Free Mt. Hood Campaign Committee

Free Mt. Hood is a campaign led by Bark to update Mt. Hood National Forest’s Management Plan. The current management plan emphasizes converting mature natural forest into managed plantations over much of its one million-plus acres. Bark and our supporters believe that the forest should be managed according to the inherent value of the intact ecosystem and surrounding community's concerns and values (such as climate change, recreation, and clean drinking water.) Free Mt. Hood is a key campaign in our organizational vision to establish Mt. Hood National Forest as a national model of public lands management that prioritizes clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, and quiet recreation over short-term commercial gain through extraction of the natural resources.

The 29 year-old Mt. Hood Land & Resource Management Plan was never updated even though the National Forest Management Act requires that forest plans be revised “from time to time when the Secretary finds conditions in a unit have significantly changed, but at least every fifteen years.” An important aspect of keeping the Forest Plan an up-to-date, living document is the preparation of amendments.Based on analysis of objectives, standards, monitoring, and changing conditions, the Forest Plan needs to be amended from time to time.

The region has changed much in the past 29 years: population is growing, climate is unstable, more people are using the forest, iconic species are threatened with extinction, and federal agency budgets have been slashed. Most importantly, Mt. Hood National Forest’s Management Plan does not adequately protect water rich forest ecosystems facing climate change. With a changing climate, Mt. Hood’s forests, waters and wildlife will need to withstand dryer, longer summers, extreme winter rain and snow events, more frequent landslides, higher temperatures and turbidity in streams, and unpredictable water availability. Communities surrounding the forest need to act now to ensure protections for the incredible forest ecosystem on which we all rely.

When the Forest Plan was written in 1990, it did not address forest management in the context of an increasingly warmer and unstable climate.  27 years later, climate change has become an urgent factor that the Plan must be updat

ed to reflect.  While we do not know exactly what the future brings, the science of understanding and predicting climate change has improved rapidly over the past decade, and there is sufficient information upon which to amend the Plan to make the forest more resilient to the upcoming changes.

 

Bark is working to engage communities around Mt. Hood together in a vision of a natural, thriving forest, not a tree farm. Beginning with the People’s Forest Forum for the Future of Mt. Hood in April 2017, the campaign committee, volunteers, and supporters will create opportunities for the public to be influential in the future management of these public lands. Through Forest Forums and presentations for student and activist groups, community meetings and regional gatherings, the Campaign committee works to bring all perspectives, needs, and hopes to the forefront and press the Forest Service to incorporate the public in Forest Management Planning. The committee meets every 4th Wednesday of the month at the Bark office, 351 NE 18th Ave in Portland, OR. from 5:45-

 

Campaign goals

  • Achieve critical updates to the Land and Resource Management Plan for Mt. Hood National Forest to address the impact of climate change on the forest and the impact of management decisions on the climate
  • Strengthen protective management goals to prohibit commerical logging in the most water and carbon rich areas of the forest: mature and native forest, riparian areas, aquatic ecosystems, and road-less areas.
  • Increase management focus on ecosystem rehabilitation in degraded areas by prioritizing road decommisioning and recreation management
  • Leave destructive commercial logging and short-term profit motives behind forever!