(From Bark Fieldtrip: 2/11/01)

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Cloudy, light snow, reported freezing level 2500

Alternative #2 within the Clear Planning Area is the Forest Service's Proposed Action.

Clear Planning Area:

Clear Planning Area roughly located north of Mt. Hood, between Laurence Lake and the Mt. Hood Wilderness. It consists of approximately 5,791 acres within the Middle Fork and East Fork of the Hood River Watersheds.

The plans is for 500 acres to be logged: 81 acres to be clear-cut (regeneration harvest), 27 acres of this clear-cut is currently planned to occur within the Mt. Hood Highway 35 Scenic Viewshed; 343 acres of commercial thinning; 21 acres of *overstory* removal (explicit logging of old-growth); 14 acres of Riparian Reserve logging; and 3.5 miles of new roads. Other land designations within the planning area include: B6 Special Emphasis Watershed; B10 Deer & Elk Winter Range; plus 1,281 acres of Inventoried Roadless Area and hundreds of acres of undesignated roadless area.

Problem:

Forest Service procedure ignores the surrounding private lands. The Planning Area only involves the National Forest land and completely ignores the extensive Clear-cutting that has already occurred on the surrounding private lands. The cumulative environmental impact on the watersheds from these clear-cuts has never been considered.

Problem:

Overstory removal means the explicit logging of the oldest trees within the unit. This means the explicit logging of old-growth trees in these units.

Problem:

The logging plan currently calls for clear-cut tractor logging. This method of logging is the most damaging the soil and consequently to the watershed as a whole. This plan ignores the damage done to the watershed by the clear-cut tractor logging that has already occurred on the surrounding private lands while it proposes adding to the problem by more clear-cut tractor logging.

The proposed action also includes plans to construct approximately 5.5 miles of new trails and trailhead to serve and estimated 8-10 vehicles near the Laurence Lake area.

Problem:

If the Forest Service wishes to increase recreation opportunities outside of the Wilderness area why are they planning clear-cuts (regeneration harvest) and other logging within the roadless area that borders the Wilderness? If the Forest Service wishes to increase *recreation opportunities* near the Laurence Lake area why are they planning clear-cuts (regeneration harvest) and other logging on the public lands surrounding Laurence Lake area (including clear-cuts of land within the Scenic Viewshed)?

Unit 23:

Current plan calls for *overstory* removal (old-growth targeted logging) and thinning of understory after the removal of the old growth via tractor logging.

Old-growth conditions observed in unit 23: Problem:

The liquidation of our remaining old growth is not acceptable. The specific targeting of the old-growth trees would destroy this old-growth forest.

Problem:

Tractor logging will destroy the ground cover and smaller understory. This will turn a vibrant public forest filled with a variety of plant and animal life into a single species (Douglas fir) tree farm.

Problem:

Tractor logging will severely compact the soil making re-growth extremely more difficult for all surviving plant life.

Problem:

Liquidating the old growth means the destruction of the trees that host the nitrogen fixing lettuce lung lichen. This will degrade the quality of the soil by depleting the nitrogen in the soil. Poor soil means poor growth.

Problem:

Plan does not account for the surrounding Clear-Cuts on private lands that have degraded the soil, reduced animal and plant diversity, limited available wildlife habitat and degraded watershed.

Unit 19 clear-cut (regeneration harvest):

The Plan calls for a tractor clear-cut (regeneration harvest) of old-growth

Problem:

The liquidation of our remaining old growth on public land is not acceptable.

Problem:

The clear-cut (regeneration harvest) calls for leaving 15% of the *existing* trees. Traditionally these remaining trees are extremely vulnerable to blow-down (shallow root structure combined with no surrounding trees to help absorb wind gusts) and disease/insect infestation. There will be no forest left.

Problem:

Tractor logging will severely compact the soil making re-growth extremely more difficult.

Note:

NW Forest Plan, Standards and Guidelines, C-44: "The distribution of old-growth stands throughout the landscape is an important component of ecosystem diversity, and plays a significant role in providing for biological and structural diversity across the landscape. Isolated old-growth patches are ecologically significant in functioning as refugia for a host of old-growth associated species, particularly those with limited dispersal capabilities that are not able to migrate across large landscapes of younger trees."

Other issues with areas of the sale that we didn't visit on 2/11/01:
  1. Logging and road-building planned within the roadless area
  2. Access to some units reliant upon re-opening roads and bridges just closed at tax-payer expense
  3. Access to some units reliant upon re-building a bridge washed out in November 1999, making these units very questionable economically
  4. Not only are the surrounding private lands almost completely Clear-cut, but much of the forest within the planning area was thinned 10 years ago. These thinned stands look like tree farm (evenly spaced, little diversity, no undergrowth), not forest - even after 10 years - yet this is the same type of thinning planned in the Clear (cut) sale.
  5. Some of the previous thinning within the Clear planning area was in Inventoried Roadless Area!
  6. No more road-building!! The Forest Service calls them *temporary* roads, but there is no such thing as a temporary road.