TAKE ACTION NOW! The Klamath National Forest is proposing to log dozens of old growth trees on the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River. While EPIC was able to stop this plan temporarily, for USFS failure to complete consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, the Ranger has said that as soon as there is concurrence the timber sale will move forward. Please contact the Salmon/Scott River District Ranger and ask him to abandon plans to log irreplaceable old growth forests.
The 70 acre Little Cronan Timber Sale is being done through a Categorical Exclusion which does not provide an environmental analysis, even though the project would build landings, skid trails and a logging road over the Garden Gulch Trail in a Key Watershed that is critical for Salmon recovery.
Their Fire and Fuels Report claims that this forest is not a high-risk area for fire danger. The purpose and need for the project is “forest health” and timber extraction. We know there are thousands of acres of small diameter plantations that would be more appropriate for “thinning.” Old forests have intrinsic environmental benefits that exceed their value as wood products.
The Cronan Gulch watershed was designated as Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat in 1982. The same stand was proposed for helicopter logging in the 90’s, which was litigated and dropped because of the designation. In 2008, the Bush Administration eradicated thousands of acres of Critical Habitat and this watershed was one of them. EPIC challenged this plan in federal court, and even though the Fish and Wildlife Service remanded the ill conceived changes and is currently mapping revised NSO Critical Habitat, the Salmon River Ranger District is moving as quickly as possible to log the area before Critical Habitat is reinstated.
The North Fork of the Salmon River is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River system based on its fisheries values. It provides 40 miles of habitat for Chinook and Coho salmon and many other native fish. This particular forest stand is an important wildlife corridor between the Marble Mountain and Trinity Alps Wilderness areas.
The Forest Service (FS) itself has already determined that this watershed is important to wildlife. “This watershed has habitat critical to wildlife and fish species that are listed or petitioned for listing through the Endangered Species Act. Some of these habitat features may be at risk and need protection or enhancement. Older, late successional forest stands and anadromous fish habitat are considered some of the most important features within the watershed.” – North Fork Salmon River Watershed Analysis 1-1