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Updates on threats to the Klamath-Siskyou region, and what you can do to help.

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Unit 6-2.1 of the Kelsey-Whisky timber sale

Largest BLM Forested Roadless Area In the US Targeted For Logging

While the fate of untrammeled roadless areas on our National Forests has been widely debated in every conceivable forum from Grants Pass to Washington DC, the BLM’s efforts to convert its wild roadless forests into tree-farms has largely flown under the radar.

Outside of the Pacific Northwest, few Americans know that the BLM manages old-growth forests, let alone that the BLM plans to log the ancient forests that comprise the gorgeous 46,600-acre Zane Grey roadless area. The Zane Grey is the largest intact native forest administered by the BLM on the planet. It currently provides much-needed “source habitat” for rare old-growth dependent species like the northern spotted owl and the pacific fisher. It is also a haven for wild salmon and steelhead.

The Zane Grey, along with Whisky and Grave Creeks, is collectively known as the Wild Rogue Roadless Area and as potential additions to the Wild Rogue Wilderness.

Revving Up the Chainsaws

In March 2003, the Medford BLM unveiled its plans to log ancient forests in the heart of the Wild Rogue Roadless Area through the Kelsey Whisky timber sale. The name Kelsey Whisky refers to two salmon-bearing tributaries to the congressionally-designated Wild and Scenic Rogue River that will bear the brunt of the BLM’s old-growth logging.

Despite the fact that public comments ran 15-1 against the Kelsey Whisky timber sale, the BLM is plowing ahead with the proposed logging. In November of 2006 the BLM sold the rights to log 512 acres of old-growth within the Wild Rogue Roadless Area to the Rough and Ready timber company of Cave Junction, Oregon. This 512 acres includes 313 acres of “regeneration” clearcut logging that will require punching over a mile and 1/2 of new logging road into untouched ancient forests.

A Legacy of Abuse

The BLM lands that surround the Wild Rogue Roadless Area are a silent and powerful testimony to the agency’s mismanagement: Clearcuts dominate the landscape; Flammable brush fields and young tree-farms have replaced towering ancient forests; and poorly built logging roads choke streams with sediment.

Of the 862,000 acres administered by the Medford BLM, well over 800,000 acres are crisscrossed by webs of logging roads and clearcuts. The vast bulk of the BLM’s land base resembles an industrial fiber-farm managed solely for timber industry profits. Rather than focus timber production on the hundreds of thousands of acres that it has already degraded, the BLM seems ideologically driven to repeat the mistakes of the past on the last truly wild 46,600 acres of roadless forest that it manages.

Standing Up for Ancient Forests

KS Wild is committed to defending the salmon, owls and ancient forests of the Wild Rogue Roadless Area from the BLM’s aggressive logging plans. We are spearheading legal challenges to the BLM’s proposed old-growth timber sales and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to authorize the destruction of northern spotted owl critical habitat. We expect to file suit this Spring to protect the irreplaceable wild forests of the Wild Rogue Roadless Area.

While we will do all that we can to beat back the current threats to the Wild Rogue, the BLM’s actions have made it abundantly clear that if left to their own devices this roadless area will never be free from the threat of the bulldozer and the chainsaw. KS Wild is working for permanent congressional protection of the Wild Rogue through wilderness designation.

What You Can Do to Help