Bush Administration Breaks Promise, Puts Roadless Forests on Chopping Block
Grants Pass, OR
The Bush administration announced plans today to auction the controversial Mike's Gulch logging sale in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest. Logging could start within days after the auction, now scheduled for 10:00 AM in Medford, Oregon on Friday, June 9th.
The Mike's Gulch timber sale would be the first wholesale logging of roadless forests in the country since 2001 when the national Roadless Rule was approved. The Bush administration, in a move to gut the Roadless Rule, has asked state governors to complete complicated petition processes to request protection for roadless forests in their states - a process Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski is currently undertaking. Despite a promise to provide "interim protections" to roadless forests while petitions are being completed, the Bush administration is moving ahead with roadless forest logging in Oregon.
"This is the wrong kind of logging in the wrong place and the wrong time" said Rolf Skar, Siskiyou Project campaign director. "Science shows this logging will destroy natural regeneration, increase fire risk and degrade the health of our watersheds."
The Mike's Gulch logging sale targets Oregon's largest Inventoried Roadless Area: the 105,000-acre South Kalmiopsis. Feeding the salmon-rich Wild & Scenic Illinois River, the South Kalmiopsis also boasts some of the highest botanical diversity in western North America.
"Roadless forests are the crown jewels of our national forests" said Skar. "The South Kalmiopsis is a jewel among jewels. We simply cannot allow the Bush administration to sacrifice it to the saw."
The Mike's Gulch logging sale is part of the larger Biscuit fire logging project. The 2002 Biscuit fire burned in a patchy mosaic across a large, wild landscape called the Siskiyou Wild Rivers region in southwestern Oregon.
A study released this week shows that roadless forests slated for logging have large numbers of natural conifer seedlings growing back after the fire. The Donato report, recently published in the prestigious journal Science, also documented high regeneration rates in forests affected by the Biscuit fire. That report also found that industrial logging after the Biscuit fire increased re-burn risks and destroyed natural regeneration. These conclusions caused timber industry-linked faculty at Oregon State University's College of Forestry to attempt to censor the study. This scandalous breech of academic integrity has led to official investigations and controversy that is still rocking the College of Forestry.
"This roadless forest logging cannot be justified ecologically or economically. It's being driven by dirty politics, plain and simple."
Concerned citizens can express their opinions and send instant faxes to Bush Forest Service officials at the Siskiyou Project website: www.siskiyou.org