Forest lands, climate activist groups hold public lands meeting

Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology held a meeting at Springfield City Hall to discuss timber sales and local forest management.

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 10:18 AM
Updated: Apr 19, 2019 10:20 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Activist groups held a meeting with the Springfield community to discuss timber sales, such as the purchase of the Thurston Hills "Pedal Power" sale.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold 394 acres of timber in the Thurston Hills area to Seneca Jones Timber Company in September for just over $1 million.

In a press release, Seneca said, in part: "The BLM crafted a dynamic plan that includes areas of riparian reserve around streams, late-successional reserve around an older stand, dozens of wildlife trees left throughout the harvest, and an untouched buffer area near a neighboring property."

On Thursday night, Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology held a meeting at Springfield City Hall to discuss timber sales, local forest management and the Pedal Power sale, specifically.

With about 70 people in attendance, those groups presented their concerns about the sale, saying they believe a clear cut of about 100 acres in the area would cause an increased fire hazard and hurt recreation.

The BLM said their current management plan does not allow them to clear cut, and that they have not done so in over 25 years.

Sam Krop with Cascadia Wildlands said all they've done is make small changes in their management plans.

"Despite the fact that they can change from logging 100 percent to logging 95 percent of the trees or 94 percent of the trees, a clear cut is a clear cut," Krop said.

KEZI spoke with Thurston Hills area residents, who said they didn't find out about the sale until it was nearly completed.

"When we found out about this, it was shock and frustration and fear," said area resident Kebrhea Cuellar. "There is a very real level of fear right now for a lot of us."

Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild have filed a lawsuit against the BLM for this timber sale, and activists with Cascadia Wildlands said the next steps in their court case won't be happening until July.

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