June 2, 2004
A line in the forest
Greenpeace sets up nationís first
forest rescue center as activists pledge
to fight proposed Southern Oregon timber
By PAUL FATTIG
Mail Tribune 6/2/04
GALICE ó Wearing a T-shirt identifying
her as a member of the "Forest Crime
Unit," Ginger Cassady opened Greenpeaceís
first forest rescue station in the United
States Tuesday morning.
The station, which includes two
24-foot-wide dome-style tents, several
smaller tents, a fire truck and a
satellite communications system powered by
solar energy, is located on the edge of
the Bureau of Land Managementís proposed
Kelsey Whiskey timber sales, which the
group and many other environmentalists
The area some 20 miles west of Galice
represents hundreds of planned timber
sales on public forestlands across the
nation despite opposition, said Cassady.
The group is calling for a commercial
logging moratorium in old-growth timber on
"If the American people donít draw a
line in the sand, then the Bush
administration is going to leave us with a
tragic legacy ó a graveyard of stumps,"
"This is why Greenpeace is here today ó
to stop it before itís too late."
The station will provide a place for
visitors to learn the ecological
importance of the region and the planned
logging in the area, Cassady said.
"Greenpeace has come to Southern Oregon
because this is a place of international
significance," she said. "We are here to
support the local efforts trying to save
Greenpeace campaign director Bill
Richardson, a 16-year veteran of actions
in both forests and aboard ships, said the
group has a history of protecting forests
"Oregon has one of the most
biologically diverse old-growth ecosystems
in the country," he said. "It is the
perfect place from which to address an
issue which has incredible significance
for our entire country."
He declined to discuss what actions the
group, which has a history of peaceful
protests, would do to stop logging on
Kelsey Whiskey. The group has also
expressed opposition to the planned timber
salvage of trees killed by the 2002
Biscuit fire on the Siskiyou National
"Whatever is required," he said.
Ashland resident Dot Fisher-Smith, 75,
a local activist and one of several people
attending a remote press conference
Tuesday, applauded the presence of the
"I feel grateful that Greenpeace has
recognized the wild Siskiyous as an area
needing protection," she said. "This area
is diverse and fragile. Iím glad that
Greenpeace is bringing attention to it
nationally and, I hope, internationally."
But Mary Smelcer, associate manager of
the BLMís Medford District, hopes a
representative of the group would contact
the agency first.
"They havenít communicated with us,"
she said. "At this point, weíll spend some
time making contact with them and talking
to them. People have a right to camp on
She declined to predict what could
happen if the group stays beyond the
14-day camping limitation on district land
per 90-day period.
The first Kelsey Whiskey timber sale,
which includes about 9 million board feet
being logged on some 800 acres, is
expected to be sold this summer, she said.
However, she said the sales are in full
compliance with environmental laws.
Jay Lininger disagrees. The
fourth-generation Southern Oregon native
and a graduate student of forest ecology
and fire science at the University of
Montana at Missoula said he believes
logging the area threatens the
"The Kelsey Whiskey sale is emblematic
of an addiction by BLM foresters to log
the largest, most ecological valuable
trees on public land," he said.
Ashland resident Ken Morrish, a
fourth-generation fly-fisherman who has
guided throughout Alaska, Oregon and
California, noted the public forests
belong to the public, not the agencies or
private timber interests.
"We need to stand up for those lands
today," he said. "... These forests are
vital parts of an interconnected ecosystem
and a vital part to the health of the
"Enough is enough," he added. "We need
to draw a line, starting right here today.
We need to speak up in behalf of what is
rightfully the living natural legacy of