Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Burning Shame: Old-Growth Forest Threatened in the Okanogan
Urge the Forest Service to protect recovering soils, forest, and wildlife in the Tripod burn area

At the site of last summer's Tripod Fire on the Wenatchee-Okanogan Forest, the Forest Service is proposing a post-fire logging plan that targets some of the largest remaining trees in the forest. These standing, big old trees are critically important to recovering forest and wildlife. The Tripod Fire was one of several fires last summer in north-central Washington that at times came very near to communities. We believe that the agency should train its precious few resources on fuels reduction measures (such as thinning and prescribed burning) that protect communities and wildlife habitat, not on logging old-growth trees in our backcountry after a fire.

Public comments are due Monday, January 29, 2007. Please use our quick action link to provide comment to the agency on its plan for Tripod. Urge the Forest Service to protect the soils, water, and big, old trees in the burn area,

Or, write directly to:
Forest Supervisor Jim Boynton
Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest
24 Chewuch Rd.
Winthrop, WA 98862

Background: In late 2006, conservationists, local citizens, and representatives from local mills came up with an innovative proposal for forestlands burned by the Tripod Fire north of the Methow on the Okanogan National Forest in north-central Washington. Conservation Northwest was one of the participants who found common ground and developed a non-controversial post-fire plan for the recovering forest. The collaborative plan was designed to 1) protect fragile, burned soils by logging over snow during winter, 2) reduce small-wood fuels that could feed future fires, and 3) capture the value of smaller trees for local small-timber mills.

Unfortunately for forests -- and for local communities -- the results of this collaboration were largely dismissed by the Forest Service when the agency released a very different proposal for Tripod. The Forest Service's current plan targets nearly 3,000 acres for post-fire logging of large trees. It redirects public resources away from critical fuels reduction projects, including actions that could help nearby communities at risk from future fire, and towards a misguided sale that removes the old-growth trees at the heart of the new forest and home to recovering wildlife.

Read more on Tripod post-fire logging at

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