Mt. Hood National Forest fails when it comes to public input on logging
We are deeply invested in the care and management of the public lands around Mount Hood.
Recently, and joined by hundreds of our neighbors across the region, we engaged public review and comment under the National Environmental Policy Act, regarding the proposed Zigzag Timber Sale.
Our families spend time in this area, all year round. We appreciate and rely on the businesses that depend on the recreation opportunities in the Zigzag District. We, our downstream neighbors, and the fish and wildlife depend on the clean water from the Sandy and Salmon River Watersheds.
We want to see the forest thrive.
This August, we dedicated hours of research, deliberation and study in order to participate in the public processes of forest management, enacting our rights and responsibilities to care for the land that sustains us.
Hundreds of local and regional community members made it a priority, despite the stresses of the pandemic, to provide Forest Service staff with high-quality information regarding the project area in an effort to support the agency in good decision making.
We understand that Forest Service actions flow downward from the chain of command and that the agency may have limited recourse to affect outcomes. However, our grassroots effort to provide local input from people who are deeply invested in this forest has provided the Forest Service with a means to carefully and thoughtfully consider their constituents' concerns, as the public comment process is meant to do.
We did our part, expecting that Forest Supervisor Richard Periman and local Forest Service staff would respect and utilize our input.
Instead, it seems they have disregarded the local public completely, incorporating not one single recommendation or request for stronger protection of these invaluable watersheds, accounting of climate change impacts to the forest, water resources and carbon emissions, or bolstering of the recreation economy.
As the highest-ranking official on the Mt. Hood National Forest, we urge Richard Periman to look for positive ways to challenge the status quo, putting these dynamic ecosystems and our communities front and center as his agency continues to implement projects that will affect the forests for centuries.
We've garnered 1,000 signatures on a letter to Supervisor Periman which we'll be delivering this November. Concerned about the management priorities on Mt. Hood? Reach out to Bark, www.bark-out.org.
Mitch Williams of Brightwood, Georgenne Ferdun of Portland, Russell and Laura Strudwick of Rhododendron, Penny Mock of Brightwood, Courtney Rae, associate director at Bark, Portland.
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