Wild and Free Bulletin

 

May 10, 2005

 

In this Issue . . .


Update on Summer Use At Cooper Spur

A big thank you to all of you who gave your opinion to District Ranger Bambe about the continued summer activities at the Cooper Spur Ski Area.

We must have had an effect because Ms. Bambe said that this will be the last summer she will approve any activities without a new Master Plan proposal. Mt. Hood Meadows told the Forest Service that they needed another season to determine if summer activities are cost effective. In other words, they probably lost money last year. This is good news since our position has always been that commercial summer activities such as concerts and weddings should be at the Cooper Spur Inn not on public land.

We will be monitoring the activities for impact on the surrounding area especially concert noise spilling onto the trails.  If you would like to help us with those tasks, please contact Richard Kednay  (503) 285-6089 Kednayr@ohsu.edu.
 


Scientists Say Logging in the Name of Fire Risk Reduction is Misguided in Cooper Spur Area

The US Forest Service has long been advocating vegetation management (aka: logging) in the name of reducing the risk of a severe wildfire on the Northeast Side of Mt. Hood National Forest. This has resulted in a 865-acre logging project called the Polallie-Cooper Timber Sales, surrounding the popular Cooper Spur Recreation Area. Bark, Sierra Club, and other members of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition have stalled this project through litigation. Recently, the Sierra Club in coordination with Bark, contracted with the Pacific Biodiversity Institute (PBI) to examine forest conditions in the vicinity to provide an independent scientific assessment for the need for the logging. The findings: "there is no "forest health crisis" in this area and no need for dramatic intervention".

Polallie-Cooper planning area covers approximately 4,500 acres of Mt. Hood National Forest; it contains numerous creeks, a wildlife migration corridor, a section of State Highway 35, the Cooper Spur winter sports area, hiking trails and a sensitive drinking water aquifer. It is adjacent to several private land holdings and surrounds a historic building beloved by cross country skiers, the Cooper Spur Warming Hut. The U.S. Forest Service considers it an "urban interface." The Forest Service's Environmental Assessment (EA) said that declining forest health as well as fuel load (brush and wood on the forest floor) on National Forest and private lands in the Polallie-Cooper area could contribute to the loss and damage of both forest stands and homes and other private property should a wildfire occur. The agency's solutions included logging, brush reduction, prescribed burns and a barrier between the land and private residences.

The PBI report concluded that 1) fuel reduction activities proposed for the Polallie-Cooper Planning Area should not be a high priority for the Mt. Hood National Forest; 2) efforts to reduce wildfire risk to homes and communities should target the home ignition zone (30 meters from structures) where effective actions can be undertaken; and 3) protection of the warming hut can be accomplished with a minimal effort that does not include intensive logging of surrounding forests. Overall, forest condition and fuel loadings in the portions of the uncut forests of the Polallie-Cooper Planning Area were found to be within the normal range of natural variation that can be expected on these sites.

Please write the US Forest Service and ask them to cancel the Polallie-Cooper Timber Sales and instead use controlled prescribed fire to deal with fuels. Tell them that financial resources should be devoted to creating defensible spaces around homes and structures, as opposed to carrying out destructive logging in drinking watersheds. For a complete copy of Peter Morrison's report, see http://www.bark-out.org/tsdb/detail.php?sale=polcoop

Send Your Letters and Emails to:

Daina Bambe
Hood River District Ranger
Hood River Ranger Station
6780 Highway 35
Mt. Hood/Parkdale, OR 97041
Phone: (541) 352-6002
dbambe@fs.fed.us

Decision To Strip Protections for Roadless Areas Announced May 5th

The Bush Administration has stripped protections for National Forest roadless areas by repealing the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which prohibited most road-building and resource extraction on 58.5 million acres of the Forests.

Under the Bush plan, state governors are required to petition the Forest Service with recommendations in order for roadless areas in their States to be considered for protection. These petitions are a phony, nonbonding process, where the Forest Service is free to accept, reject or modify them at will. This plan is a wholesale reversal of protection for nearly 60 million acres of America's last intact wild forests. The result of today's announcement is that millions of acres of our last wild forests are now immediately at risk.

In public comments last fall, the Americans submitted more than 1.75 million comments urging the Administration to uphold the Roadless Rule as promised four years ago this week. The total comments by the Americans over the years in support of protecting roadless areas amounts to over 4 million.

Take Action: Please take time today to write your local paper and express your opposition to Bush's plan.

Write a Letter to the Editor!

Use these Points . . .

Overall Message

For additional detail for your letter: See the BARK website at: http://www.bark-out.org/calendar/listing.php#187

 


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