Big Clackamas Cut

July 11th, 2011

The forests of the Clackamas River Watershed are facing an unprecedented threat this summer. This amazing gem of a forest which provides drinking water to thousands of Oregonians, is home to threatened fish and wildlife, and provides world-class recreation opportunities, is facing up to 7,500 acres of logging this summer. These acres of logging have accumulated over the past six years, as the Forest Service keeps planning and selling timber sales that have yet to be logged. Bark is concerned that six years worth of planned timber sales may be logged this summer causing cumulative impacts not accounted for by the Environmental Assessments of the individual sales.

To the best of our knowledge, it appears that logging could occur this year on part or all of the timber sales covered by the following NEPA decisions: Collawash Thin, No Whiskey, South Fork Thin, 2007 Thin, Upper Clack Thin and ReThin – together these sales impact over 10,000 acres in the Clackamas River Watershed. Bark has confirmed with the Forest Service that a quarter of the logging in these sales is already complete, which leaves approximately 7,500 acres that could be logged this summer resulting in unforeseen cumulative impacts.

When a timber sale is sold, it is up to the timber company to decide when to log it. This decision is contingent on the fluctations of the timber market – which has been fairly low in recent years. Due to the low cost of timber, the Forest Service has made concessions to allow the extension of timber sale contracts, resulting in a back-log of thousands of acres of un-logged timber sales. While this low market has resulted in many sales not being logged, it has also created the conditions for massive logging to occur in a very short time frame should the market rise.

With the looming specter of five years of deferred logging occurring this year, Bark is concerned that there will be unforeseen ecological consequences and cumulative impacts to threatened fish and owls. In an effort to diminish the impacts of 7,500 acres of concurrent logging in the Clackamas River Watershed, we are asking the Forest Service to stagger logging over multiple years, and delay a decision on the Jazz Timber Sale – a new 2,000 acre timber sale proposed in the Clackamas River Watershed -- until the outstanding timber sales have been completed. Stay tuned for more information . . .