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Eastern Cascadia

The Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (BMBP) has been protecting the forests of Eastern Oregon for over a decade. Their strategy has been many-fold. They work to educate surrounding communities about the impact Forest Service practices have on the environment, including logging, mining, herbicide use & cattle grazing in our National Forests.

Through appeals, comments, lawsuits and public pressure, this group has managed to preserve the ecosystems of hundreds of thousands of acres in these largely wildfire-dependent high-elevation forest ecosystems.

BMBP also works to involve volunteers by training folks to do field checking of timber sales to gather information to help in writing letters of public comment, appeals, & ultimately in this filing of lawsuits.

Anyone interested in getting involved by writing comment letters, walking and scoping out timber sales, or any other ways to help this highly effective group, that has stopped countless sales using ground-truthing of sales and lawsuits, as well as through public outreach, is encouraged to contact BMBP. Self-sufficient interns are need May thru September every year, and this year (2003) help is needed through early November field-checking timber sales. (No experience required)

For more information, or to be on their mailing list, leave a message at: (541) 385-9167, or write to: BMBP 27803 Williams Lane, Fossil, OR 97830.

UPDATES:

  • October 26, 2003 The Forest Service rejected the BMBP appeal of Metolius Basin thinning project There was a concerted effort before this judge rejected this appeal, from many people and in the media to discredit BMBP in Bend, where this decision was made. Efforts to discredit the validity of this appeal included attempts to somehow connect the appeal with the desire of environmentalists to see forests burn; Some of the far-reaching assumptions the media encouraged went so far as to imply that the Camp Sherman fire was arson committed by environmentalists, after this area burned severely during Bush's August 21 visit... There are many who questioned the timing of these fires.


INTERNING WITH THE BLUE MOUNTAINS BIODIVERSITY PROJECT: Interning with the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project-What you need to know:

Our Issues:
The Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project accepts volunteer interns from May through September. Interns help with our work in stopping destructive timber sales, herbicide use proposals and contributing to greater public awareness. Our outreach, educational and advocacy work focuses on turning the trend of environmental and community destruction in such issues as nimal Damage Control species eradication, oil and gas leasing, unethical and unsustainable predator hunting and broader aspects of the biodiversity protection. Exposing and ending the corporate dominance over society is key to resolving many of these problems.

Our greatest needs for help are in the areas of field-checking timber sales, writing comments on agency proposals, fiking, information coordination and writing timber sale appeals. No prior experience is necessary,although it is helpful.

Skills You Could Learn: identification of native wildlife and plant species in eastern Oregon, how to evaluate habitat qualities and viability, under-standing how the Forest Service and other agencies operate, knowledge of environmental laws, map andcompass skills, research and writing skills, organizational skills, greater knowledge of ecological processes (including organizational skills, greater knowledge fof ecological processes (including fire, insects, disease, tree species succession, soildynamics, etc.) and greater knowledge of the issues we address.

Skills useful to have: prior experience with Forest Service planning, legal background, filing experience, hiking and map and compass skills.

Natural Attractions:
Our land has a magnificent view of canyonlands below us, lots of stars visible at night, choruses of coyotes, hooting of owls, tapping of woodpeckers. There is abundant and diverse wildlife on our land and in the National Forest behind us and where we go field-checking timber sales. Interns commonly see eld, deer, coyotes, woodpeckers (including Pileated), variuos rodents, a great variety of wild birds and plants, a variety of wild mushrooms and sometimes, bobcats, badgers, porcupines, rattle snakes, other snakes and fogs and raptors, including eagles and Goshawks. Black bears, a cougar and a pine marten have all been seen. Other attractions include the John Day River, local ponds, rock formations, fossils, Native artifacts (which we leave in place), magnificent lightnening shows, edible mushrooms (there are also highly poisonous ones, so full keying out and erring on the side of caution is needed) and medicinal and edible plants.

Natural Risks and Hazards:
As we are far from rich, everything in which you particpate is at your own risk. Natural hazards include: lightning, potential wildfire, rattlesnakes, falling trees, ticks, poison0ous mushrooms, falls, sunstroke, hypothermia, etc. So far every one of our inerns has come out alive and well, but be prepared for a wide range of conditions, know your physical limits (and let us know what they are) and be responsible for yourself.

What you need to Bring:
First, it is essential that you are self-sufficient in food and money for your own personal needs. Not being self-sufficient in food will be groiunds for sending you back where you came from. We can't pay everyone and we also can't fee everyone. meals can be cooked and shared cooperatively (we are vegetarian and about half the time vegan or more) but everyone must contribute their fair share of food. Plan to have at least two weeks food supply wiht you when you come (more in buld foods if you're staying longer) and to be able to resupply at about 2-3 week intervals.
Warning: there are no good stores near here--the nearest organic and vegan food stores are two hours driving away, the nearest big organic / vegan food stores are three to four 1/2 hours away. Other things to bring: You need your own camping gear: sleeping bag, pad, tent, water bottles, daypack, backpack for longer trips if possible, a camping stove and fuel. You'll need clothes and sleeping bag for weather ranging from potential lows of 20 degrees to hights of 100 degrees F. You need good, broken-in hiking boots and rain gear.

Living Conditions:
We limit internships to May through September because we don't have enough intern space and woodstoves to provide for people's needs in the winter. We expect you to camp out on lur land unless you become a lont-term paid assistant and a guest tipi becomes available. Right now there is no guest tipi. So it's best to bring a tent, although a hammock, a tarp and a rope may work. We have one small kitchen space with a propane stove and oven that can be used for communal cooking and a picnic table for outside eating. We expect fair and consistent help with dishes and keepng the kitchen clean. We have no electricity or running water. We do have excellent spring water for drinking and We expect help in hauling water for drinking, animals and gardens. The "bathroom" is an outhouse. Lighting is canles and oil lamps. We live in a high fire risk area and have already burned out once (most of our trees are now snags), so it's essential that there is great care with fire, including cigarettes. (We don't smoke and there is no smoking allowed inside our kitchen, vehicles and tipis.) Alcoholism and drug abuse are not o.k. Minor amounts of alcohol are all right.
We have animals: 2 dogs, 3 cats, 3 horses and 5 chickens. We prefer that you don't bring dogs. Talk to us if this is a problem. One of our "neighbors" shoots dogs dead without warning if they come onto their propery. Our other animals are free-ranging, so you need to be able to live around horses andnot mind cats. No chicken-killing dogs. We have an underlying animal rights ethic (with our own interpretations--eg, we eat our own chickens' eggs and sometimes organic mild products and we have to keep the dogs ties sometimes because of the neighbor.)

Helpful Things to Bring: personal items (towel, etc.), sunscreen, a compass, a long wind-up tape measuer and your own camera, if you have one. Bringing your own vehicle (esp. a 4 wheel drive truck with high clearance) is terrific, but not necessary. Bring food for hiking that you don't have to cook.

Weather:
Weather our here is variable and you should come prepared for anything. We've field-checked in snow in June. However here are rough guidelines: May-Jun: rainier (though very beautiful time of year with lots of wildflowers) July: usually hotter (up to 100 degrees F.) but it can be rainy. Late July, August, September: typically hot and dry (it might no rain at all during August and September). Lightning is most prevalent in June and July but may continue throughout the summer. High winds occur periodically and wildfires may occur in later summer (August especially).

Physical donations that we can use:
We welcome donations of sheet metal roofing, Pallet boards, hogwire fencing, metal fence posts and scrap wood (recycled wood only, not new.) We could also use plastic buckets and lids, help and other alternative fiber paper, or 100% recycled paper with high post-consumer content and a good quality manual typewriter.

Protocol for hooking up with us:
Call or write first. We like to meet you in person first if possible. Then let us know soon before you are able to come, arrange transportation, and we will then send you a map. It is very helpful if you have your own vehicle, but not necesary. However there are no bus, train or air routes directly here, (not even close) We often arrange rides for interns to come in and out again at the end.

You can leave messages at: (541) 385-9169. Or you can all or write: (541) 468-2028. Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, 27803 Williams Lane, Fossil, OR 97830.