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Bark organizing public event to highlight its critique of large timber sale planned in Mount Hood National Forest

COURTESY BARK - Bark volunteers measure a tree slated for removal in the Mount Hood National Forest timber sale planned by the U.S. Forest Service. For over a year, Mount Hood National Forest officials have been planning to harvest 13,272 acres of trees for commercial sale, dubbing their efforts the Crystal Clear Restoration project.

Casey Gatz, Mount Hood National Forest natural resource planner and interdisciplinary team leader for the project, explained in an earlier interview that with the sale the U.S. Forest Service hoped to see a decrease in forest-fire risks, while also increasing timber harvesting in the Barlow Ranger District.

As plans for the project's completion date and means of implementation are yet to be finalized,

members of Bark, an environmental group devoted to preserving the Mount Hood natural areas, have scheduled a public campout in the White River watershed area of the sale for the end of the month.

The campout, from Thursday, Aug. 24, to Thursday, Sept. 7, will act as not only a way for Bark to better familiarize people with the forest and Bark's mission, but to "gather on-the-ground information about the area threatened by this project," said Bark community organizer Courtney Ray in an email.

Ray added that since Bark has been able to be involved more with the project, the group has seen some movement in its favor.

"We're seeing a little bit of improvement," she said. "Some of the areas we were most concerned about have been dropped from the sale. It's like as we make our case for these units that more of them will get dropped."

During the campout, Bark members will offer trainings and presentations on forest ecology and forest policy, host trips to specific areas of the proposal and lead activities.

The event is open to all and all can stay for however long they choose during the three-week campout. For more information, visit Bark's Facebook page or its website at www.bark-out.org/basecamp.

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