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Posted by: atowhee | September 9, 2018

JACKSON COUNTY CASCADES–SAVE THE TREES, PLEASE

I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning in the publicly-owned forests of the southern Cascades.  With me was attorney Brodia (yes, named for the wildflower) Minter of KS Wild.

orangeIn the forest we saw narrow orange lines of paint around large trees that would be spared the saw, often surrounded by dozens of trees of all sizes that would be cut.  Saplings would likely be mowed down just to clear a path for log processing.  Canopy in the logged forests would be reduced to almost nothing.  That would eliminate Great Gray Owls, Goshawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Warblers and any other species needing dense canopy for nesting.  These are birds that cannot nest in a sapling, a manzanita or at low height.  Near the lake nest trees of Bald Eagle and Osprey could easily be taken down. BLM’s new logging and land management plan no longer surveys for goshawk or GGO nest sites. While looking at Griffin Half Moon timber sale units we found one GGO nest tree within a cut zone. In that forest patch scheduled to be auctioned off for logging stood a thirty foot high conifer trunk, broken off, rotted center…there a pair of Great Gray Owls nested and fledged two young this summer.  Most of the trees around that nest spar are slated for cutting.  The BLM has prioritized increasing fire hazards instead of conserving the bird diversity around Howard Prairie. In just a short time in the units the birds I observed included 2 Sandhill crane couples displaying their  rust-stained adult feathers…Gray Jays…ravens..red-tailed hawks, juncos, GC Kinglets, RB Nuthatches, Mtn and Western Bluebirds, many Vesper Sparrows in the big meadows…lots of Pileated perforated trunks.  So the current version of the BLM is  bending to the political tenor in Washington DC–cut trees on public land for private profit. To hell with the wildlife.  Until this new version of logging rules the Great Gray Owl (and goshawk) got nest site protection.  That has been discontinued.

There is a BLM regulation that trees of a certain size are supposed to be spared…we measured this big conifer, more than triple the supposedly safe size…yet it was marked for removal.  And the markings are done by BLM employees, not private loggers.  This is a tree of more than ten foot circumference, older than any of us humans, respect for our elders maybe? tree1The blue line means it is specifically targeted.tree2tree3

The Saturday morning trip was for interested citizens to see, learn and perhaps lend their voices to try to halt the planned auction of hundreds of acres of regenerated forest.  If the logging goes ahead the replanting would be largely quick-growing Douglas-fir, not a diverse forest. In addition to shrubs and undergrowth, we counted several conifer species in the forests to be marketed–cedar, Doug-fir, white fire, sugar pine, ponderosa, western yew, Jeffrey pine.  Most of these forests are in the vicinity of Howard Prairie Reservoir, which incidentally is very low, with wide expanses of former lake bottom now mountain grassland.2cran2cran-bFound forest art:forest artWe saw a few deer, no elk, least chipmunks, golden-mantled ground squirrel…but cattle out-numbered all other ground animals.  I swore off beef one more time…forest cowLogging would destroy all the old “worthless” trunks, like this one that has been feeding the local Pileated Woodpeckers for a long time…nothing like fresh beetle for breakfast:pil trnkThis dazzled young Red-tail was on fence post right along Dead Indian Memorial for a log time…his nearby parents were muttering, “I told that kid not to…”

At the end of that Saturday trip our car saw a Red-tail dive down at a Golden Eagle soaring above the steep ridge south of MP 5 on Dead Indian Memorial Road.  No harm done but the eagle then dropped down below the ridge line and disappeared against the forest foliage background.

At 4600 feet the smoke was nearly as bad as in the Rogue Valley…here is my shot of a Mountain Bluebird on a waisted tree trunk…and the haze is forest fire smoke.

mb on waisted trunkAshland:

 

An appropriate sign along I-5 as the smoke grew worse and worse as I headed south (that day I-5 was closed in northern California due to a large fire south of Mt. Shasta):smok

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Responses

  1. Good info, but no direction for us to take action………. You know we ignorant folks will only act when led to water. Which non-profit group or government agency (yuck) do we call? Thanks,m a


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