Dickerson Heights: Where Will the Wildlife Go?

Dickerson Heights Sale Stopped!

11-6-06 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that BLM violated protection for the Red Tree Voles

 

02/27/06

Orange tape in the background marks a prospective new road and timber landing.

Roseburg BLM has proposed to log 150 acres of old-growth and mature forests west of Winston in the Olalla watershed, around the Dickerson Rocks. The BLM will virtually clearcut these ancient forests, leaving only about 6 to 12 trees standing per acre.

The comment period is now over, but feel free to send your comments on this proposal to the BLM.

75% of the forests in the Olalla-Lookingglass watershed have already been clearcut. Of our public lands in the Olalla-Lookingglass watershed, the BLM has already clearcut about 60%. Virtually all of the native, old-growth forests left in the watershed are owned by the public and managed by the BLM.

It seems that the BLM wants to continue clearcutting the last of the old-growth and gifting the timber industry with more tree farms they can use in perpetuity. What is at stake if these lands are harvested?

Owls

An old-growth Douglas fir, right, and Ponderosa Pine, middle, mark the location of a proposed new road through Unit D.

Ironically, about 70% of the public lands in Olalla have been set aside as reserves for old-growth dependent species. But over half of those reserves were clearcut before they were reserved. As a result, the spotted owl has just a tiny home to live and eat in. Incredibly, the BLM is going to clearcut old-growth in some of their home BEFORE the reserves set aside for them have recovered.

There could be several spotted owls dependent on the old growth forest the BLM is clearcutting. The exact number remains unclear because the BLM has not surveyed this forest for owls since 1991, 15 years ago! At that time, there were four owls (two pairs) that depended on the Dickerson Timber Sale forests: the Bushnell Creek and Byron Creek owls.


Murrelets

This ancient Douglas fir is an example of suitable habitat for murrelets and spotted owls.

Even the highly endangered marbled murrelets use the forests in and around the Dickerson Heights timber sale. One unit of the sale was dropped because a murrelet was found nesting there. But the rest of suitable nesting habitat for murrelets will be clearcut and never be available for this endangered seabird again.

The aforementioned species depend on old-growth forests; while it would be convenient for many of us if they simply "adapted" to living in tree plantations, it is unlikely this will happen. Specialized habitat for these species is disappearing, even after it is set aside. These forests could also support a variety of rare bat species, northern goshawks, Del Norte salamanders, and great gray owls Is it justified to continue practices that result in reduced viability for others?

Dickerson Rocks

Dickerson Rocks

 

 

Unit D is the best way to hike into the remarkable Dickerson Rocks, the beginning of which are on Roseburg BLM property and border unit D. Citizens have also created a hiking trail through the beautiful old forests of unit C. Clearcutting this incredible hiking area is an irreplaceable loss for the citizens of Douglas County. It may deter hikers, since the vista points will include a clearcut wasteland for years.

 

 

 

Old-growth Douglas fir, right, and Pacific Madrone, left, in the diverse forests of unit D.

This is one of the most diverse forests on Roseburg BLM lands. Tree species include Pacific madrone, golden chinkapin, myrtlewood, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, canyon live oak and incense cedar. The lichens, mosses and other plants growing on the rocks are deep, soft, and like nothing else you have seen, especially if you visit this place in the rain. This is a unique place, certainly not your run-of-the-mill old-growth forests. It is a waste of beauty and diversity to convert these forests to a tree farm. The trees here are slow-growing because of the surface rock. There are some rock faces in the units where planted trees could never grow back once the native trees and brush clinging to the old rocks are logged, torn up, and roaded over. Turning it into an even-age, virtual monoculture is an irreplaceable loss.

Send Comments To:

William Haigh, BLM South River Field Manager
777 NW Garden Valley Blvd.
Roseburg, OR 97470

email: or100MB@or.blm.gov