Cascadia Forest Defenders promise to continue fight against logging of old-growth after showing timber industry they will not let logging proceed without a fight.
Willamette National Forest – Yesterday, Members of Cascadia Forest Defenders came down from their treesits after occupying trees in the Willamette National Forest’s proposed Flat Country timber sale for over two weeks to protest the ongoing logging of carbon-rich old growth forest on public land under the Biden Administration. The contentious timber sale, which threatens thousands of acres of old growth and mature forest in the McKenzie Watershed with clearcut logging, has been opposed by Congressman Peter DeFazio and prominent forest ecologists Jerry Franklin and Norm Johnson, often hailed as the primary architects of the Northwest Forest Plan. The protestors say that their demonstration was successful in sending a clear message to the Willamette National Forest, the Biden Administration, and timber companies interested in purchasing the sale: the community will not abide continued old growth logging on public lands.
“We occupied the proposed clearcut logging project to show all parties involved that the practice of industrial logging in old growth and mature forests is unacceptable in the midst of a climate crisis,” said Derek Garmin. “We have made it clear to anyone considering purchasing these critical ecosystems to be clearcut that we will be there every step of the way fighting back.
While climate-driven wildfires rage across the state, activists say that they occupied the sale in order to protest not only the Flat Country sale, but the ongoing old growth logging on public lands and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with industrial timber harvest.
“As the climate crisis progresses, it’s completely indefensible for the Biden Administration to continue to sanction the logging of these critical old growth forests,” said Trout, one of the tree-sitters. “While our politicians decry the continued destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, they are conspicuously silent as our own rainforests are lost to industrial logging.”
The organization is demanding that Willamtte National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack immediately drop the Flat Country timber sale and end the pratice of old growth and mature forest logging in the national forest.
“If Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack wants to serve our community and the best interests of the innumerable community members that rely on the ecosystems in the Willamette National Forest for climate stability, drinking water, wildfire resilience, and recreation, he must immediately end the practice of industrial logging in mature and old growth forests,” said Willow Danielson.
The organization is also calling on Senators Wyden and Merkley to join Rep. DeFazio in opposition to the sale, and to the industrial logging of old growth and mature forests on public lands.
“Senator Wyden claims to be an environmental champion, yet it is more obvious than ever that the old growth logging that he supports causes nothing but climate chaos,” said Peter Williams, an organizer of the occupation. “It is time for him to show real leadership and call for an immediate ban on logging mature and old growth forest on public lands.”
The timber sale is in the McKenzie River drinking watershed, and would have significant impacts to two of the McKenzie’s major tributaries, Olallie and Anderson Creeks. Hundreds of thousands of Southern Willamette Valley residents rely on the McKenzie for their drinking water. Cool, clean drinking water is also critical to provide habitat for imperiled fish species including bull trout and coho salmon.
“Forest defense is community defense,” said Joseph Kehrer. “We are inextricably linked to these forests, and we must do everything in our power to maintain these invaluable ecosystems if we hope to continue drinking clean water and breathing fresh air.”
A statement from Cascadia Forest Defenders addressed to local timber companies simply reads: “If you buy this sale, you buy us too.”
Find photos and videos of the action here. These photos are free to use with attribution to Cascadia Forest Defenders.