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EAST FORK FIRE TIMBER SALE PROPOSED BY FOREST SERVICE

Your WILD VOICE needs to sing by APRIL 19!

The Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Evanston Ranger District, is proposing a major timber harvest within the East Fork Fire area. As you will recall, the East Fork Fire burned about 14,000 acres on the western North Slope last year. The proposed salvage timber sale is now in the scoping process and will result in an Environmental Impact Statement. Comments are due April 19 and should be sent to:
Steve Ryberg
Evanston/Mt. View District Ranger
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
P.O. Box 1880
Evanston, WY 82931-1880

If you choose to email your comments, send them to: Steve Ryberg sryberg@fs.fed.us and copy to Larry Johnson lljohnson01@fs.fed.us. Insist on a return receipt. Be very clear in your subject line that these are formal scoping comments for the East Fork Fire Timber Sale!

The PROPOSAL by the Forest Service is to harvest dead and scorched trees from 24 harvesting units, 1,150 acres of spruce and lodgepole pine. This harvesting would occur on the lower reaches of the East Fork Bear, Mill Creek and West Fork Blacks Fork. Approximately 6.5 miles of temporary roads would be constructed. No timber harvesting or road building would occur within any of the North Slope Roadless Area. Green trees and unmerchantable dead trees (<8 diameter) would not be harvested. Snag trees for wildlife would be left standing.

The GOOD STUFF in the proposal is:

  1. The decision to stay out of roadless areas with any harvesting and roads.
  2. The decision to construct temporary roads and rehabilitate them.
  3. Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

The PROBLEMS with the proposal are:

  1. The Forests Service is asking for comments on a proposal all but completed as a commercial timber sale.
  2. Only two alternatives are recommended do it OR don't do it.

WHAT THE PROPOSAL SHOULD DO:

  1. The proposal should focus on restoring ecological processes to the region. Post-fire logging has generated a great deal of concern. Numerous studies have shown that there is no urgency to intervene on the post-fire landscape from an ecological context intervention, in fact, may result in more serious problems in the future. What is important is to allow natural recovery within the temporal context of the ecosystem.
  2. No management activity should hamper soil integrity.
  3. The scorched and dead trees the project proposes to remove have high ecological value, possibly higher than the live green trees. This must be properly addressed and analyzed. Rather than leaving individual snags as proposed, patches of standing dead and scorched trees in each age or diameter class should be left unharvested and connected throughout the area to provide for both meaningful and effective habitat.

A sample letter is pasted below. Use it as you would like, either to get you started or to simply submit with your name.

The important point is to write your wild voice is important and will be the only way we can establish a foundation to make this proposal ecologically meaningful.


date

Steve Ryberg
District Ranger
Evanston/Mt. View Ranger Districts
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
PO Box 1880
Evanston, WY 82931

Dear Mr. Ryberg:

Please accept these comments on the East Fork Fire timber sale. Your decision not to harvest timber or build roads in the roadless area and to complete an Environmental Impact Statement is commendable.

However, the purpose and need for this proposal should be portrayed as restoring ecological processes to the region. Post-fire logging has generated a great deal of concern and may aggravate ecological recovery.

It is important is to allow natural recovery. No management activity, including temporary road building, should hamper soil integrity. An alternative with no road building at all should be considered.

The scorched and dead trees the project proposes to remove have high ecological value and patches of standing dead and scorched trees should be left unharvested.

Sincerely,

name


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