Wildflowers of John’s Last Stand

Check out the spring ephemerals we found on our hike to John’s Last Stand on Saturday! Many of these wildflowers will disappear after a soil disturbance event such as commercial logging.

Calypso bulbosa (Fairy slipper or calypso orchid) is pollinated by bumble bees. It has a symbiotic relationship with a specific mycorrhizal fungus in the soil which makes it hard to transplant and sensitive to disturbance–it is only found in native montane forests such as John’s Last Stand. The corms (bulbs) were a food source for indigenous people of this bioregion.

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Trillium ovatum (Western White Trillium) is a no-pick species in Oregon because it is slow to propagate via its rhizomes and has limited dispersal via seeds. The seeds take a long time to mature after the flower senesces and are only dispersed short distances by ants. The flowers change from white to purple as they age.

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Synthris reniformis (Snow queen) is one of the first flashes of color seen on the forest floor after the snow melt. It is native to the west Cascade mountains.

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Viola sp. (violet) is another common native found in the Pacific Northwest. It’s flowers and leaves are edible (in small quantities) and its close relative Viola odorata is valued by some an herbal medicine.

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Cardamine sp.

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Cardamine nuttallii (Spring Beauty or Oaks toothwort) grows in deep humus soils in moist mid- to low-elevation forests on the Cascadia bioregion.

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Thanks for reading, stay tuned for our next public hike! Photos by Gabe Lent.

 

 

 

What’s in a name: John’s Last Stand and a history of federal land management

John Muir

John’s Last Stand?

Professor Norm Johnson “sees the [variable retention harvest] pilot projects as a policy test for a new management paradigm that challenges the divide between forest reserves and timber harvest areas. That schism, he says, harkens all the way back to the split between John Muir’s preservationist ideals and Gifford Pinchot’s utilitarian forestry, which laid the foundation for federal land management.” (High Country News, May 6, 2013)

John Muir vs. Gifford Pinchot

The philosophical split between John Muir and Gifford Pinchot was deep and enduring. They both helped shape the landscape we have inherited. The differences between these men was vast, despite their common love of wilderness in the late 1800s. For starters, Pinchot was a gain-seeking exploitive capitalist who lacked honesty. He loved wilderness like some of us love donuts. Muir, on the other hand, had a spiritual longing which took him to the far reaches of our land, often in solitude and sometimes for no other reason than the joy of it. There are some well-documented interactions between the two men. Once, while exploring the Grand Canyon with some other intrepid souls, Pinchot went to stomp a tarantula and was stopped by Muir who explained that the spider had as much right to be on the trail as everyone else. Their relationship soured when Muir came across a quote from Pinchot in a newspaper saying that grazing sheep would not be harmful to wild lands. Muir reminded Pinchot that Pinchot knew better based on his own experience. Pinchot later remarked that, “John Muir once called them hoofed locusts, and he was right.” (http://www.safnet.org/fp/documents/pinchot_muri_split_07.pdf) The Douglas fir along the trail to Mt. June that looks down on the sale called “John’s Last Stand” would have been high over our heads when John Muir died in 1914.

John’s Last Stand (JLS), so aptly named, is a 49-acre variable regeneration harvest (VRH) less than an hour south east of Eugene. Professor Norm Johnson would be quick to point out that the timber sale plan requires six to eight live trees per acre to be left in this ancient stand. Along with Doug fir, the site is heavy with western hemlock. Yew trees grow along its edges. Madrone and golden chinkapin give a leafy break to the grey brown pillars of the pine trunks. Nick Cady of Cascadia Wildlands was not fooled and called the sale an “old-growth clearcutting project.” VRH methodology has been around a long time for treating overgrown plantations of timber, but Ecologist Jerry Franklin and Economist Norm Johnson, prompted by our elected officials, are the first to propose using this technique in ancient forest. Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild! has called VRH “a cynical attempt to pass off clearcutting century-old trees as restoration.”

Seneca-Jones’ handiwork near the Buck Rising VRH timber slaughter 20 miles southeast of Roseburg on BLM lands

In 2013, the Cascadia Forest Defenders took to the trees at a sale called “White Castle” near Myrtle Creek, Oregon. They went there to stop a VRH pilot project on 187 acres in mature forest just like the forest at JLS. The site was occupied for ten months through heat, nearby fire, rain, and snow until Attorney Jennifer Schwarz, aided by Nick Cady, filed suit to protect that critical habitat and call into question the validity of using VRH methods in mature stands. In March 2015, their litigation was successful. Not only was the White Castle sale canceled, but the Bureau of Land Manangement (BLM) pulled out of other VRH sales including “Second Show” near Eugene and the remainder of “Deer North” in Southern Oregon.

At JLS, the BLM proposes to make a 49-acre gouge on the edge of the Hardesty Roadless Area, one of the last remaining tracts of intact forest near Eugene that is uninterrupted by roads or heavy human activity. Ironically, the Sierra Club, founded by none other than John Muir, has been trying to create a designated Wilderness Area here for several years.

The Hardesty area is frequented by hikers and mountain bikers and is athe headwaters of the Lost Creek Watershed, which includes the Lost Valley Permaculter Center. Because the sale is in a roadless area, three helicopter pads are proposed to aid in the extraction of forest. One of the pad’s locations is right next to an area designated “no-cut” due to wildlife habitat.

Choose your own adventure:

(Alternate Ending #1)

John’s Last Stand might be just that. The good news is that impending economic collapse is on our side. This might just be the last time we have to suit up and show up before it all goes toes up forever. Life comes with no guarantees of tomorrows, but as long as there is a today, we prefer ours with intact ancient forests. Please join us in John’s Last Stand this spring. “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”

—John Muir Cascadia

(Alternate Ending #2)

John’s Last Stand does not have to be. If our public officials were made aware that so many people are scrutinizing their participation in our deforestation, that their future chances of fundraising and re-election could be impacted, perhaps they would tell the BLM to drop this and all VRH sales. Please call them now and tell them you are mad as hell and not going to send them money or vote for them until they stop echoing the wishes of big timber when addressing the US Forest Service and the BLM. Tell them to start encouraging forest management that favors preservation of what wild places we have left.

The most important public officials to contact are:

Representative Peter DeFazio

202-225-6416 (DC) or 541-465-6732 (Eugene)

Senator Ron Wyden

541-431-0229

Senator Jeff Merkely

541-465-6750

Find other US senators and representatives at:

https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

Brought to you by the Cascadia Forest Defenders

http://www.forestdefensenow.com

The Goose is cooked

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Goose, a controversial timber sale we stalled with a tree sit in 2012, is back on the cutting block for 2016. Stay tuned for updates, we are currently waiting on a judicial sign-off that the US Forest Service Final Decision of Record meets environmental assessment legal mandates. Here’s a brief history of Goose to date. 

On April 23 of 2012 after much public opposition to the Goose timber project, CFD took direct action by organizing a tree sit in a 150 year old Douglas fir within US Forest Service proposed sale unit.

 2012: CFD protesters called for an immediate halt of the proposed sale. The protesters intended to draw attention to the lack of transparency of the project. The Goose logging project proposal appears to have the intention of restoration when in reality the plan includes thinning and virtual clear-cutting of old-growth. This project included logging 2,000 acres of public land, located around the community of McKenzie Bridge. This would supply the timber industry with 38 million board feet while it degrades the habitat of the spotted owls and salmon in the watershed. Not to mention co-option of public land valued for recreation with high visibility from Hwy 126.

On Goose’s terms

Euphemisms such as “regeneration harvests” make the proposed plans of the Goose harvest appear benign or even ecologically beneficial, but what does this actually mean? Well according to the Goose (EIS), a “regeneration harvest” means leaving an average 20 trees per acre, claiming it will help establish future stands that are needed to mitigate “inter-tree competition,” which conveniently coincides with their profit goals. They claim that the harvest of these stands will help create a “beneficial micro-climate” that will help the stand avoid invasive insect infestation and develop a “more complex stand structure in 30 to 50 years with a two aged canopy layer” that “more closely” resembles what “may” have naturally happened on the landscape. Numerous studies show that intensive logging causes significant soil compaction and erosion while the removal of mature trees leads to net carbon emissions from the ecosystem. Existing wild life habitat and public recreation will be negatively impacted.

Goose History/Timeline:

On Earth-Day of 2012, Cascadia Forest Defenders erected a tree-sit in the Goose timber sale. At that time the project called for logging on 1,817 acres, 1765 of which was to be commercially thinned, 322 acres more intensely logged into clearings of 1-3 acres; 41 acres virtually clearcut (6-15 trees left standing), and 11 acres with largest trees left uncut. 668 acres were to include fuel reduction work of brush/shrubs/small trees cut/piled/burned. At that time the sale was expected to produce 38 million board feet timber (according to Oregon Live).

According to U.S. Forest Service (USFS) website, the September 13, 2010 Goose Project’s Environmental Assessment (Alternative 2) proposed 1,443 acres of thinning, 322 acres of gap creation, 41 acres “regeneration harvest”, “skips” on 283 acres, 11 acres of releasing dominant trees. The project “implementation” started in 2011 when 3 harvest contracts were sold—two to Seneca Sawmill and one to Freres Lumber.

In May 2012 Cascadia Wild and Oregon Wild sued and effectively halted the project, saying the USFS failed to disclose enough information about potential environmental impacts of the project, including that they did not fully assess impacts of proposed actions on northern spotted owl and barred owl habitat competition and the effects on the northern spotted owl of logging in riparian reserves.

The project was litigated in 2013 by Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wild, and Western Environmental Law Center, with Cascadia Wild’s website mentioning the sale was controversial for its mature forest clear cutting, extensive logging in McKenzie River riparian areas, and building road within potential-wilderness area of Lookout Mountain.

In close proximity to Oregon’s second largest urban area of Eugene/Springfield. The Goose Project proposes massive timber harvest surrounding the town of McKenzie Bridge. Local community members collected nearly 5k signatures in opposition to the sale.

On March 26, 2013, District Court of Oregon ordered USFS to do “a more thorough environmental analysis and bring local affected land owners into the process.”–Cascadia Wild. Specifically, USFS was ordered to write an environmental impact statement (EIS), which they set about writing.

Then time passed.

Fall 2015: Cascadia Wild’s stated that this is now a nearly 2,500 acre logging proposal, still set to heavily impact riparian areas and fish species, lower water quality, clearcut log, and target older forest. At least the forests service has completed the mandatory legal documentation about how they intend to degrade the local ecosystem for perceived economic sustainability.

February 2016: USFS proposes fuel reduction and commercial logging on 2,452 acres, with the logging to include thinning, nearly-clear cutting (strategically termed “regeneration harvesting”), and creating “gaps”–small clear cuts. USFS claims the project is necessary “to provide a sustainable supply of timber products,” change the forest structure, and reduce fuels around urban areas in McKenzie Bridge. This Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a revision of the 2010 environmental analysis in response to the 2013 court order. It more thoroughly “analyses” spotted owl vs. barred owl habitat competition, reiterates in better legal language the USFS need to log within Riparian Reserves “to achieve ACS objectives” and explains the impacts on a proposed wilderness area. USFS duly set up public comment periods, announcements, and responses to process comments. About 700 letters were received regarding Goose. The final EIS was finished in August 2015 and an official Record of Decision signed February 2, 2016. The forest service has now made its forest habitat degradation plan more thoroughly legally documented but no less ecologically impactful.

The area has already been heavily logged and we are prepared to defend the heritage trees that remain. We are currently waiting on a judicial decision by Judge Ann Aiken on whether or not the revisions meet legal requirements and sufficiently address public concerns.

 

Elliott Forest Seeking Wealthy Anarchist

capitolforsale
Watch the video of the sale of public items by former “Gov. Kitzhaber”

The Elliott State Forest is up for sale. Last Thursday, January 28, the Department of State Lands, acting on behalf of the State Land Board, hosted a mandatory meeting for interested buyers at the USFW department headquarters in Salem to detail the transaction  requirements as set forth by the state.

Two of us were present and awkwardly mingled among the 60 or so mostly white, middle-aged men dressed in business casual. The people in that room represented the usual crowd of timber companies and conservationist NGOs, but there were new interests we didn’t recognize, like carbon credit venture capitalists, and green-washed international land management trusts.

After half an hour of small talk over fruit plates and stale coffee, Jim Paul, Assistant Director of the Common School Fund Property Program, called the room to attention and began detailing the preliminary transaction protocol. The price of the Elliott will be set at a “fair market value” that will be announced on July 27, 2016. It will be sold in full and a single entity or individual must take responsibility for the full amount. Interested buyers must submit a proposed acquisition plan that would address four stipulations of the sale and “enforceable mechanisms” (such as a conservation easement) to ensure the purchasing entity will 1) conserve public recreational access on at least 50% of the acreage, 2) ensure at least 40 full time jobs for 10 years, 3) conserve 25% of acres for older forest stands, and 4) conserve riparian buffers of 120 feet on both sides of all streams containing salmon, steelhead or bull trout.

Throughout the meeting, timber interest parties rustled their feathers again and again over these ‘stipulations’ which complicated the purchase process and required significat legal fees.
Jim encouraged attendees to network during the breaks saying they were very open to a proposal that included a coalition of groups representing diverse interests. Theoretically, such a coalition could collaborate on both the upfront financial investment and the ongoing management of different areas in the Elliott. Based on a few conversations I had, the conservationist side would prefer to see a transfer of ownership to federal land but the BLM representative I spoke with did not seem optimistic about the practicality of that option due to the quick turn around time: proposed acquisition plans are due by November 15, 2016.

The next big date is April 5th for a second non-mandatory meeting then in mid-May when they will conduct tours of the Elliott State Forest for interested buyers. In the meantime, if anyone of you is feeling particularly generous today, it will only take somewhere between $235-400 million to buy 93,000 acres of beautiful temperate coastal rain forest. Massive free state project anyone? Now is the time to step forward good friend.

 

This Will Not Be John’s Last Stand

Mixed conifer forest in Hardesty Roadless Area
Alright ya’ll, its time to get amped about an atrocious timber sale called John’s Last Stand, yet another example of poor forest management practice by the Eugene District, Bureau of Land Management. Only an hour’s drive from Eugene, John’s Last Stand, is one of our closest remaining old-growth stands. The BLM is trying to take a 47-acre gouge out of the Hardesty Roadless Area, one of the last tracts of intact roadless forests in the area. This threatened habitat is used by numerous native species, and the BLM refuses to acknowledge the real value of living trees. This sale would impact anyone living in by the Lost Creek Watershed, including Lost Valley Permaculture Center, whose water source is already heavily damaged by timber industry.  John’s Last Stand is only a stones throw from Mt. June. A clearcut would have significant impact on die-hard recreationalists, including mountain bikers, and other Eugene-area outdoor enthusiasts.

CFD restoring trail to John's Last Stand
CFD restores trail to John’s Last Stand
The Cascadia Forest Defenders trail restoration team recently went for a hike and fell in love with the snow covered hemlock and fir in and around the sale. We’ll be hosting public hikes and maintaining access to the area to show the BLM we’re not letting them have their way with this forest.

What can I do?
We’re ready for direct action if it comes down to the line. But for now we’re “playing nice” and counting on enough public outcry to stop the sale.

1) Writing letters to the Eugene Weekly and the Register Guard.
The most effective way to win a campaign is to show that the public is not apathetic.
2) Donate online to support the organizations involved in stopping this clear cut. Cascadia Forest Defenders, Cascadia Wild, and Oregon Wild.
3) Join us for a public hike to enjoy this beautiful wild! Details below.


A public hike is planned for Saturday, January 30. Meet Dandy outside the Grower’s Market (454 Willamette) at 8:30am to find a carpool. If you live in the Dexter, Lowell or Oakridge area, meet us at Dexter Lake Club at 9am. Please RSVP to forestdefensenow@gmail.comno later than January 28th, so we can anticipate how many folks are coming.

Note: this is a relatively strenuous hike! Be prepared with non-cotton layers and plenty of food and water for yourself. Wear good warm boots with gators to keep out the snow. SNOW SHOES ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! But be prepared to carry your snowshoes for the first half of the hike. After the hike, join us at Brewer’s Union in Oakridge to enjoy live music, delicious food, and a drink with locals.

Driving Directions:


To John’s Last Stand:
From Pleasant Hill proceed southeast on Highway 58 for 4.5 miles to junction of Rattlesnake Road. Proceed south on South Rattlesnake Road for 4.5 miles to the junction of Lost Creek Road. Continue forward and proceed south on Lost Creek Road for 1.9 miles to junction of Eagles Rest Road. Turn left and keep right. Proceed on Eagles Rest Road for 2 miles. Continue on the pavement by following the fork to the left. This is NF-509 (BLM Road 19-1-33-1). Proceed for 6 miles until a fork. Go left and continue on NF-511 (BLM Road 20-1-14). In 0.7 mile, you see a parking lot on your right. Park and walk up the road another 100 feet to the unmarked trailhead on your left, currently marked by green flagging.

The trail is approximately 4 miles of hiking that rises 1,000 feet to the ridge. Ancient forest begins about a mile in on the first ridge. As of January 23, the snow begins about 2.5-3 miles up the trail, just before the side trail up to Sawtooth Rock. SNOWSHOES become very handy at this point. At the top of the last ridge (4 miles in) is a trail sign, toward Mt. June (1/2 mile). The sale is located on the right side of the ridge just before reaching the Mt. June trail, on the east face of the summit.

As of January 23, you can drive up another two miles until you start to get snow on the road. DO NOT DRIVE FURTHER OR YOUR CAR MAY GET STUCK IN THE SNOW. Remember, whenever you go into a wilderness area like Hardesty, bring a compass, a good map and a good friend!

Here’s a link to the prospectus of the proposed sale

The US Trade Representative is soliciting comments on the Trans Pacific Partnership by 1/13/16.

Please use the link below to make your comments. The TPP is a multi-national Corporate wish list that will erode our sovereignty as we are seeing them do as we get sued by Canada and Mexico because we passed legislation for labeling beef with the country of origin, so if I want to support our ranchers, I won’t know if the beef I buy is from Venezuela or the USA. Our workers will have to compete with workers in Vietnam or Malaysia or… Any foreign company can sue us for any legislation that may impact their potential profit if it benefits local businesses or workers. This bill is so bad, please, make your comments. We only have 3 day left.Thank You Shelley for the link! Here is a link to the US Government’s
comment page for the TPP.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=USTR_FRDOC_0001-0366—————–

What’s wrong with the TPP:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/whats-wrong-tpp

—————–

The UA Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters invite you to an open public forum concerning the TransPacific Partnership and how it relates to the citizens of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

There will be presentations by speakers and an opportunity for all who would like to be heard.
WHERE: LOCAL 290 MEETING HALL, 2861 Pierce Parkway, Springfield
WHEN: SATURDAY, 1/16/16
TIME: 1 PM
Refreshments will be served.
****Also it is important to call Senator Wyden and let him know we did not forget his Fast Track vote and we won’t forget what he votes on the TPP. I am going to keep calling until he gets the message and I am very excited to go to this Forum! Lets Rock Wyden’s World! Senator Wyden 202-224-5244 (in DC)