McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Vida logging draws a crowd


October 6, 2013

BLM meetingLEABURG: Area residents had a chance to hear about the Bureau of Land Management’s plans for logging near Vida at a public meeting last Thursday. Agency staffers with backgrounds ranging from fish biologists to silviculurists explained some of the reasoning for tree removal on up to 2,000 acres on both sides of the McKenzie River.

How that might impact the local community was a concern for many of the people in the room.

Some questioned impacts of logging traffic in places like Goodpasture Road or how hillsides areas might look to someone going downstream in a drift boat. Others wanted to know if the federal government could influence actions of nearby private timberland owners who operate under less restrictive harvest practices.

Bill Sullivan, BLM’s natural resource field manager, responded to most of the queries by admitting it was too early in the planning process to provide any definitive answers. He said the meeting itself was an example of agency efforts to get the public involved earlier in that process than it had in the past.

Lands being looked at include seven parcels ranging from 110 to 440 acres in size. They’re all part of the Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands that were set up to be managed for timber production on a sustainable basis. They also come under the Northwest Forest Plan’s establishment of an adaptive management area established for research and development.

BLM silviculturist Rob Titcum said research had determined the study area had been impacted by two large forest fires. One, on the north side of the river, occurred some 100 years ago. The other, to the south of the river happened 80 years before. Management objectives, he said, retain the biggest and best trees by removing smaller over shaded trees, and create a regenerated area that would be similar to what would have occurred in a natural environment.

That type of management would require tree cutting and thinning on a rotational basis. Sulllivan, though, said the BLM no longer did clearcutting or applies herbicides.

Rob Fraiser was concerned with quality of life issues, saying, “Lots of us live here because of the natural beauty. How do you take in our concerns? How do we protect our community?”

Sullivan said anyone with specific concerns should write down the exact locations involved and submit them to the BLM.

Kevin Mathews agreed. “Their mandate is that there shall be logging,” he said. “Everything being said here tonight is for our ears. Basically, as far as the agency is concerned, the only thing they’re going to consider is what you write and submit.”

Image above: Bill Sullivan, center, spent last Thursday night explaining BLM’s plans to area residents, like Rob Fraiser, right.


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