Forest Service Begins Largest Logging Project in Modern History

Feature story - March 15, 2005
If destructive logging practices tend to push your buttons, then prepare yourself for this one: The U.S. Forest Service, steward of our national forests, has begun its largest logging project in modern history. And it's targeting some of our last, best stands of ancient forests left in the country.

This old-growth tree is marked for logging.

The Forest Service is logging in the Klamath-Siskiyou National Forest in southwestern Oregon in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area, the region where we sited our Forest Rescue Station in June 2004. The Klamath-Siskiyou National Forest is one of our nation's "Keystone Forests" - an area that provides the healthiest habitat for the greatest number of species and that should be a top priority for protection.

The logging operation is part of the Biscuit Logging Project, the largest Forest Service timber sale in modern history. Thirty square miles of ancient forests and inventoried roadless wildlands will be destroyed as the Forest Service logs 370 million board feet of trees, enough to fill 74,000 log trucks lined up for over 600 miles. This is the first time that logging of this magnitude has occurred in old-growth forest reserves since the creation of the Northwest Forest Plan over ten years ago.

"No, I am not afraid. I am 75 years old... I would rather go out in a blaze, defending the world I love. I am more afraid that my grandchildren will think I did not try hard enough to leave them a legacy of peace, and a world worth living in. I don't want them to know the beauty of trees by looking at a book. I want them to be able to walk among 800-year-old trees and know that is our destiny. That is where we have to get back to." - Joan Norman, arrested March 14 for the second time in a week protesting industrial logging of ancient forest reserves in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of Oregon.

Nearly 50 citizens have been arrested since March 7 while attempting to delay the logging with peaceful, non-violent road blockades. Joan Norman, a 75-year-old activist, said as she was being arrested, "We have no laws protecting our forests so we will be the law."

During the latest action, which took place on March 14, a group of 30 local women including elders, church members and conservationists sat down on the a bridge over the Wild and Scenic Illinois River to block logging trucks at dawn on Monday morning, locking down in solidarity against the lawless logging.

Those arrested include four women in their 70s and a woman nine months pregnant who was interviewed live by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! while she was having contractions on the bridge.

Calls and emails are needed from around the country to show widespread opposition to industrial logging in this incredible place. Don't let the Forest Service get away with this unconscionable behavior. 

More Information

Read updates on the protests on the Rogue Valley Independent Media Center and the Oxygen Collective websites.