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ACTION ALERT: Medicine Lake Highlands Threatened by Clearcutting

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Medicine Lake Highlands looking southwest to Mount Shasta. Photo from our friends at Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center.

The Medicine Lake Highlands, northeast of Mt. Shasta, are threatened with 20,000 acres of clearcutting, although the Klamath National Forest calls it “fire recovery” and “fuels reduction”. The environmental assessment (EA) for the Antelope Tennant timber sale was recently released and is open for public comment. Rather than address the significant impacts and public controversy with “salvage” logging, the Forest Service is pushing through this inadequate analysis by calling it an emergency, even though the fires were in 2021.

Proposed Antelope Tennant project area, with treatments amounting to clearcutting in orange, pink, and dark green. Map from U.S. Forest Service.

The Antelope Tennant project would disturb fragile post-fire forests with ground-based logging, not only of snags, but also surviving green trees. In addition, it proposes to clearcut nearly 5,000 acres of older green lodgepole pine stands in the name of “sanitation” and “regeneration”. The project also includes 8 miles of road construction and thousands of acres of “ripping” the forest floor. Subsequent activities, such as log landing establishment, tree yarding, hauling and machine piling, do little to restore the watershed, soil, and wildlife values of intact post-fire forests.

The EA does not contain adequate site-specific information and there are no supporting reports. The hundreds of projects EPIC has reviewed typically have additional reports on wildlife, soil, hydrology, botany, archeology etc.; there is no in-depth information on any of these subjects for this project. Take wildlife, for instance: despite the fact that these forests are home to threatened and endangered species, there is zero information provided. This area is home to the Whaleback Pack, one of only three known Gray wolf activity areas in California. The Medicine Lake Highlands are also home to Pronghorn antelope, bald eagle, Northern goshawk, great gray owl, marten, and fisher, and yet reports have not been completed and no information has been provided to the public.

The Medicine Lake Highlands encompass California’s most diverse volcanic fields on the continent’s largest shield volcano and is one of the most unique geological areas in the country. The Highlands are a special place and are the ancestral territory of multiple Indigenous Tribes, significant to many Native peoples including the Pit River Nation, Modoc, Shasta, Karuk and Wintu.


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