HIGH UINTAS PRESERVATION COUNCIL ALERT
WEST FORK BEAR TIMBER SALE PROPOSAL
Good HUPC Members and Friends,
The Evanston Ranger District on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest is proposing yet another major timber sale! While still very early in the process, SCOPING, the district is proposing to harvest over 1,500 acres of old spruce, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and aspen on the West Fork of the Bear River (from Humpy Creek/Whitney Reservoir on the east to the Mirror Lake Highway on the west).
This is a chance to follow the process from its inception, SCOPING, to the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement. SCOPING comments are due MARCH 7 and should be sent to:
Evanston Ranger District
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
PO Box 1880
Evanston, WY 82931
firstname.lastname@example.org (make sure you clearly note “Scoping comments on West Bear Timber Sale” in the subject line)
This goes way back. The first proposal to harvest timber on the West Fork Bear on a grand scale was proposed in 1988. Then again in ’93, ’97 and 2002. All of them unfinished proposals. This proposal re-animates the massive 2002 timber project:
*Harvests about 1,500 acres of old growth and mature spruce, fir, aspen and lodgepole pine to achieve “properly functioning condition.”
-Believe it or not, all of this harvesting would be on a Management Prescription (MP 5.1) that allows harvesting on lands found to be UNSUITABLE for timber harvesting (lands not designated for sustainable timber harvesting).
*Burns about 130 acres of aspen.
*Constructs 7.2 miles of new, “temporary” roads.
*Constructs 2.1 miles of new intermittent use roads.
* The proposal is a multi-year project and could extend for a full decade.
*All of this harvesting is proposed in a Lynx Analysis Unit (remember lynx are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act) with a high proportion of good quality lynx habitat.
HOW YOU CAN HELP AT THIS EARLY SCOPING JUNCTURE
The most important things you can do early in the process is:
+Let the Forest Service know of your concern and ask to be on the project mailing list. Thank them for doing an EIS.
+Suggest the Evanston Ranger District include an alternative in the analysis that:
1-Harvests ONLY in the SUITABLE timber base using small 1 acre harvesting units to protect wildlife habitat.
2-CLOSES the area to snowmobiling and ATV use over the life of the project to protect lynx habitat.
3-Harvesst only from the existing roads—NO new temporary or intermittent roads construction to protect watersheds, lynx and minimize wildlife fragmentation.
3-Utilizes prescribed and managed wildand fire to mimic natural ecological process.
A letter might look like this cut, paste, add or subtract as you please:
+Urge the Forest Service to fully disclose the science and evidence surrounding the concept of properly functioning condition and precisely how this project area does not meet this concept.
Dear Mr. Ryberg:
I understand you are preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a massive logging project on the West Fork of the Bear River. Please use these comments in the scoping process and include me in your project mailing list.
I do have a few comments. First, thank you for preparing an EIS.
Please include an alternative which focuses logging only on the suitable timber base in the project area. Because all of the area is within a Lynx Analysis Unit (LAU) I urge you close the project area to snowmobiling and harvesting over the life of the project and to restrict harvesting to existing roads—no new road construction of any type—and to keep harvesting units in small patches of 1 acre. This will assure diversity, protection of contiguous forests and minimize wildlife fragmentation. The primary emphasis should be on utilizing wildland fire to mimic natural ecological processes.
It is important, also, that since the project is based on the idea of properly functioning condition—the scoping document does not describe this process—it is imperative the Evanston Ranger District fully disclose the science and evidence behind this concept showing clearly why this area is not properly functioning as a forest system. If something is amiss, what is it and why?
Thank you! Remember comments are due March 7.
High Uintas Preservation Council
PO Box 72
Hyrum, UT 84319