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AUDIO FILE: Bark Field Trip to Polallie Cooper Timber Sale

The Monthly Bark Field Trip for April was to the Pollalie-Cooper Timber Sale, located about 15 miles south of Hood River. This sale consists of three sales, Tartan, Clan and Kilt, which have been challenged by Bark, as lead plaintiff, in court.
Spring slowly emerging
Spring slowly emerging
Spring peeking through
Spring peeking through
previously logged area
previously logged area
Plant Identification
Plant Identification
A total of 11 people attended the hike, which was led by Sandi Scheinberg, Executive Director of Bark.
Besides these timber sales, the area is threatened by a proposed development by Mt Hood Meadows, who are seeking to build a four-season destination resort and expand the Cooper Spur Ski Area right in the middle of a key deer and elk migration corridor.
According to Sandi, Bark has challenged the Polallie-Cooper sales for two reasons. The first is that the Forest Service has "failed to include any cumulative effects analysis considering the proposal for a 450 unit resort, nor an expanded ski area. And they are required in their environmental review, to look at any kind of effect to anything happening nearby. But they didn't include any of those things, as if having almost a 900 acre logging project next to a massive resort development, next to a dramatically scaled up ski area would not have any cumulative effects. So, we sued to stop the timber sale, and said that you need to analyze this, at a minimum, what the effects of this thing will be...."
And the second main reason they sued to stop the sale was that, they have failed to consider all the new and available science on fire. Much of the information Sandi provided during the hike had to do with the theme of fire and fire prevention, which is often used to justify the need for logging.
There was much to learn, and not just about the timber sales and Forest Service management practices. Besides these subjects, Sandi spoke about how snags provide habitat for forest creatures; how down woodey debris contributes to the building of soils and fertility and absorb water for slow release to the forest during the drier seasons; she identified various plant and tree species and spoke at length about the different habitat these species need, and the habitat they likewise provide to the overall balance of being that is the forest.
This area is a transitional zone, between the wet northwest fir forests and the drier, east of the Cascades pine forests. Here, both tree species exist, often side by side, and provide a unique landscape and ecosystem.
Many other groups, both in Portland and on the mountain are seeking to protect this fragile area from these timber sales and future development. For information and to find out how you may assist in this effort go to Cooper Spur Wild And Free Coalition
This 18 minue audio file features excerpts from the Polallie-Cooper hike.

Polallie-Cooper Field Trip

homepage: homepage: http://www.PhilosopherSeed.org

Comments on this critical to stop timber sale 11.Apr.2005 12:08


Much thanks to BARK for continuing there awesome work and for posting the information. I have groundtruthed the timber sale in 2003. I am posting comments I wrote to the Forest Service so that people could get another perspective on the area and the sale. Some of the sale stats, such as miles of road proposed to be built, may have changed since the project was re-proposed, but largely I think it remains the same. This area is truly phenonmenal, and I hope you will engage from here on out to make sure this part of our National Forests is not destroyed.

This letter is regarding the Polallie-Cooper timber sale. I have personally visited this timber sale area. I am a native of Oregon and I care greatly for our public lands. What I found was an impressive diversity of tree species, old growth groves, a remote feeling, and plentiful signs of numerous species of wildlife. There are numerous reasons why I believe this timber sale should be dropped.
This area of Mt. Hood is one of the wildest areas remaining. For this reason alone, I feel a great deal of passion for this area. I grew up in Portland and the Mt. Hood National Forest is embedded in my memory. As I have grown, wild places and wildlife have become so important to me, and realizing the very strong connection that I have between culture, and the remaining wild lands is profound. The Mt. Hood National Forest has been cut over at an alarming rate. Once Mt. Hood was considered for National Park status, and now it is far degraded from the state it was in at that time. We need to preserve the area of the Polallie-Cooper timber sale, and begin exploring ways to expand and connect the remaining wild areas of the Mt. Hood National Forest.
A key wildlife migratory corridor passes through this area and this corridor will be adversely affected by the Pollalie-Cooper timber sale. I personally experienced the many animal trails and old snags currently being used by wildlife. Old growth snags in Unit 10 of the Kilt timber sale showed Pileated Woodpecker foraging, an old-growth indicator species. I found many fresh wildlife trails used by deer and elk. These trails were well established indicating these animals commonly migrate through this area. There are many sensitive wildlife species that I have great concern for like the Wolverine and Pine Martin. I have spent two years tracking these animals with CascadiaWild!. These are the animals we are thrilled to look for, and we must be very conscious in protecting them so that we can continue to share experiences with them in the future. If you know that the Pollalie-Cooper timber sale will negatively affect wildlife species, you must consider whether this project is worth it at all. After this area is cut, the wildlife will be left with a degraded ecosystem. This is unjust, and incorrect management of the public lands that were designated to sustain natural processes and wildlife in perpetuity. This is a very important wildlife corridor and protection of known places like this is what I am asking you to manage our public lands for. The preservation of habitat and preservation of species is top priority.
The construction of 44 new miles of roads will further degrade the habitat of Mt. Hood National Forest. This will have direct impacts on the wildlife species that are using this area. The forests of Mt. Hood are heavily fragmented and interior habitat is in shortage. The Polallie-Cooper timber is planned in one of the Mt. Hoods wilder areas, so this destructive trend of fragmenting habitat and marginalizing wildlife will continue. Mt. hood is missing the interior habitat that is needed to preserve our native species. We must stop this trend and I ask you to pull these sales because they continue the trend of degrading our national forests for short-term gain. The Mt. Hood National Forest presently has some 3182 miles of single lane roads that average 14-16 feet in width. I ask you to cancel this project for the great expense to the natural ecosystem that this project proposes. We need to move forward with wise management techniques based on the understanding we have achieved through our past errors. Instead this timber sale forces the wrong effects onto the forest, onto the public lands, and I ask you to drop these timber sales before the public, the forest, the wildlife, suffer the consequences.
I am concerned about the regeneration of this area. The East side of Mt. hood is much drier as is evident from the species composition. Global warming has all ready changed the conditions from when the species currently present, germinated. Many of these species may not be able to regenerate, especially under the extreme conditions and disturbance caused by regeneration harvest. The increased light on the forest floor and increasing temperatures could dry out soils and desiccate seedlings. This is an unnatural progression and again is in conflict with the mission of our public lands, to preserve the natural integrity and the original diversity of these lands. The Polallie-Cooper must be dropped to meet this mission.
The Polallie-Cooper timber sale could adversely affect the water of the Crystal Springs drinking watershed, and also the Steelhead and Cutthroat trout that do not need any more adverse impacts thrown at them. I do not want to see a wild area with so much importance to the health of the Mt. Hood National Forest laid to waste, turned sterile, heavily impacted and so forth. The process of turning what is beyond monetary value into a "timber sale" that robs the public of these priceless benefits that the National Forests provide must halt. Economically, public lands are worth much more to us in a state that provides fresh water and clean air, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreation for our growing western cities. Unit 12 of the Kilt planning area also has sensitive wet areas. This area is very fragile and has pockets of sensitive plants. The road-building, logging, and subsequent exposure will surely compromise the intricacies of these wet areas. I ask you to safeguard these wet areas and the interests of wildlife by pulling this timber sale.
Far too many of the existing old growth trees in this area are marked for cut. In unit 12 of Kilt, I found old growth Ponderosa Pine, Old Growth Cedars, Western White Pine, Larch and Douglas fir. As I mentioned above I was very impressed by the diversity of tree species in this area. This is really a unique ecosystem and it is not easy to find a similar mixture of species. We should protect this forest because it may not re-grow the same way after such a huge and unnatural disturbance. I am opposed to the logging of old growth forests on public lands and ask you to drop the Polallie-Cooper timber sale. In unit 4 there were more old growth trees marked for cut. These trees I have pointed out are some of the largest trees in these units. While they may enhance the value of this timber sale, they are currently enhancing the wildlife habitat, the canopy structure, the function of this forest ecosystem, and the recreation value of this area. Protect these old growth trees because they are on our public land, and we can make the decision to save what's left. Our future will be brighter if we do!