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[cdt-l] Timber sale on the CDT


We were told last summer that it would be about 19 miles of burned area we'd
walk through.  It turned out that from Gibbons Pass (just north of Chief
Joseph Pass) to a spot roughly a third of the way up from Johnson Lake to
Rainbow Pass #1 - a distance of about 37.5 miles - we either walked through,
skirted very closely, or looked immediately down on blackened forest.

In this same stretch, about mile 11.7 , segment 14, of the  Lynna Howard,
Westcliffe Publ MT/ID CDT guide,  don't overlook the good water (and
camping) less than a half mile down Buck Creek Tr 198 to the north. The 7.5
min topo shows it.  Good spot at right end of meadow, adorned with elk or
horse skull on tree (no extra charge).  As of July, there was only an
unreadable burned hint of a sign remnant at the junction with the CDT, but
the trail on the ground was obvious to anyone staying on top of the maps.

Walk well,  Bob  Ellinwood

-----Original Message-----
From: Slyatpct@aol.com [mailto:Slyatpct@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 1:26 AM
To: cdt-l@backcountry.net
Subject: [cdt-l] Timber sale on the CDT

I saw this story in the New York Times and was wondering how much it's going

to affect my hiking experience next year.  Not that I'm a fan of walking 
through miles of scorched earth and deadfall, I'm sure I do not like the
of skiddahs and chainsaws disturbing my wilderness experience.

Anyone here know if the sale and salvage of timber is on or near the CDT, 
and/or if protection of the trail and safety of hikers in this area is being

considered by the FS?  When would something like this take place?

Thanks for any insight, 


Bush administration cleared the way today for a gigantic sale of trees 
charred last year by fires in a national forest in Montana and Idaho, 
prompting two environmental groups to go to court to challenge the move.
The administration action is a victory for the timber industry, which has 
pushed for salvaging of the wood, from the Bitterroot National Forest,
it rots or cracks and loses its value. The administration says it intends to

use the proceeds from the sales to restore some of the forest's watershed 
areas by replanting trees, closing roads and protecting stream beds. 
Officials also say quick removal of the timber will help prevent fires next 
More than 300,000 acres in the forest burned in the fires last year. Some 
environmental groups argue that removing the wood will disrupt the natural 
cycle of decomposition and promote runoff of sediment that could harm fish. 
And they are worried about the method of today's decision, essentially, just

the signature of an administration official, eliminating the public appeal 
process and forcing opponents to lodge their protests in court.
They are seeking an injunction in Federal District Court in Missoula, Mont.,

to block the sale, which the government has set to begin at noon on
The plan calls for logging 181 million board feet of timber from more than 
46,000 acres of ponderosa pine trees that are dead or dying because of the 
fires. The sale, which covers 30 sites within the forest, amounts to one of 
the biggest salvage logging operations in the nation's history.
The decision, announced and put in effect as of today, was signed on Sunday 
by Mark Rey, under secretary for natural resources and environment in the 
Agriculture Department and a former timber industry lobbyist.
Mr. Rey said he agreed with Dale Bosworth, chief of the United States Forest

Service, "that immediate implementation of the projects will reduce 
unacceptable risks to public safety, private property and the national
system resources."
He and Mr. Bosworth have said there is no need to go through the customary 
45-day public appeals process because the timber needs to be salvaged
and because environmental groups are already planning to sue. Mr. Rey said 
the decision to bypass the appeals period was legal. 
Mr. Rey was expected to announce the decision last Friday but postponed
so, telling reporters he wanted to review how the salvaging would affect 
downstream land and the local economy. He said the Forest Service had 
estimated that the projects would generate 4,000 jobs and pump more than $75

million into the economy. While he was not disputing those figures, he said,

he wanted to make sure that a "significant portion" of that money would help

the local economy.
In today's four-paragraph announcement, he provided no details about the 
economic effects, saying only that "these restoration projects provide 
significant local economic benefit opportunities."
He did discuss the process, asserting that the method of decision did not
a precedent and was "an exception and not the rule."
But environmental groups said the action set a dangerous precedent.
"This is the first step down a slippery slope of shutting the public out," 
said Bob Ekey, the Northern Rockies director of the Wilderness Society. "We 
fear they are going to do away with appeals on controversial projects in the

future. They haven't indicated what the threshold is that they'll use, and 
why this is the exception and not the rule."
Mr. Ekey said the scope of the plan was excessive, with the number of board 
feet being more than all timber logged in the Bitterroot over the last 15 
"Some restoration projects in this are good, but we don't want them to use 
those good restoration projects as an excuse to go in and do more damage to 
the landscape through logging," he said.
Doug Honnold, a lawyer with EarthJustice, a nonprofit law firm representing 
the two environmental groups going to court, the Wilderness Society and 
American Wildlands, is seeking an immediate injunction to block the sale. He

said the Department of Justice lawyers had agreed not to start the sale
noon Wednesday.
"It buys us 36 hours," Mr. Honnold said. "But if the Forest Service is not 
willing to allow the public to take administrative appeals, we will take
issue to a federal judge and let him decide."
His legal argument is focused solely on the appeals process and does not
up the environmental issues. 
The service filed its first draft environmental impact statement on May 24 
and a final one on Oct. 10. It then modified its proposal and issued its 
decision today. The only formal comment period was in May, "long before the 
real nuts and bolts of what they were planning to do was disclosed," Mr. 
Honnold said.

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