Activists embark on second tree-sit protest on BLM land in southern Oregon

By Justin Higginbottom (Jefferson Public Radio)
June 7, 2024 12:53 a.m.
The view from a tree-sitter's perch in the Bureau of Land Management's Rogue Gold Forest Management Project.

The view from a tree-sitter's perch in the Bureau of Land Management's Rogue Gold Forest Management Project.

Pacific Northwest Forest Defense

Protesters have moved into another Bureau of Land Management project area in southern Oregon after claiming their tree-sitting prevented construction of a logging road in April.


A protester is currently camping out around 100 feet above the ground in an old-growth Douglas fir they say is at risk of being cut down to make way for a logging road. The tree is in the BLM’s Rogue Gold Forest Management Project area near Rogue River.

They called in from atop their small platform attached to the tree.

“I can see nearby towns. I can see thousands of acres of forest. Lots of beautiful mountains covered with trees. Also, at least five or six really gnarly clear cuts,” said the protester, who identified themselves only as Aidan.


The BLM’s Rogue Gold project includes commercial logging as well as fuels reduction to lessen wildfire risk. Activists claim the plan threatens old-growth trees that have habitat for threatened species like the northern spotted owl.

“I’m here putting myself on the line… until I make sure that this forest is protected,” said Aidan.

Tree-sitters declared victory after another proposed road they protested was abandoned in April. It was within the BLM’s nearby Poor Windy Forest Management Project.

The BLM did not respond to a request for comment about protests at the Rogue Gold project. In April, the agency disputed the claim that the Poor Windy project road cancellation was due to protests. A spokesperson has said their projects do not target old-growth trees for logging.

Environmental groups are simultaneously suing the BLM over their Rogue Gold project, where the latest tree-sit is occurring, claiming it threatens late-successional reserve forests that are set aside for conservation. But protesters aren’t waiting for a decision by the courts.

“After the success at Poor Windy, it’s more clear than ever that taking direct action and using these kinds of more escalated tactics is an effective strategy for protecting these forests,” said Sam Shields, an organizer working with the protesters. He called it a “renaissance” for direct action to protect old-growth trees.

Last month a judge sided with conservation groups suing the BLM over the agency’s Integrated Vegetation Management for Resilient Lands Program. The new management program is meant to promote forest resilience for areas of southern Oregon at high risk of wildfire. The court found that the plan’s logging in late-successional reserves violated the BLM’s management plan to protect those forests.