Bark Alert: Envisioning the Future, Investing in Resilience

Greetings from Bark’s Free MtHood Committee! 

It is a challenging time for all of us at Bark and for our friends and neighbors in the greater Mt. Hood National Forest region and around the world. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day compels us to look ever deeper into how interrelated environmental concerns are threatening our world. 
 
Over the past 20 years, Bark volunteers have played a critical role in protecting and advocating for Mt. Hood National Forest. As climate change begins to impact this place that we care for and love, it is time once again to come together and ensure that the forest is strong and healthy for decades to come. Forest defense makes climate change sense. 

Climate change is here and now—and sure to affect our region’s access to quality drinking water. It will impact the forest's native plants, its watersheds and wildlife habitat, and the animals that depend on them. Yet the MtHood Forest Service chooses to manage our public lands with a 30-year-old Forest Plan that fails to address climate change. It is a plan that ignores decades of scientific research on the positive role that forests play in regulating global climate by removing carbon from the atmosphere, and storing it naturally.  

Even more troubling, the current MtHood Forest Plan continues to invest in an outdated fire management policy that heavily favors costly fire-suppression practices. These practices undermine natural forest regeneration, endanger the lives of our firefighters, and shortchange strategies that better protect homes and businesses in areas vulnerable to wildfires. When combined with timber sale policies that still permit clear-cutting, big tree logging, and snag removal, the Forest Service is squandering our region’s ecological future. 

Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away! Revising the MtHood Forest Plan is imperative and long overdue. The Forest Service must start addressing climate change, and any new plan should serve as a model for National Forests throughout the country. 

It will take a united community to push the Forest Service to take up this important project. That's why Bark is taking up the cause and calling on YOU — our members, our volunteers, local leadership, and decision-makers — to join the Free MtHood Campaign!

MtHood National Forest is the heart of our region and an inestimable force in sustaining our shared ecological good health. It is an urban National Forest on the flank of Oregon's largest city, central to life in diverse communities that ring its iconic summit. We need to recharge awareness, community-building, and action toward the goal of creating an ecologically-sound Forest Plan that can effectively address the uncharted and uncertain challenges of a future that is starting now. 

What is your vision for the future of MtHood?

For the forests,

Bark's Free Mt. Hood Committee

P.S. Join Bark’s Free Mt Hood Campaign Committee to help us change the course of forest management. We meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month (virtually, for now!)