Last December, we ventured out into the Klamath National Forest to monitor the Jess Timber Sale to ensure that trees that were marked for logging were consistent with Forest Service decisions and environmental policies. At our first stop in the timber sale, we noticed that dozens of mature trees were marked to be logged in riparian reserves, where they were supposed to be protected.
We went back to the same timber sale unit last week, and because of our effort, were very pleased to see that the trees we had documented on our previous trip were no longer marked for logging. The blue paint telling loggers to cut had been painted over with black paint, which means that we have saved them (for now).
The Jess Timber Sale is located in the Jessups Gulch area of the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River watershed. The project includes approximately 2,000 acres of treatments including: over 800 acres of commercial logging and ridgetop, roadside, silvicultural and meadow treatments. EPIC has engaged throughout the environmental review process by attending public field trips, conducting on-the-ground-monitoring, submitting substantive comments, participating in the multiparty monitoring group, filing an objection to the project and getting out into the field to verify whether the project is planned out according to the environmental documents.
Throughout the process it has become clear that one of the most effective ways to protect a place is to get out into the field and document what you see. This is much easier now that we have new technology to identify exactly where you are on a project map, and where protected areas, like riparian reserves should be preserved.
If you have a background or knowledge of wildlife, botany, water quality, or just have the time to explore the remote reaches of your wild backyard, please apply your skills. Photographs with GPS coordinates are incredibly important to illustrate the uniqueness and fragility of our mountain landscapes. To learn how to get the most out of your field trip, check out our public lands advocacy page, an excellent resource for citizens to use when surveying a particular area where a project is proposed.