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.