Public Meeting Scheduled for Polallie Cooper Timber Sale

For years now, Bark has been raising awareness about the Polallie Cooper II Timber Sale, a logging project proposed on the north slope of Mt. Hood which includes native & mature forests, popular recreation areas and important wildlife habitat. Today, the Forest Service released a date for a public meeting to address this controversial project: Wednesday, February 10 (exact time is TBA). Attendees of this meeting will have the opportunity to raise concerns about the project, and submit their own comments to the agency. Bark will be available to arrange carpools to the event, which will likely be held in either Hood River or Parkdale, OR.

The Polallie Cooper Timber Sale was originally cancelled in 2005 after fierce opposition from a coalition of conservation, recreation and citizen groups. Now it’s back, and just like 10 years ago this proposal includes aggressive logging in some of the forests Barkers value the most. What’s worse, “Polallie Cooper II” is just one of three large logging projects the Forest Service is concurrently planning that would impact over 10,000 acres of forest across the north side of Mt. Hood.

The still-intact project area encompasses the Wild and Scenic East Fork Hood River corridor, portions of a potential addition to the Mount Hood Wilderness, the Cooper Spur winter sports area, and the Crystal Springs drinking water aquifer (a municipal watershed for Hood River County). Popular trails like Dog River, Zigzag, Tamanawas Falls, and Surveyor’s Ridge weave through these forests, and would be impacted by logging and roadbuilding.

This logging proposal cites wildfire prevention as its goal. Rather than a sign of unhealthy forests, natural processes like fire can be vital for forest ecosystems, increase biodiversity, and thin forests naturally. Furthermore, effectiveness of “fuels reduction” projects can be inconsistent, tend to fail under severe fire weather, and can even exacerbate severe fire behavior. On the other hand, road-building for timber sales always increases the risk of fire ignitions in the forest.

This past summer Bark invited the public to camp out with us in the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale, and walk the 12 miles of proposed roads the Forest Service plans on building into the forest. We hosted over 30 Barkers who over four days braved the hot weather, mosquitos and black bears to collect valuable information which we are now using in our arguments against this sale. We will be bringing this information to the February 10th meeting.

We will be posting more details about the event with talking points to bring to the meeting, so we can ensure that the Forest Service hears from the public about this special area!