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Greens want to stop the Biscuit fire salvage timber harvest and used a smaller sale to their advantage stopping it in mid-June.

The Pioneer Press grants permission for this article to be copied and forwarded.

Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Vol.32, No. 32
Page 1, column 5

Local economy hit by Greens

* A fire salvage timber sale was shut down by federal judge.

By Liz Bowen, Assistant Editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California

SISKIYOU COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – Several local businesses and many more families were affected, when enviro groups petitioned a federal court to stop the salvage logging on Bureau of Land Management land in Oregon on June 9. More than $100,000 had been invested in the project, when a federal judge called a halt to road rehabilitation.

Timber Products Company in Yreka, California received the contract to remove dead trees, burned during the Timbered Rock Fire in 2002, near Shady Cove, Oregon.

Bob Johnson Construction, of Fort Jones, California received the road rehab contract from Timber Products. Johnson then hired additional men and 10 trucking companies in Northern California and Southern Oregon to haul soil and work the project.

They were just two weeks into the road fixing, when federal judge, Ann Aiken, brought it to a screeching halt. Five enviro groups that look to be led by Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, brought the lawsuit against BLM. The Timbered Rock Fire was in the Elk Creek old-growth reserve, which have been set aside from logging. These areas are called Late Successional Reserves or LSRs.

An Environmental Impact Statement was completed by the BLM, but Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (K-S Wild) claims that the old-growth areas should not be harvested.

"Obviously after the burn, there are no more LSR characteristics," said Bill Turner, the timber procurement manager for Timber Products. He drove to Eugene, Oregon in mid-June to testify before Judge Aiken.

"We were taking out dead trees, so a new forest could be established," Turner explained. It is the Timber Products Company that is left with the $100,000 loss on the road rehab job.

Bob Johnson said that just his part of the contract would have put $400,000 or more into the local economy providing jobs. Also like Turner, Johnson said the Timbered Rock Fire nuked the area. Dead trees are waiting like huge matchsticks as fuel for another fire. Cleaning up the dead trees and brush is the environmental goal.

Johnson said he was perplexed when two men showed up and began taking pictures of his equipment; the bulldozer, excavator and dump trucks.

"I asked them if they were going to terrorize my equipment," recalls Johnson. They responded with a "no" and that they were only interested in stopping logging, which had not started.

"The Timbered Rock salvage is small potatoes compared to the Biscuit," said Johnson.

Turner agrees and said that contractors will not want to bid on the Biscuit Fire salvage, which is nearing the end of its Environmental Impact Statement process. The Biscuit Fire was about 100 miles east and also occurred in 2002, but covered a much larger area. Both men believe that the court action against the Timbered Rock salvage is a prelude to what will happen against the Biscuit. Logging was scheduled to start on the Biscuit in July.

They are right. The opposition is not quiet. In fact, the K-S Wild.org web site encourages everyone to "Stop the Biscuit & Save the Siskiyous." The site also refers to the Timbered Rock Fire as "… a perfect wildfire."

Equipment workers for Johnson, said the Timbered Rock did not look like a "perfect wildfire" to them. Turner said that many areas burned extremely hot, because of the dense vegetation and trees.

Greenpeace told to leave

On a separate salvage sale, the worldwide Greenpeace non-profit was ordered by BLM to pack up its Forest Rescue Station and leave after three individuals were arrested for blocking a logging road last week. A Greenpeace spokeswoman said she didn’t know if Greenpeace was going to leave or not.

As of June 24, 2004, Greenpeace has hunkered down and is claiming protection through the Bill of Rights Amendments.


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