The amount of logging on federal lands in the Northwest is trending upwards. By next year, the Forest Service aims to offer the highest level of cut in ten years. The Bureau of Land Management is even more ambitious. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.
Forest Service managers for the Pacific Northwest Region have raised their timber harvest target by about 11 percent for next year. Then another 7 percent in 2009.
The Bureau of Land Management has even bigger ideas for the 2.5 million acres it owns in Western Oregon. A brand new management plan there would triple the timber volume put up for auction.
The BLM's Dick Prather says the agency is shifting gears to meet its obligations to rural economies.
Dick Prather: “We have not been able to meet our timber targets. Our planning handbook tells us when that happens it's time to revise your plans to bring things back into sync.”
The trend pleases cash-strapped timber counties. They stand to receive a share of timber sale proceeds. But several Oregon environmental groups have already mobilized to stop what activists regard as a regression “towards