Bark Alert: Watchdogs are Prepared, Whatever the Weather

Learn to protect Mt. Hood forests on snowshoes!

This winter, all hands have been on deck to challenge the proposed Zigzag Timber Sale. Our volunteers have been busy groundtruthing in the snow, coordinating info sessions for the surrounding communities, and creating effective comments to defend this area. The Forest Service just closed the first public comment period on this project – during which over 3,000 of you joined Bark in submitting official comments (thank you!).

room full of volunteers working at computers and desks to write public comments against the zigzag timber sale

How does groundtruthing impact forest management?

Groundtruthers provide high quality information gathered directly from the forest floor, which helps the public to better understand the impacts of commercial logging and to participate in the timber sale planning process. Given the high elevation of the Zigzag project area and the Forest Service’s plan to schedule the comment period over the winter, Barkers had to act fast before the winter weather conditions prevented us from gathering the field data needed to challenge this timber sale. With snow on the mountain, Bark volunteers strapped on snowshoes to seek out threatened areas firsthand and when the comment period was announced for January, we were ready and waiting armed with information on unmapped streams, patches of old growth, and locations of sensitive plant species to protect.

volunteer groundtruther writing on a clipboard in the snowy forest

The public doesn’t always have the time or resources to follow up on timber sales the way that Bark can, especially around the winter holidays and tough weather. But as the watchdogs for Mt. Hood National Forest, we stay vigilant and adaptable and—thanks our groundtruthers—were able to provide our members and supporters with detailed information on threatened areas despite the timing. In a climate that’s changing, with a federal administration that increasingly seeks to limit public engagement, we must be prepared for all conditions in order to weather this storm.

Are you looking for a way to get more experience in winter field conditions? Join us this weekend for our monthly, free hike—this time in partnership with Cascadia Wild to learn the art of wildlife tracking in the snow and how to join the effort to protect Mt. Hood National Forest. 

 

Thank you for being a part of Bark's work to push back and keep watch!

Daniela del Mar, Bark Communications Coordinator

P.S. Want to work on shifting the Forest Service’s priorities toward climate resilience and away from industrial timber production? Check out Free Mt. Hood Committee, which is meeting next Wednesday Feb. 27th. Learn about the National Forest management plans and how to change them!