Stop Rep. Walden’s Plan to Clear-Cut the Gorge

Send a letter to your members of Congress today and a copy to the Governor!

With the Eagle Creek fire still burning in the Columbia Gorge, Congressman Greg Walden has already introduced legislation (HR 3715) that would require commercial logging in areas impacted by the Eagle Creek fire within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. If passed, HR 3715 would require the Forest Service to develop plans to log the Gorge without environmental review, short-circuiting public involvement and limiting legal challenges. This is unacceptable.

The Eagle Creek fire not only burned within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, a natural scenic wonder and an icon of the Northwest. The majority of the forests affected are also within the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Area. If fact, much of the area has been off-limits to logging and road building since 1915 when the Forest Service created the Columbia River Gorge Park. HR 3715 would undo over 100 years of protection, resulting in road building and logging in areas that are extremely sensitive.

Fires such as the Eagle Creek fire, which can be devastating for nearby communities, businesses, and homeowners, are not necessarily a disaster for the natural ecosystems. Fire has been a part of forest ecosystems for as long as there have been forests, and there are many natural processes that take place after a fire that can quickly and effectively rehabilitate the natural ecosystem faster and better than anything humans could do.

There is zero evidence of ecological benefit from salvage logging in post-fire environments. Instead, salvage logging benefits the timber industry at the expense of biodiversity on our public lands. Post-fire salvage logging, or proposals to expedite it, usually includes replanting after logging, which is characterized as “creating a new forest faster than letting nature do the healing.” However, in most situations, natural regeneration is robust and artificial replanting results in the creation of highly flammable “plantations” that are likely to burn at a higher intensity and mortality in the future.

You can read more talking points from FoCG about this issue and legislation on their website, and at Oregon Wild.