They oppose Jazz Thinning project scheduled on Clackamas River Ranger District

Bark, the environmental watch-dog group of the Mt. Hood National Forest, is planning a protest of the Jazz Thinning project despite losing a lawsuit intended to halt the timber sale.

The group opposes the project that will thin second-growth plantations of 30- to 60-year-old trees dispersed throughout approximately 2,053 acres in the Collawash Watershed north of Bagby Hot Springs in the Clackamas River Ranger District.

Bark is planning to protest the project from 1-2 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the Mt. Hood National Forest Headquarters, 16400 Champion Way, Sandy.

According to a Bark press release, the “rally will include signs, costumes, street theater, live jazz music and other surprises.”

Bark is concerned about the potential for landslides and sediment to improperly enter the watershed through the construction of temporary roads for the thinning project and the use of heavy logging equipment.

Bark contends that the “geologically unstable” location of the project area amplifies the threat and claims that the Forest Service’s environmental assessment downplayed the impact of the proposed work.

The Forest Service maintains that the assessment was thorough and accurate and that all legal obligations for the project were fulfilled.

Ranger Mike Chaveas of the Clackamas River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest explained that any areas that Forest Service specialists had concerns about were removed from the proposal during the project’s earlier planning phases.

Forest Service officials say the twofold goal of the Jazz Thinning Project is to increase the health and diversity of the tree stands (as they are currently growing too closely together) and to provide sustainable timber products.

Bark filed a lawsuit in July 2013 against Mt. Hood Forest Supervisor Lisa Northrop, the U.S. Forest Service and Interfor, the Canadian logging company that won two sale contracts for the project.

Oregon District Judge Marco A. Hernandez ruled in favor of the Forest Service on Friday, April 11.

“Taxpayers already paid for the old logging roads to be decommissioned to protect the water quality,” Bark Program Director Russ Plaeger, wrote in a press release. “It doesn’t make sense to sink more than $229,000 into reconstructing 11 miles of logging roads that will release tons of sediment into nearby streams.”

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