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Federal judge grants injunction halting commercial timber harvest near Walton Lake

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has stopped a commercial timber harvest near Walton Lake in the Ochoco National Forest, as the request of an environmental group.

The Capital Press reports U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman has granted a preliminary injunction sought by the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project to block logging in the recreational area that was set to start in October.

Mosman said at the end of oral arguments in Portland Wednesday that the nonprofit group was likely to prevail on the merits of its claim that the project violated the National Environmental Policy Act.

The environmental plaintiff also met the other requirements for a preliminary injunction, such as demonstrating immediate and irreparable harm from the project, the judge said. The logged trees would be lost for generations, if not permanently, he added.

The Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project filed a complaint last year against a broader 178-acre timber project at the Walton Lake recreational area, but its request for a preliminary injunction focused only on 78 acres of commercial logging at the site.

The Associated Press

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14 Comments

  1. The logged trees would be lost for generations, if not permanently.
    Permanently? really?, since when do trees not grow back? they are growing back in the mismanaged, burned federal forest, even in the places the did not bother to replant, what kind of person believe these lies? Oh my goodness, this Judge needs some scroooling in common sense.

    1. Forested areas surrounding the Great Basin recover slowly. These forests are right on the edge of an environment that cannot support forest. When these transition forests are impacted by logging and wildfire, the damage is often permanent. There is ample evidence that much of the Great Basin used to be forested. The changing climate over thousands of years has reduced remaining forested area to isolated pockets, as is seen from the southern foothills of the Ochoco mountains down through Nevada into Mexico. Forest lost in this area absolutely does not recover. Walton Lake is right on the edge of this climatological zone. You can replant around Walton Lake, but it’s an uphill battle and progress is very, very slow. Logging transition forest is poor management.

  2. And still the morons wonder why forest fires burn out of control year after year.
    It looks more like the global warming fanatics are just fueling their theories of global warming by improper management of forests to perpetuate their narrative.

  3. Growth rates in that area are very slow, with Douglas-fir averaging about 12 rings per inch. Aged trees and trees on north facing slopes show about 20 rings per inch. This is in contrast to the same species in the Willamette forest which shows 3-4 rings per inch. So there comes a point when you have ask whether the cost is worth the profit. A 20″ diameter tree in the Willamette takes 40 years. That same tree at Walton Lake takes 200.

    1. If it’s going to get root rot, and spread it to other trees, soon you won’t have any trees there. Log them now, take the money, utilize the resource, and prevent the spread of disease. Or watch all the trees die, possibly get someone killed, don’t build something useful, don’t collect the money, and before long watch it burn. It’s a crying shame these “environmentalist” lawyers get paid for standing in the way of real management.

    1. It’s not lost on the reader that proponents of this “safety” project have commercial interest in said project. Here’s what I find interesting: the idea that a forest which has existed for millenia suddenly require human intervention to save it from itself. I also find it frustrating that our leaders buy into this “safety hazard”. There is a highway up to the lake. People die on highways everyday. There is a lake. People drown in lakes every year. They don’t close the highway. They don’t close the lake. But somehow the threat of a falling tree is enough to shut it down? What’s next, closing recreation sites when lightning is forecast? I mean let’s get real, lightning kills far more recreationalists than falling trees. Projects like these are mostly about money.

        1. I was referring to backcountry deaths since that was the context of the article. I admit my views are cynical and largely uninformed. These issues are complex and full of nuance but in the end, it’s usually politics and money that direct the course of action.

          1. Politics and/or money are involved in just about everything, including your argument against logging these trees. You’ve been convinced by politicians and activists that logging any trees is “bad” and I’m guessing are largely silent when millions of trees go up in smoke needlessly every year polluting our air and destroying habitat. Proper forest management through logging and replanting is a good thing for both the environment and our economy. 35 years of mismanagement is our case study and proof.

            1. “Proper forest management through logging and replanting is a good thing for both the environment and our economy.” Agreed, but the key word is “proper”. I’ve been convinced by my own time spent in these areas, harvesting, exploring, studying effects of human activity. When you get into an area containing stumps of 500 year old Larch that were cut 80 years ago, and today it’s nothing but a tangle of fir, you start to question the wisdom of cutting those trees. They were cut to make railroad ties. Those ties have all been replaced with concrete ties. And the forest they came from is forever gone.

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