In mid-November, we asked our Wild Alert subscribers to let the Bush Administration know that its last-minute plan to sell off some of our last ancient forests in Oregon to the timber industry is unacceptable.
And the response was overwhelming!
In less than 48 hours, more than 30,000 letters had been written in opposition to the Bush Administration’s long-term plan. The proposed plan, known as the Western Oregon Plan Revisions, or WOPR, threatens to increase logging by over three times the current amount and add more than 1,000 miles of damaging logging roads to Oregon’s western forests.
Home to some of the most spectacular forests in the country, the low mountains of the coast and southwest Oregon are covered by rain-drenched coniferous forests that offer scenic views and provide some of the most productive salmon habitat in the lower 48 states.
Interspersed in the landscape in a checkerboard fashion, these public forests provide clean drinking water, boundless recreational opportunities for families, and places for wildlife, such as the imperiled northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, to thrive.
For the past 10 years, the Bureau of Land Management has managed public forests in western Oregon under the Northwest Forest Plan, which provides protections for much of the remaining old-growth forests, salmon streams and wildlife habitats.
Yet over the past few years, the federal government and the timber industry have been chipping away at the protections in the plan and their latest attempt to weaken the plan is occurring on over two million acres of BLM land within the mountains stretching along the coast of Oregon and the foothills of the Cascades. If the flawed Western Oregon Plan Revisions is implemented, it will have a lasting effect, changing the landscape of western Oregon forests for generations to come.
With the public challenging the Bureau of Land Management to put together a more conservation-oriented plan, there is a chance that the decision for the Western Orgeon Plan Revisions could be delayed. If delayed, the new Administration could require the BLM to produce a plan developed on sound science.
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