Make the McKenzie Connection!

Activists hang banner across Highway 126

Old growth fight isn't over near McKenzie Bridge

MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Last Tuesday, Flat Country timber sale opponents took to the trees to hang a 30-foot-wide banner across Highway 126. Organizers of the protest, including the Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD), are calling on the Willamette National Forest and the Biden Administration to cancel the proposed sale, saying it would have significant impacts on the climate, drinking water, and community safety.

In a letter last year the McKenzie River Ranger District said the project was designed to "provide a sustainable supply of timber products, increase vegetative habitat complexity and hardwood composition along streams, actively manage stands to improve stand conditions (in terms of density, diversity, and structure), and sustainably manage the network of roads on 4,438 acres in the Willamette National Forest."

Details of the sale include commercial thinning, shelterwood with reserves, fuels reduction treatments, meadow enhancement, and early seral creation through gaps, according to officials. The work would also entail building temporary roads, road maintenance, and road decommissioning off Highway 126, east of the town of McKenzie Bridge.

"The Flat Country old growth timber sale is a travesty for our climate and our communities," said CFD organizer Daniel Johnson. "We will not stop fighting until this sale is defeated and permanent protections are created for old growth and mature forests across the region and across the country."

Opponents say they are bracing for a fight if potions of the project are auctioned this fall, warning bidders, "If you buy this sale, you buy us too." Cascadia Forest Defenders have voiced their intention to escalate their actions against the project throughout the fall.

"As our communities experience firsthand the ravages of the climate crisis, it's completely indefensible for the Biden Administration to continue to sanction the logging of these critical old-growth forests," said Sara Jaymes, another CFD organizer. "While our politicians decry the continued destruction of rainforests abroad, they are silent as our own rainforests are clearcut for private profit"


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