Opponents of the Jazz timber sale in Mt. Hood National Forest are taking their case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to stop logging on around 2,000 acres of forestland.
They’re also warning that logging on that location will increases landslide risks — an argument that could resonate with the public after the slide in Washington that killed 41 people and left two missing.
The environmental group Bark announced the timber sale appeal at a rally in front of the Mt. Hood National Forest headquarters in Sandy, Oregon Wednesday.
“We’ve been fighting Jazz for almost four years,” said staff attorney Brenna Bell. “Let us hope that the judges who review the case this time have a better grasp of the law and the facts than the judge who ruled on it last time.”
About 75 people demonstrated against the logging operation -– some dressed as a salmon, bears, and trees. To illustrate their concerns about damage to the forest from logging, organizers staged a mock building of a logging road and resulting deposition of mud into salmon-bearing streams. Then, Bark executive director stuck a poster-sized letter between the locked doors of the headquarters building. The letter asks the national forest’s supervisor Lisa Northrop, to reduce the size of the Jazz timber sale.
“Today we’re here because we want to make local change,” Brown told the group. “We’re here to demand that the stewards of Mt. Hood National Forest don’t follow these arbitrary logging targets from Washington D.C. to pollute our drinking water, muddy our salmon streams and destroy our back yard.”
Last month, a judge denied Bark’s claims that the U.S. Forest Service plans for the timber sale violated federal law.
Bark argued that the planned logging would create too much landslide risk, and road-building for the operation would release damaging sediment onto habitat for protected salmon and steelhead in the nearby Collawash River. Ten of the proposed logging units are within half a mile of the Collawash River on land that has been designated a high to medium risk for earthflows.
“The Forest Service’s proposal will result in the equivalent of 38 pickup loads of mud going into the river,” said Bark program director Russ Plaeger. “How can they say this project won’t harm salmon?”
Bark also claimed the Forest Service would do more damage to habitat and water water quality by rebuilding logging roads that have already been decommissioned or have been naturally restored by the forest. Bell made