Umpqua Nat'l Forest Threatens the 7,000+ Acre Fairview Inventoried Roadless Area

Update: The lawsuit to stop the logging of the Quartz timber sale was thrown out by Federal district judge and the logging and roadbuilding started in 2018 through 2019. Over 1,000 acres have been or will be logged out and the 7,000+ acre Fairview Roadless Area will be further degraded and encroached reducing the chances it will ever be designated official Wilderness. 

The Umpqua Nat’l Forest has made their decision to log the 1,000 + acre Quartz Timber Sale in the Cottage Grove District of the Umpqua National Forest. Some units of the Quartz sale are inside the 7,000+ acre Fairview Creek Roadless Area up Sharps Creek road southeast of Cottage Grove some 20 miles.  The Forest Service claims any area that is within a 1/4 mile of a road bordering the roadless area is available for logging.  See our map below (Disclaimer: this is a rough estimation of units and RA boundaries.) of some units that “border” are actually inside the roadless area boundaries.

The sale is comprised of thousands of legacy old growth trees up to 500 years old. See Pics below of one unit with legacy ancient trees.

Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (NEST) red tree vole volunteer climbers have spent many weeks (maybe months) since 2014 climbing in the units finding red tree vole nests. However, the Umpqua National Forest is going to take advantage of a loophole in the Survey and Manage laws to avoid protecting the red tree vole NEST found.

The red tree vole is an arboreal small mammal about the size of a small hamster that lives its entire life in the canopy of mature and old growth Douglas fir trees. It's only food is the needles of the Douglas fir. It's one of the main food sources for the Northern Spotted owl which is listed Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The red tree voles are protected under the Northwest Forest Plan's Survey and Manage provisions. The vole are afforded 10 acres for every active red tree vole nest. Agencies and the timber industry have been trying to abolish the Survey and Manage Provisions since their inception and adoption since 1994. The loophole described below was part of the effort to get rid of the voles protections

The Umpqua is claiming that more than 50 red tree vole nests are "Non High Priority” (NHP) site designations which more or less declares that they think there are too many red tree voles in the area and thus don’t need to protect all of them in the timber sale units. "The District’s analysis concluded that NHP designation was appropriate in this case, and this finding received concurrence from the necessary agencies as directed in the 2001 Survey and Manage ROD.”

Here is a link to the Documents for the Quartz timber sale.

Groups like Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, and Many River Group Sierra Club need to hear from Cottage Grove folks as well as anyone else who knows the area regarding how special this place is, their concerns about this logging, and how folks can find out more to stop the sale from moving forward. This will help local NGOs with the resources to decide to follow up with an adequate appeal and future litigation. I’m afraid if they don’t hear from enough folks about the Quartz project they may not file a strong appeal and lawsuit.

Shannon Wilson,
Sep 1, 2017, 11:46 AM