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Cascadia Forest Defenders has built platforms atop several trees in a bid to prevent the Biden Administration from auctioning off the land.

COURTESY PHOTO: CASCADIA FOREST DEFENSE - An activst with Cascadia Forest Defense climbs a tree in the Willamette National Forest as part of an occupation protest. Eco-activists have scaled several trees — and they aren't coming down, they say — until the Biden Administration halts the planned sale of logging rights in the Willamette National Forest.

Members of Cascadia Forest Defenders say they have built several platforms 100 feet above the canopy in order to deter the planned Flat Country timber auction from going forward.

"They're staying on these platforms for the foreseeable future to keep this space occupied," said Daniel, an organizer for the group, who asked not to use their last name. "If any timber companies buy that sale — they're buying our resistance."

The U.S. Forest Service approved logging in a 74,091-acre project area east of Highway 126 near the rural burg of McKenzie Bridge in January, though the actual harvest would occur on only 4,438 acres.

A record of decision issued by the Forest Service says the sale, which does not sell the land itself but only leases logging rights, would yield roughly 102 million board feet of timber from trees ranging in age from 27 to 150 years old. The area has been logged in the past, the document says.

"Harvest treatments would include thinning, gap creation, dominant tree release, regeneration harvest and skips," according to the decision. "Skips occur randomly throughout all proposed units to protect areas of concern raised by resource specialists and add diversity to the watershed."

Daniel says the activists have posted up on a crest in Lane County near the Deschutes County line, and are currently living on four-foot by eight-foot platforms just wide enough for two sleepers.

The organizer argues that logging will disrupt water quality and halt the sequestration of carbon.

"We know that logging actually increases the risk of wildfires, especially wildfires in mature old growth forests," he said. "Despite all of their greenwashing and claims of environmental stewardship, the Forest Service and in turn the Biden Administration are rubber stamping clear-cut logging in the midst of a climate crisis."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Eugene, has come out publicly against the sale, telling Eugene Weekly that logging trucks are already doing record business hauling trunks toppled during post-fire salvage operations.

The Forest Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zane Sparling
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