The trials will take place against the contentious backdrop created by a wave of new reports that fundamentally challenge the science and economics behind the Biscuit logging project, as well as the Forest Service's recent announcement that they are planning to release two new, highly controversial timber sales in as little as ten days time. The release of these remote, Inventoried Roadless Area sales is a direct assault on the Clinton-era Roadless Rule, one of the most widely supported pieces of national environmental policy in decades.
With the addition of the Blackberry sale about to be auctioned, the USFS will be logging more volume out of the Indigo Creek watershed alone than the Probable Sale Quantity (PSQ) of the whole Siskiyou National Forest. The other timber sale, Mike's Gulch, is immediately adjacent to the now clearcut Fiddler sale, just above the federally designated Wild and Scenic Illinois River, the site of the majority of the arrests during last year's demonstrations.
Activists from the woods of Southern Oregon to the halls of Washington DC are gearing up to confront and expose what Governor Kulongoski has called a "violation of the public trust" by the USFS.
A quick review of revelations about Biscuit logging since 3/7/05:
--Rich Fairbanks, former USFS project head of the original "Biscuit Fire Recovery Project", confirms that this project is being orchestrated from above by political operatives in the Bush Administration who are attempting to use this project to undo crucial elements of environmental law with nationwide implications.
--Forest Service admits Silver Creek Lumber illegally logged hundreds of trees from a protected Brewer's Spruce botanical reserve at a time when the public was excluded from exercising oversight of their operations by a federal closure order barring access to large sections of the SNF.
--WWF report says $14 million of taxpayer money has been lost already with the Biscuit logging project, with millions more likely to be lost if future sales are carried out as planned.
--OSU Forestry grad student Daniel Donato's report published in the prestigious journal Science questions the underlying science of the 'fire recovery project' and shows that salvage logging kills seedlings, harms soils and otherwise hurts the natural recovery of the forest.