Thurston Hills “Pedal Power” — Re-Introduced by the BLM
The Thurston Hills timber sale would result in extensive “regeneration harvest” (all but clear-cutting) of 109 acres of middle-aged forest immediately adjacent to Willamalane’s recently opened 655-acre Thurston Hills Natural Area. Next to a neighborhood on 79th Street in Springfield on one side and to the new trails on the other, this BLM parcel was the closest federal public land to our urban area.
Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild successfully challenged this project in Court, but the BLM is once again attempting to push the project through.
This project will now admittedly increase fire risks and hazards to the adjoining Springfield residences, but the BLM is attempting to dismiss the importance of these risks. Further, the BLM has designated areas for trails, but plans to log directly over them. Not only is this an open insult to Eugene and Springfield’s vision for trail connections between the two cities, but also would likely prevent the area from qualifying for regional running and mountain biking competitions that local schools and organizations were hoping to host.
The BLM introduced plans to log this area in June of 2018, and the plan met immediate community resistance. For the next year, Cascadia worked with conservation partners and Thurston area neighbors to organize public hikes, town hall meetings, do door to door canvassing and file a legal challenge to this sale.
On September 19th 2019, Judge Michael MicShane of Oregon’s district court ruled in favor of Cascadia Wildlands and co-plaintiff Oregon Wild’s legal case, determining that the BLM violated federal laws when it sold off the 100 acres of public land in the Thurston Hills sale for clearcut logging. Siding with conservationists, recreationists and many Thurston Hills residents, the court ruled that clearcut logging would increase risk of wildfire for nearby communities, and that the BLM must adequately disclose those risks in their planning documents.
In February of 2020, the BLM re-introduced plans to clearcut the Thurston Hills area, which Cascadia Wildlands and community members are currently fighting once again.