Archive for September, 2017

EPIC Saves Big Old Trees

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

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.


EPIC Victory: Klamath Old-Growth Saved From Logging

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

As you remember (because you read every word that we write, right?), EPIC had submitted an “objection” of the draft decision for the Horse Creek Project, a large scale post-fire logging project on the Klamath National Forest. In our objection, we laid out measures that the Forest Service must take to avoid breaking the law. Here’s the big news: the Forest Service listened!

In total the Forest Service agreed to:

  • Drop 450 acres of the most controversial and harmful logging units, protecting old-growth along the Siskiyou Crest (check out the great Siskiyou Crest blog for more information on why this area is so important);
  • Drop 2 miles of road building;
  • Retain all large snags over 45” in diameter;
  • Commitment to prescribed burning and fuels treatment;
  • Work with the Karuk Tribe on vegetation planning;
  • Decommission new and existing temporary roads post project; and
  • Work with stakeholders to develop a burning plan.

As a result of the agreement, the final project design will more closely mirror that of the “Karuk Alternative,” a post-fire restoration plan developed by the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources. In total, the project would provide rural jobs, protect the best old-growth wildlife habitat in the project area,  and would begin work on fuels reduction activities to protect homes and ranches from future fires. We are satisfied with this outcome, as EPIC had pushed the Forest Service to adopt the Karuk Alternative.

This was a large fire season and we are not over it yet. National Forests in the area will undoubtedly feel pressure to log trees that were damaged by the fires. We hope that the framework of the final Horse Creek Project is something we can build on when developing future projects with the Klamath National Forest.

A Long Strange Trip: 10 Years of Richardson Grove Defense

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

On Saturday, we celebrated 10 years’ worth of friendships forged over litigation and turmoil. EPIC would like to thank all of our friends who have stood with us. A special thanks goes to our co-plaintiffs: Friends of Del Norte, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, and the Center for Biological Diversity, Trisha Lee Lotus, Bess Bair, Jeff Hedin, and David Spreen. Many thanks goes to our partners at the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities. We appreciate your support and allyship.

The anniversary also gave us time to pause and reflect on those we’ve lost. We still miss the warmth and passion of Bruce Edwards, one of our original plaintiffs. We will never forget Stu Moskowitz, who painted the “Save Richardson Grove” sign that still stands, and alerts motorists that the park is in danger. We lost a great advocate in Loreen Eliason, a co-owner of the Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville and one of our original plaintiffs. Finally, we are down a friend and ally with the passing of Sydney King.

Our celebration was muted because Caltrans continues to press for the Richardson Grove Project. EPIC is back in court—our fourth trip—to force Caltrans to do an honest accounting of the damage to the grove. We won’t back down, even if we are at it for another 10 years.

Help support the fight to protect Richardson Grove by donating to the Save Richardson Grove Campaign.