Press Release: Community Members Mobilize for Public Lands Town Hall!

April 15th2019

Sam Krop, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463
Tomoko Sekiguchi, Climate Revolutions by Bike, 541.334.4660
Sue Hartman, local Thurston area resident,541.741.1210

On Thursday, April 18thfrom 6-8pm, bikers, conservation groups, students, and Springfield area locals will join in a discussion at Springfield City Hall about timber sales and local forest management.The Town Hall will feature panelistsfrom Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wildand Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology(FUSEE) discussing recreation, conservation and fire safety in Bureau of Land Management forests. The panel discussion will be followed by a moderated public forum in which community members will share and discuss concerns around local land management.  The biker’s organization Climate Revolutions by Bikeis organizing a mass bike ride departing from the University of Oregon EMU at 5pm to participate in the Town Hallevent.

Many bikers are joining the ride from the University of Oregon to the Town Hall to protest the Thurston Hills “Pedal Power” timber sale, the closest public lands logging proposal to town, and a proposal that the Town Hall will specifically discuss. The Thurston Hills sale plans to clearcut 105 acres of BLM managed forestdirectly adjacent to the popular 655-acre Thurston Hills Natural Area. The logging plan would link up 15 miles of new biking trails to the natural area, but also plans to put half of the newly created trails directly through clearcut.

Tomoko Sekiguchi, one of the founders of the local group Climate Revolutions says that many bikers are angered by the Thurston Hills sale and are joining in the ride to protest irresponsible forest management and “support challenging the timber industry’s forest, climate and recreation destroying methods.”

Conservation groups Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild, co-hosts of the Town Hall, filed a joint lawsuit against the BLM for the Thurston Hills salepointing to concerns for recreation and fire hazard as a result of the clearcut proposal.

Many Thurston area residents are also concerned about impacts that the project could have for fire safety. “I am worried that the Thurston Hills timber sale will not only be a local eyesore, but will also threaten the safety of my home and community,” says Sue Hartman, who lives only a mile from the clearcut proposal.

“The BLM admits in its own documentation that their clearcut would make fire hazards worse for an additional forty years, but in a complete disregard for community safety, they deny that the additional risk warrants any detailed analysis,” says Sam Krop, Cascadia Wildland’s Grassroots Organizer.  Krop has spent many hours going door to door with volunteers in neighborhoods near the Thurston sale and found that “many locals have no idea that this proposal is even happening or what risks to the community are involved.”

This Thursday’s Town Hall event will be an opportunity for bikers, locals, and environmental enthusiasts alike to address concerns with the Thurston sale and local land management more broadly.  “The Thurston Hills sale is one example of how the Bureau of Land Management continues to prioritize generating revenue at great cost to recreation, watershed health, and community safety” says Krop. “We hope that the Town Hall gives community members an opportunity to discuss shared values in forest management and learn how to be more involved in decisions made about what happens in our shared public lands.”