Deschutes Nat'l Forest Destroys Ancient Forest Pringle Falls Reserve!

The EXF Timber Sale in the Deschutes Nat'l Forest was touted a model fire fuels and forest 
restoration project.
A new video released reveals how the Pringle Falls Experimental Ancient Forest Reserve is now a 
degraded landscape that may never recover in the new era of climate chaos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiyu_TjvzQ
Here is a Guest Opinion written by the Director of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project 
in the local Bend newspaper after a Federal Count ruled against their EXF lawsuit.

EXF/Pringle Falls Vegetation Management Project

EXF Snow RoadEXF Snow Road, Photo by Larry PenningtonEXF Cinder Cone EXF Cinder Cone, Photo by Larry PenningtonEXF White FirEXF Shimmering Fir, Photo by Larry PenningtoThis project is located within the Lookout Mountain unit of the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest (PFEF). The PFEF is located about 30 miles southwest of Bend and includes approximately 25,000 acres in the Crane Prairie watershed and 40,000 acres in the Fall River watershed. As authorized by the Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) the project authorizes commercial logging and thinning on approximately 2,554 acres; "to be followed by brush mowing and prescribed burning in the lookout Mountain Unit of the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest." The decision authorizes two Forest Plan amendments authorizing logging in Late and Old Structure forests (LOS) in areas that are below their Historical Range of Variability (HRV); and authorizing logging of inherently fire-resistant mature and old trees greater than 21” dbh. The project would commercially log and remove 28 million board feet of “timber” (MMBF) from the project area’s rare naturally regenerated ecologically intact ponderosa pine and mixed conifer old growth forest ecosystems. The complete Forest Service description of this project is available at EXF Vegetation Management Project, including the Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement, and project maps. More information on Experimental Forests and the Pacific Northwest Research Station can be found atPacific Northwest Research Station - Experimental Forests.

The Sierra Club in collaboration with Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project and Cascadia Wildlands appealled this project to Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. Our appeal was based on the following project environmental deficiencies as described in the FEIS and ROD:

  • The ROD acknowledges that timber economics apparently played a role in alternative development and the decision, claiming that “Jobs associated with implementation that will be created or maintained number approximately 268 (FEIS p. 242). We feel this is an important contribution to the region’s economy.” However, the EIS lacks an objective assessment of relevant economic data to credibly support this claim.
  • The EIS failure to quantify and address non-timber economic contributions in an area where natural resource founded tourism employs the highest number of people, and is over four times greater than wood products and associated employment.
  • The project purports to conduct scientific research, however the EIS fails to objectively establish a valid need for research that duplicates already available scientific information.
  • The project’s planned logging far exceeds scientifically reasonable actions for achieving the project’s purported fire and insect risk reductions.
  • Removal of mature and old fire resistant trees, excessive thinning in mixed conifer forest habitat, and widespread use of heavy machinery would adversely impact forest ecology; biodiversity; vegetation; soils; wildlife, avian, and botanical species of concern populations and habitat.

The Lookout Mountain area is a unique reserve of relatively undisturbed forest and of larger orange-bark Ponderosa pine stands that have been left fairly intact despite multiple experiments. Yet, the EXF project proposes to heavily log almost all of that section of the Experimental Forest. Further, for any fire risk or pine bark beetle epidemic risk to be averted, the forest would have to be subjected on a regular basis to maintenance thinning and burning, continuing the human alteration of the stands and eliminating many otherwise unique research opportunities. The full text of our appeal can be read at EXF ROD and FEIS Appeal.

Unfortunately, the Regional Forester has decided to reject our appeal. The Sierra Club has decided not to pursue a legal appeal in the courts. As of now, the project in EXF is proceeding as determined by the Record of Decision.  (12-30-10)


Other Deschutes NF Projects up to 2012 via Juniper Group.

https://oregon2.sierraclub.org/juniper-group/library/deschutes-arch

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