[NOTE – Three of big timber’s highest ranking lapdogs, now retired National Forest Supervisors, all of whom diligently stripped the Willamette & other NFs of all the trees they could even if they broke the law to do it, with their editorial this morning once again obediently stand up for more logging of our already extremely overcut and hammered McKenzie River forest and watershed. Aiming for another 100,000 log truck loads or more.  Anyone can go see the war zone of stump graveyards they’ve left behind.  The muddy or blownout and scoured creeks and streams.  The eroded hillsides.  The loss of our most important class 3 and 4 streams.  Anyone can see for themselves, Anyone can get on Google Earth and Bing Maps for a computerized aerial flyover and see for themselves. How many times do our creeks and hillsides blowout?  How many times have Quartz Creek, Horse Creek, or Wycoff Creek blown out?  Most of all the major slide events are related directly and indirectly to logging roads and heavy logging and clearcuts.  And they know it.   Most of the clearcuts and logging roads in the steep slope backcountry blowout 10-15 years after the logging as the root systems decay at relatively the same rate and they all know it. For hundreds of years they’ve known it but ignored the facts or just lied about it to serve their masters, the very wealthy timber barons who got rich by using bribery and extortion to buy up our political representatives and then dishonestly and fraudulently stripped Oregon and rest of the PNW of our Commonwealth of priceless and irreplaceable natural capital assets, the forests of trees and the soil, air and water they produce.  They don’t know how to grow a forest.  They never have and they never will.  They only destroy.   And as they liquidate and destroy 95% of US forests and 70% of the world’s forests so do they also destroy our hopes of survival not only for ourselves but for all life on Earth.. Lost to their rabid lust and greed for ever more money and to hell with the consequences.  They could care less and centuries of history prove it.  It’s no wonder some indigenous tribes call us the termite people.  I can think of other terms that are honest and true but not so nice.  TGH]

McKenzie plan is a practical response to area’s changes

By Steve Mealey, Mike Kerrick and Zane Smith

Published: (Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 05:01AM) Today

 

The McKenzie River Ranger District’s Goose Project and associated issues (guest viewpoints, March 31 and April 12) have much to teach us about changes in forest landscapes and rural communities’ adaptations to them.

 

A recent U.S. Forest Service map shows that most of more than 0.5 million forest acres on the McKenzie district are at moderate risk of loss or damage to key ecosystem components (water, soil and wildlife habitat) from uncharacteristic wildfire — larger and hotter fires than normal.

 

These fires resulted from increasing fuels and tree densities, as we observed at the B&B fire of 2003, the Lake George fire of 2006, the Scott Mountain fire of 2010 and last year’s Shadow Mountain fires. The map also shows significant areas near Blue River and Mc­Kenzie Bridge where risks of such loss or damage are high.

 

That is consistent with a current trend in Oregon’s more than 18 million acres of federal forest, where most are considered at risk of uncharacteristic wildfire. And nearly 40 percent (the drier forest lands) are considered at high risk, a situation that is predicted to worsen with our warming climate.

 

In the upper Mc­Kenzie Valley, more than the forest landscape is changing. An analysis of survey respondents interviewed as part of the 2011 McKenzie School District strategic planning process included the following: “Without exception, all survey respondents cited the poor financial state of the district as a major concern.”

 

Detailed responses on the issue cited a decline in state funding, the poor economy and the depressed economic state of the area, declining enrollment, and the lack of solid employment opportunities for residents.

 

The school district’s strategic plan recognizes the critical funding situation that must be addressed immediately, a problem compounded by the expense of operating a system designed to serve 500 to 600 students with a current enrollment of 208, two-thirds below capacity. Current enrollment is about 53 percent less than in 1990.

 

The plight of the Mc­Kenzie schools is like that of many others hurt by dramatic cutbacks in federal timber harvests in the early 1990s, made to protect the northern spotted owl and other federally protected species.

 

By 2000, with the virtual elimination of federal timber programs and payments to schools and the subsequent decline in payments from the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-­determination Act of 2000, McKenzie schools and the community they serve struggle to cope socially and economically.

 

The Goose Project is a constructive response to changed local conditions. Rather than being driven mostly by past requirements to meet timber targets, the project is an attempt to adapt forest management to local ecological, social and economic change and challenges.

 

The stated purposes of the project include reducing hazardous fuels in the McKenzie Bridge wildland-­urban interface and providing a sustainable supply of timber products through forest thinning.

Protection of churches, homes and businesses is achieved through commercial and noncommercial thinning where federal lands abut private land and homes. “No cut” buffers are left along streams, with thinning beyond.

 

No commercial timber harvest occurs along or near the Mc­Kenzie River. Only young and middle age trees (less than 120 years old) are thinned.

 

The project meets the general ecological forest management standard set by Richard Waring, a distinguished ecologist at Oregon State University, who states: “To adapt to climate change, we need to keep a mix of species and thin often to keep the basal area and leaf area below the maximum that the site can support.”

 

This project will provide an estimated 38 million board feet of timber, with revenue estimated at $6 million, supporting local jobs and schools.

 

Public participation was an important part of the project, beginning with a public field trip on June 2, 2009, another public meeting last March 12, and other required activities.

 

Recent opposition to the Goose Project has been expressed primarily through two on-line petitions: a website (Save McKenzie Bridge), a Forest Service public meeting and newspaper opinion pieces. Some of the opposition’s language appears harsh and reminiscent of “timber wars” arguments of the 1980s and 1990s.

 

Meanwhile, the Mc­Kenzie district remains committed to the Goose Project while equally committed to dialogue with all stakeholders during its implementation.

 

Clearly the district represents an agency attempting to move on from a primarily target-driven production model of the early 1990s and before to a local, problem-solving model adapting to change through forest restoration and community support — all while complying with the Northwest Forest Plan.

 

It’s past time for all to leave the polarizing “timber wars” rhetoric behind and join in constructive and professional discussions about effective adaptation of forest management to current and future ecological, social and economic challenges.

 

The phrase “caring for the land and serving people” captures the Forest Service mission. We are certain the completed Goose Project will be an excellent example of that mission carried out.

 

Steve Mealey of Leaburg, Mike Kerrick of Leaburg and Zane Smith of Springfield are retired U.S. Forest Service forest supervisors. Kerrick and Smith were supervisors on the Willamette National Forest.

 

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  • pogowasright

     I would respectfully submit that Steve Mealey, Michael Kerrick and Zane Smith are all looking in the rear view mirror, and do not see the present nor the future clearly.

    When Michael Kerrick was supervisor he once had a sign up in his office 1 billion board feet or bust, a true timber beast. Fortunately the Willamette rarely got beyond 700 million board feet, a number still way too high and  legacy we continue to deal with in terms of disease and insect prone and subsequent cataclysmic fire prone even age stands. It’s always interesting that these managers and scientists never make nor understand the distinction that there management has caused. You can’t have a beneficial surface fire in a plantation, period. ANd what the old bull bucks would say about fire, that it will stop either when the rains come or when it runs into old growth there the bark is thick and the lower branches are high above the ground.

    They also continue to acknowledge that the fuel load on the forest floor is most often much higher after management than before and that with the canopy gone and the sunlight getting to the forest floor, it becomes drier and far more fire prone than under the moist conditions of a  multistory forest. How can these educated men have lost all connection to common sense?

    Perhaps for the same reason they can use terms like sustainable harvest that is in reality a relatively short boom then generations of bust, economically, environmentally ( in terms of restoration needs thus their circular logic justifications) and socially. Given that the first sale (10reoffer) will net the taxpayer a whopping 6.33 per thousand board feet or a total of 55K for 8.8 million board feet comes right off the Forest Service appraisal sheet. With the use of Helicopters and very capital intensive machinery to suggest this project creates sustainable jobs is absurd. One day of a large Chinook Helicopter can cost the equivalent of two men’s wages for a year. So much for job creation.

    Then to tie this project to the McKenzie School district after these men were directly responsible for the short boom of the past then generations of bust we have experienced since is just too much a bold face lie to ignore. Talk about disconnection with reality, these men take the cake.

    Yes, it is time to get beyond the timber wars of the past, however without an honest and comprehensive assessment regarding the science, management consequences and present effects its impossible to learn the lessons and seek synthesis.

    I suggest a public debate to air all the issues in an open and transparent process. If the three of you agree, I can find two others to join me and attempt to move beyond sound bytes, lies and half truths. Care to engage us?