Nedsbar Timber Sale: Bald Mountain Units
|The view south from Bald Mountain and across the Little Applegate River watershed from the proposed Jack-Ash Trail. This area is one of the scenic highlights of this proposed long distance hiking trail that would connect the communities of Ashland and Jacksonville, Oregon. The BLM has proposed to log directly adjacent to the proposed Jack-Ash Trail on Bald Mountain. All logging units on Bald Mountain should be canceled. These forests provide a larger contribution to our quality of life and economy as standing forests than they do logged off and sent to the mill.|
The Bald Mountain area is a wild and beautiful region located at the headwaters of the Little Applegate River. The mountain supports a distinct variety of plant communities, including open and grassy balds, shrub fields, rock outcrops, old-growth forest, late seral forest and small sections of oak woodland. The mountain is also an important connectivity corridor, connecting the high elevation McDonald Peak Roadless Area near Wagner Butte with the Dakubetede Roadless Area at low elevations in the Little Applegate Valley. The old-growth forests in the Bald Mountain area allow late-seral
species such as the Pacific fisher and northern spotted owl to disperse
across the landscape from high to low elevations and from roadless
wildland to roadless wildland.
|Trees marked for removal on the proposed Jack-Ash Trail.|
The area is also highly valued by local residents and recreational enthusiasts. The slopes of Bald Mountain are scenic and somewhat remote, but also very well loved. The Jack-Ash Trail — a long distance hiking trail designed to link the communities of Jacksonville and Ashland — is proposed to be located on the high ridgeline, following the route of the historic Front Range Trail. The Front Range Trail was historically routed across Bald Mountain to provide access to ranchers, miners, and the fire lookout on Anderson Butte. Today it is a somewhat obscure, but an increasingly popular hiking trail.
|The trees marked white for removal would be logged in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Trees over 40″ diameter are proposed for removal, which would damage old-growth characteristics and important connectivity habitat for the
Pacific fisher and northern spotted owl.
The BLM is proposing to log old, complex forest on the south face of Bald Mountain in the Nedsbar Timber Sale, with trees marked for removal directly adjacent to the proposed Jack-Ash Trail. The proposed logging would heavily impact one of the most scenic portions of the trail, degrading the recreational experience of trail users for generations to come.
The Jack-Ash Trail is destined to become a thoroughfare for non-motorized recreationalists, yet the BLM has proposed heavy industrial logging in the trail’s most spectacular old-growth forest on Bald Mountain. The extensive industrial logging proposed in the Nedsbar Timber Sale would impact the trail’s forests and viewshed. The impact to the popular Sterling Ditch Trail would also be significant, marring large portions of the trail’s viewshed with Nedsbar logging units.
|Trees marked white would be logged in the Nedsbar Timber Sale.|
The forests of Bald Mountain are more productive than most of the stands proposed for logging in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Being slightly higher in elevation, the stand supports higher precipitation and fairly productive soils. Much of the stand consists of large, well-spaced Douglas fir trees mixed with white fir and a few scattered ponderosa pine, along with thickets of serviceberry and rocky outcrops.
Forests in the area support the physical characteristics and stand structures that allow for exceptional fire resiliency. A closed canopy of massive, old trees rises above the forest floor, suppressing understory growth and inhibiting the development of dense understory fuel loads. Trees are relatively well spaced, support high canopies, and thick insulating bark. They are naturally fire resilient and should be maintained in that condition.
|Complex and multi-layered northern spotted owl habitat on Bald Mountain proposed for logging in the Nedsbar Timber Sale unit 28-10A.|
Roughly half of the 65 acres proposed for logging on Bald Mountain’s southern face is identified by the BLM as roosting and foraging habitat for the northern spotted owl. Much of the remainder is dispersal habitat. Two northern spotted owl nest sites are found nearby and the owls likely forage at least occasionally in the area. It is highly likely that the Pacific fisher is also found in the area and that both deer and elk utilize the forest as important thermal cover on cold winter nights. Black bear, cougar, bobcat, and countless other creatures call this place home and depend on its beautiful old forests for habitat.
|A beautiful stand of large, old trees marked for logging on the south face of Bald Mountain in unit 28-10A.|
The units on Bald Mountain are likely some of the worst in the entire Nedsbar Timber Sale. Trees over 40″ in diameter are marked for removal. In fact, in units 28-10A and 28-10B, the BLM has marked 316 trees over 24″ in diameter for removal in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Complex, old, fire-resistant stands would be helicopter logged to between 40%-60% canopy cover, leading to an increase in understory fuels. Many old snags would be removed as safety hazards in helicopter yarding operations. The old-growth characteristics of the stand would be heavily impacted, canopies seriously compromised and recreational opportunities degraded by proposed BLM logging treatments.
graph from their 1993 document “Seral Stage Vegetation of the Little
Applegate Valley.” Seral stage classes refer to stand age: early seral
is younger forest, mid seral is middle-aged forest, and late seral is
Units 28-10A, 28-10B, 28-10C, and 28-11B should not be logged. In fact, the units should be canceled from the Nedsbar Timber Sale. They are a remnant of complex, old forests that once covered nearly half the Little Applegate Watershed. With less than 15% remaining, it is time for the BLM to reform their timber program, stop logging old-growth trees and support rural communities by reducing fuels, providing recreational opportunities, contributing to the quality of life in rural areas, and learn to be good neighbors. Stop Nedsbar!
What can you do:
- Consider sending an email to the BLM and ask them to drop the controversial units across the Nedsbar Timber Sale, and particularly in the Bald Mountain area.
- Consider reading these blog posts and use what you have learned to write an official public comment this spring when the Environmental Assessment is released to the public.
- Consider making a donation to support the work of Klamath Forest Alliance in the Applegate Valley.
Krisit Mastrofini, Assistant Field Manager,
Diane Parry, Acting Field Manager
Dayne Barron, District Manager
Jerome Perez, State Director
|The units identified
in this post are circled in black. You can see the density of timber sale units
in the immediate area, potentially creating a significant increase in fuel
hazards due to canopy reduction, increased logging slash, shrubby in-growth,
and the logging of large, fire resistant trees.
|A view across Bald Mountain from the proposed Jack-Ash Trail. The Nedsbar Timber Sale units would log the forest in the foreground to between 40% and 60% canopy cover. To reach these canopy cover targets many large, highly scenic, fire resistant trees would be removed.|
A photo of Bald Mountain from the
Little Applegate River canyon. The proposed Jack-Ash Trail will traverse the
ridgeline from Bald Mountain through the top of the Nedsbar Timber Sale units
circled in red in the photo above.
|A beautiful old grove marked for logging on Bald Mountain.|
|A grouping of large old trees marked for removal in unit 28-10A.|
|The marking guidelines for the Nedsbar Timber Sale state that the “preference is to retain trees with old-growth characteristics.” Clearly this tree, over 40″ in diameter and marked for removal, is one of the older trees in this old-growth stand.|
|A heavy mark in unit 28-10A. Trees marked white would be removed in the proposed logging operations. This stand is proposed to be logged to 40% canopy cover. The forests of
Bald Mountain are located at higher elevations than any other in the
Nedsbar Timber Sale. Heavy snow loads, high winds, and the proposed canopy
reduction will likely lead to windthrow and snowdowned trees, especially in these higher elevation stands. This
problem is evident at much lower elevations in the recently cut
O’Lickety Timber Sale, where canopy conditions continue to deteriorate
from the impacts of windthrow and logging-induced mortality.
|Large Doug fir marked in unit 28-11. In this unit the BLM marked trees yellow as “leave” trees, meaning these large fir marked blue would be removed.|
|More large trees marked for removal in the Bald Mountain Roadless Area.|
|The marking guidelines for the Nedsbar Timber Sale encourage the retention of clumps or groupings of old trees. Yet, in many places in the Nedsbar Timber Sale, these groupings are proposed to be compromised by removing old tree cohorts. Old tree groupings should be retained in all circumstances to protect habitat values and maintain fire adapted stand structure.|
|A view north from Bald Mountain and the Jack-Ash Trail across the Rogue Valley to the Cascade Mountains. The Bald Mountain area is wild yet accessible, making it a recreational resource for the communities of both the Rogue and Applegate Valleys. The area offers more to our regional economy as intact ancient forest than it does as logs shipped to the mill. We must take a long-term approach to economic development in the eastern Siskiyou Mountains, prioritizing recreational uses over industrial resource extraction. This will preserve solitude and our region’s natural beauty as urban areas in the Rogue Valley grow and expand. Generations of local residents will enjoy these mountains if they remain wild. Short-term profits are not worth the impact to our quality of life and the quality of wildlands that surround us. Stop Nedsbar!|