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ISSUE UPDATES

  • Steve Ryberg, who was--forever, it seems--District Ranger on the Evanston/ Mt. View Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch- Cache National Forest, retired in May. We wish him well!
  • The Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District is proposing a salvage timber sale on Mill Creek, North Slope of the Uintas. It is yet another small timber salvage in a long list of silly projects to chase pine beetles around and the sale has no meaningful impact on anything whatsoever other than taking some can-do pride in producing another silly salvage timber sale without doing any meaningful environmental review by making the salvage sale as large as possible but still fit within a categorical exclusion. This allows the Forest Service to skip detailed environmental analyses and public review.
  • The Forest Service is worried that a “large number of lodgepole pine in this area have been infested and killed by the mountain pine beetle.” That, of course, is the normal state of affairs in lodgepole pine forests. If it is a fire concern then remove the trees behind the guard station for about 200 feet and along the roads for the same distance. At least one can pretend to have done something meaningful.
  • We are still waiting for the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the much larger proposed Blacks Fork salvage timber sale (see LYNX 8/09) on the Evanston/ Mt. View Ranger District, which could result in significant harvesting, up to three dozen harvest units on over 1,800 acres with up to a dozen miles of new temporary roads. (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a temporary road on FS land!)
  • The Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District released earlier this spring a proposal to allow grazing to continue on the Burnt Fork, Beaver Creek and Hickerson Park cattle allotments. A large portion of Beaver Creek allotment is in the High Uintas Wilderness while a small portion of Burntand Hickerson are within the HUW. All are largely within roadless landscapes adjacent to the HUW. The decision is rigged to authorize grazing because the scoping document started with a premise that grazing is the default--the normative--position.
    As we have reported over and over, this has been the case with grazing issues on the Uintas. An honest evaluation as to whether grazing should occur is not on the table. Thus, grazing goes on and on in a classic Catch-22!
  • Over the last few decades, the Ashley National Forest embarked on a significant timber harvesting program--much of it coming before the 1980s forest plan and shortly after the completion of that plan, now 25 years old and and a full decade behind its legal revision date. It is not only outdated, but antiquated.
    A proposal released by the Ashley late this spring noted that some 14,500 acres of lodgepole pine clear-cuts exist on the forest. Tragically, they are easily seen on satellite photos; you forget whether you are in the hacked portion of the Cascades or the Uintas! The Forest Service now needs to initiate post-harvest thinning on these stands, starting with a proposal to thin some 1,450 acres over a 4-5 year period. Get your calculator out to see what this means, decade after decade! The ultimate problem, as we’ve noted for decades, is that these timber harvests were done on low site quality/very low productive timber stands in management prescriptions never intended for commercial timber harvest. Trying to manage them as timber stands is a huge waste of money and time not to mention loss of wildlife, wildness and ecological integrity. But onward the Ashley marches, unable to grasp the importance of stopping the never-ending harvesting mistakes.
  • As you read this, the Ashley is finalizing the High Uintas Wilderness reservoir stabilization project. The last two reservoirs to be rendered inoperative and stabilized are E. Timothy and Deer Lake on the Swift Creek drainage (see LYNX 12/09.)
  • Nothing new to report on forest planning regulations (LYNX 2/10), wolf de-listing (LYNX 2/10), or on the new protective roadless area regulations (LYNX 12/09.)

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