Cascadia Wildlands and our allies Bark and Oregon Wild prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today federal court in a long-running legal battle over the Crystal Clear logging project on the eastern slopes of Mount Hood. The logging project encompassed nearly 12,000 acres of public land in the Mount Hood National Forest, and included almost 3000 acres of logging of mature and old-growth forests along with plans to build or re-open 36 miles of roads.
Our organizations pushed back against this logging project for several years, highlighting the significant harm it would cause to fish and wildlife (including Mt. Hood’s tiny population of gray wolves), its negative effects on carbon sequestration and climate change, and the reality that logging older, larger, and more fire resistant trees would likely increase the risk of destructive forest fires. Much of the hard work was done by volunteer field-checkers, stressing the importance and need for conservation organizations to get folks out in the woods to evaluate what truly is being proposed.
In the ruling, the Court acknowledged that although the Forest Service’ purported purpose of the project was to “reduce the risk of wildfires and promote safe fire-suppression activities,” that the mature forest logging would potentially not accomplish this goal, but actually make the wildfire problem worse. There is a considerable amount of science surrounding the relationship between logging and fire hazard, and the Forest Service was cherry-picking science or in some cases misapplying it in order to justify logging mature and old-growth forests.
This is a big win for our public forests and for all the Oregonians that enjoy Mt. Hood! Thank you to all of our members and supporters who fight tirelessly for our wild public places.
Again, consider signing up to volunteer and help us protect these cherished places or please donate to Cascadia Wildlands and contribute to these efforts!
The Court’s ruling can be found here.