars and three years to work with, the Forest Service is still getting it all wrong" said Rolf Skar, campaign director of the Cave Junction based Siskiyou Project. "Instead of working together on real fire safety and creating restoration jobs, we're watching them log along the fish-rich Wild & Scenic Illinois River at heavy taxpayer expense."
The McGuire logging sale is located entirely in an Old-Growth Reserve that was to be shielded from cutting for sensitive species under the Northwest Forest Plan. It also logs the 3,529 acre Six Mile Creek roadless area - an uninventoried roadless forest near the giant Kalmiopsis wildlands.
Ronnie Chittim lives on a small private residence within the Siskiyou National Forest along the Illinois River. "I both live and make my living along this beautiful river" said Chittim. "Tourists come from all over the United States to stay in my cabin and enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty of nature."
"When people ask me where to go on trails around here, I'll have to tell them to walk until they see the stumps and slash piles down the road" continued Chittim. "This logging would trash a historic place, and increase fire risk for people like me. I'm concerned that the scenic part of this river is shrinking because of devastation from logging."
"This harmful logging is not about real jobs, fire safety or the economic future of our community" said Greg Walter, a local historian and tourism advocate. "They may close down one of our most used tourism areas during peak travel season - it makes no sense at all."
Ninety-five percent of the more than 20,000 official public comments on the Biscuit logging project urged the Forest Service to take a conservative approach. The Forest Service has disregarded those comments, favoring to log in sensitive old-growth reserves and roadless forests.
"The McGuire logging sale is a testament to how out of touch the Forest Service leadership is with common sense, our economic future and the values of most Oregonians" said Skar. "I wish we had some progress to celebrate on this anniversary, but the Forest Service has given us nothing but controversial logging and politics as usual."
To learn more or send a free fax to elected officials, go to: www.siskiyou.org