Zigzag Timber Sale

Project Details: Breaking a 20 year moratorium on logging in the Zigzag Ranger District, the U.S. Forest service has recently proposed the Zigzag Integrated Resource Project.  The proposed area includes approximately 2,700 acres of logging in a combination of young and old forest. The main motivation is timber production in response to an increase in Mt. Hood's annual timber target, which was decided by the Trump Administration. This project would cover two areas: Horseshoe (near Lolo Pass) and Mud Creek (near Trillium Lake), and would mostly log by thinning with some "regeneration harvest" proposed.

Action Alert: Public scoping and a 30-day comment period is tentatively scheduled for mid to late November, with a Preliminary Assessment scheduled to be released in May.

Visit the Area: Bark has organized groudtruthing for November 2019 that will survey the Zigzag proposed units.

Bark’s Concerns: One worrisome aspect, among others, is that the FS plans on releasing a 30-day public scoping mid-late November which would overlap with the holiday season, making it very difficult for concerned members of the public to meaningfully engage with this process.

Zigzag contains critical habitats for threatened coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead, which have seen huge recovery in recent years after proactive restoration by the USFS. Roadbuilding and logging on steep slopes above this habitat would pose a significant threat to salmon recovery and setback years of costly restoration efforts.

This timber sale would lack any public collaborative process, or fund any restoration activities in the area through the Forest's Retained Reciepts program. 

These forests attract thousands of visitors annually for cultural practice and free, public recreation. Areas within and surrounding the timber sale (which include the towns of Zigzag, Welches, Government Camp and Rhododendron), will be affected by any potential impacts and closures to areas like Trillium Lake, Ramona Falls, Burnt Lake, Old Maid Flat, Top Spur Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Project Status: 
Proposed
General Information
District: 
Zigzag Ranger District
Total Acres: 
2,700.0
Watershed: 

Upper Sandy and Salmon River watersheds

Habitat & Species
Habitat & Species: 

There are surveys occurring for rare botanical species, as well as terrestrial mollusk. There is no critical or suitable habitat for northern spotted owls, but there are about 6 historic territories within the project areas and dispersal/foraging habitat exists.

The Horseshoe area is a critical habitat for listed fish: Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead.

Potential trees exist for nests of red tree voles (a protected species which receives a 10-acre buffer if found).

Prescriptions
Total Acres: 
2,700.0
Bark Comments: 

Within the area commercial thinning and precommercial thinning work are proposed on approximately 2,400 acres and 300 acres respectively. There is a 16 acre "regeneration harvest", or clearcut, proposed in the Mud Creek area.

Horseshoe: The Lost Creek tributary in SE corner of area is extremely productive. Unit 6 (plantation) would be accessed by a temp. road which runs through old growth structure. Lolo pass is steep with lots of wet unstable slopes. Many large trees suitable for red tree voles have been found, which will be climbed by USFS surveyors if they are below 3,500 feet in elevation (the known upper range for the species). There is a possibility of moving and expanding the Top Spur trailhead beyond where it is now; it would be placed over an existing landing (to be reused for Unit 61) and receive a better restroom facility. Trees from helicopter logging units would be flown down to Old Maid Flat which would result in a public closure for up to 1 month. Up around Lolo pass, the soils are wet, rocky, and terrain is steep. Units 34 and 40 are examples of relatively flat units which would utilize skyline logging to avoid soil impacts Horseshoe would likely be advertised as one sale: 50% skyline, 25% helicopter, 25% ground based. 

Mud Creek: Units 168, 175, 176, 130, 6, 132, 184, 180, 186, 185, 181 are all "fire origin" stands and are approximately 90-100+ years old. 129 is a proposed “regeneration harvest” using mastication. The area is flatter, with more ground based logging proposed. 85% ground based; 15% skyline. Western white pine blister rust is present and seen as an issue in the ares. "Huckleberry enhancement is a potential opportunity" – no official consultation has been done with the Tribes about this but according to FS, they will be focusing on accessible areas right off the main roads, approx. 51 acres have been identified for this. Cross-country skiing is popular here and there are existing impacts from dispersed camping that need to be addressed.

Timber Sale Names: 

Horseshoe, Mud Creek

Driving Directions: 

Google driving directions to the Horseshoe area can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/V1uGDpdZebLzq25M7

Google driving directions to the Mud Creek area can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/yvjkoVWHM1h1NVfA7

Road Comments: 

Horseshoe:  This area spans 1828 and 1825 road networks, and includes several road segments that have been recently decommissioned or identified for decommissioning previously because of their ecological impacts. The 1828-118 road (which accesses the Top Spur trail) would be closed just past where the trailhead is now. There is potential for roadwork/culvert work to be done on the Burnt Lake road.

Mud Creek: This includes the Mud Creek loop road (2656) and spurs just south of Trillium lake. The area is well roaded, but there is still some "temporary" roadbuilding proposed.