Nedsbar Timber Sale: A threat to wildlands in the Applegate Valley
|The forested portions of Trillium Mountain in the Dakubetede Roadless Area are being proposed for logging in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. This photo was taken from the popular Sterling Ditch Trail where Trillium Mountain dominates the skyline for many miles. Commercial logging units in the Dakubetede Roadless Area should be canceled and the area protected for its scenic, recreational and ecological values.|
The Medford District BLM has recently proposed a large timber sale in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon. This is the result of recent litigation won by Swanson-Superior Lumber based in Glendale, Oregon. The Medford District BLM has been given a court order, currently under appeal, to drastically increase timber production for corporate logging interests at the expense of regional wildlands, communities and wildlife. In response to the litigation the agency proposed the Nedsbar Timber Sale, encompassing 3,400 acres, or 5 square miles of proposed units spread across much of the Little Applegate Valley and a portion of the Upper Applegate Valley.
Proposed project prescriptions include regeneration logging (i.e. clearcut logging), disease management and new road construction. Regeneration prescriptions would require retention of only 16-25 trees per acre, while disease management prescriptions would require retention of only 6-8 trees per acre. These proposed forms of clearcut logging would remove large, fire-resistant trees and open up currently closed-canopy forests to encourage the “regeneration” of young trees in the understory.
The BLM’s Scoping Notice for the project identifies no objectives beyond timber management, leaving many public
resources and important forest management objectives outside the purpose and
need of the proposed project. The project does not
contain management objectives that include a broad range of forest values, including
the maintenance and recovery of threatened or endangered species, the retention of late successional
characteristics, the management of fire/fuel hazards, or the maintenance and
recovery of watershed values such as fisheries and water quality. The Little Applegate River is designated a key
watershed for salmon habitat. Given this, along with the large amount of Wildland Urban Interface located in the planning area, the region’s high biodiversity, wildland values,
and unique plant communities, this singular focus fails to serve the public interest.
Regeneration and Disease Management Logging
The Little Applegate River is the driest watershed
west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Regeneration logging has often
historically led to reforestation failures and heavy fuel loads due to an
increase in highly flammable activity slash, the “regeneration” of young trees in the understory, and a vigorous shrub and
hardwood response. Given the dry nature of the Little Applegate watershed, these issues associated with regeneration logging will only be compounded. The use of regeneration, disease management, and/or overstory removal
prescriptions will have negative impacts to the region’s fire/fuel hazard,
forest health concerns, Endangered Species Act (ESA) habitat values, and late successional
characteristics. These prescriptions will also lead to increased wind exposure,
sun exposure, and thus decreased soil moisture, drought stress and increased
fire risks. All forms of regeneration and disease management logging proposed in the Nedsbar Timber Sale should be canceled.
It appears that the BLM will be proposing new road construction to access commercial timber units for the Nedsbar Timber Sale. New road construction could impact the Boaz Mountain, Dakubetede and Buncom Roadless Areas. All new road construction should be opposed to retain wildland characteristics and reduce watershed impacts.
|A map of proposed units in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Light Blue units are proposed for helicopter logging. Purple units are proposed far cable logging, green units are tractor logging, and the brownish/pinkish units are proposed, non-commercial fuel reduction units.|
Impact to wildland habitats, roadless areas, and proposed Primitive Areas
Public trust and Collaborative Efforts
|The forested portions of the ridge in the foreground would be logged in the Nedsbar Timber Sale.|
An opportunity to get involved
A public meeting is being hosted by the BLM to discuss the Nedsbar Timber Sale with the local community. This is our opportunity to comment and raise concerns about the project and its proposed prescriptions. Please consider attending this important meeting and speaking on behalf of the recreational economy, forests, wildlands, and streams of the Applegate Valley.