Forest Watch Update: Good News for the Forest!

Crystal Clear Timber Sale halted by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals!

Are you ready for some good news? And not just any kind of good news! This is game-changing, stopping-dangerous-precedent-and-saving-mature-and-old-growth-forest-in-Mt.-Hood-National-Forest-good news: 

We won the Crystal Clear lawsuit! 

As many of you know, for three and a half years, Bark has led a trio of environmental nonprofits in raising serious objections to the Crystal Clear "Restoration Project": 12,000  acre project on the east slope of Mt. Hood. This was Mt. Hood's largest timber sale in Bark’s 21-year history, which had proposed thousands of acres of mature and old growth forests in ways that the best available science shows could increase fire risk and adversely affect threatened spotted owls.  

Our grassroots supporters kept us in this fight. If you can, please donate to Bark today to celebrate this victory for all.

Moreover, the Forest Service proposed to do this without seriously engaging the information compiled from over thousands of hours of surveying by Bark volunteers, nor the many scientific studies we submitted. Instead, they fast-tracked the process with an Environmental Assessment that glossed over every objection. What’s more is that internal USFS documents revealed that the timber sale was directed by the Regional Office to generate twice MHNF's annual timber volume—despite its label as a "restoration" project. If they had gotten away with this, it would have set a precedent that agencies can almost completely ignore community science and environmental regulations.

But today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the forest (and the rule of law)! 

Above all, their ruling didn't simply ask the Forest Service to tweak a few sections of their Environmental Assessment—it recognized, as Bark, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild asserted from the very beginning—that the scope of this project requires the more in-depth analysis of an Environmental Impact Statement. 

This process will involve a much fuller engagement with all the science, and will require much more detailed public involvement. This will very likely result in the most controversial parts of this project being dropped. Your work, as volunteers groundtruthing the units, or spreading the word, or supporting our work with funding, has made this possible—and will help us continue to change forest policy for the better. 

Yes!  A ray of sunshine for your quarantine. And for the forests! 

Brenna Bell, Bark Policy Coordinator/Staff Attorney