Salvage Rider Law Tiller Ranger District

Thank You For Your Help On First/Last

First/Last Timber Sales Traded!


3/22/96

Cutting Begins with Protesters in Sale Unit.

Cutting began on the First timber sale on March 22, but a couple hours late due to protesters blocking the road and occupying the units which contain trees over one thousand years old.

Cutting began on March 22, 1996 on the 'Last' Timber Sale, the sister sale to the 'First' Timber Sale. 'Last' cuts into the roadless area from the North, and 'First' cuts into the roadless area from the south, fragmenting the last remaining intact ecosystem in the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest.

On March 21, 1996 protesters successfully blocked the road into the area of the First Timber Sale. The loggers arrived at their road block at 6:30 am. They broke through about an hour later, but were then confronted with dozens of protesters in the unit to be cut. RFP started cutting anyway, ignoring the danger to the citizens surrounding their ancient trees. At about 10:00 a.m., the Forest Service announced an area closure, through a bullhorn, once on each edge of the unit. Protesters, the legal owner of these trees, refused to leave and chose to witness one of the worst destructions of our lifetime. Through the wails and whistles and cries of agony from the people, the ancient huge trees fell to the ground, shaking the earth.

Roseburg Forest Products refused to continue negations with the Umpqua National Forest yesterday to trade for volume in less sensitive areas. Judge Dwyer had deemed 3 other sales in the roadless area illegal in 1990, and the Forest Service withdrew 2 sales, First and Last, because of the same violations. Because they never had a final Dwyer ruling, they can now be cut under the Logging Without Laws Rider.

They are the last unfragmented forest in the Tiller Ranger District. They are also in Late Successional Reserves, Key Watersheds, roadless areas and endanger the Umpqua Searun Cutthroat Trout and Coho Salmon.

Age measurements on trees in the First timber sale, taken yesterday, revealed that the dominate trees are centuries old. The Forest Service has designated this area as Ecologically Significant Old Growth (ESOG).

Environmentalists in the area are vowing to defend this rare critical habitat. However, Roseburg Forest Products are determined to fall the biggest and best trees as fast as possible. They have stopped working on some of their other sales, such as Yellow Creek, and moved their fellers over to the First timber sale. In spite days of attempted negotiations by the Forest Service, RFP is determined to clearcut the area.

Roseburg Forest Products just laid off 170 employees from their mill last week because of a weak housing market and a overflowing mill deck. In spite of this, they feel it is necessary to destroy this ancient roadless area as fast as possible, just to make sure they get their illegal timber.

Roseburg Forest Products has many rider sale units that they have already cut the trees on but left the big timber on the ground, such as Yellow Creek, where they have not yet yarded trees they cut in December.

This blatant greed must stop. These forest ecosystems do not belong to Roseburg Forest Products. We must not let our species go extinct. We will witness this logging, and we will protest.


A tragic date: March 8, 1996

First timber sale and Last timber sale were released for deforestation on the Umpqua National Forest. These are two sales within a group of 5 related sales.

First and Last, on the Tiller RD, are our most egregious rider sales, and makes us really really mad. Unlike the other 318 sales in highly fragmented areas, these sales are in roadless area. They are in Late Successional Reserves, Key Watersheds, and designated ESOGs (Ecologically Significant Old Growth). They effect the spawning grounds for the coho, cutthroat, and winter steelhead. They are the last intact stands in the Tiller Ranger District. This will be 921 more acres of brutal clearcuts of 36.8 million board feet of ancient forests, and miles of new roads.

These are 318 sales that were sold and auctioned in 1990, but never awarded due to their extreme detrimental effect. Audubon had sued on Cowboy, Nita, and S. Nita - and won. There was a section 318 rule that sales could not be in ESOG areas. First and Last were then withdrawn by the Forest Service because they violated the same rule.

Yet, as soon as the 1995 clearcut rider came along, Roseburg Forest Products sued for the release of these sales under the language of the logging rider, and so far have won at least First and Last, and perhaps soon will win the other three.

Since the other three sales, Cowboy, Nita and South Nita, had a 1990 injunction by Judge Dwyer, Dwyer decided on February 26, 1996, to keep the 1990 injunctions in place until the Court of Appeals decides whether canceled and enjoined sales must be released under the logging rider. "Whether these sales fall within the logging rider's giveaway provisions will be decided by the Ninth Circuit in early May," says attorney Patti Goldman of SCLDF.

First and Last timber sales were withdrawn by the FS in 1990, because they violated the same rules and it was cheaper for the government to withdraw them then to fight a loosing battle. Therefore, these two sales did not have an official previous Dwyer ruling. Therefore, on February 29, 1996, Judge Dwyer did not prohibit logging of the First and Last sales because he had not officially enjoined those sales previously. How's that for fairness? Cutting is now imminent on these sales.

National Marine Fisheries Service said these sales were:

"particularly concerned by timber sales that are concentrated in tier 1 key watersheds within the range of anadromous salmonids proposed for listing under the ESA. These watersheds were identified in the NWFP as those that encompass the best remaining relatively high quality habitats for at-risk anadromous fish stocks on Federal lands, and hence form the building blocks for recovery of these species....

"The recent round of watershed analysis, done in key watersheds in 1994-95, confirm that the typical tier 1 key watershed as a whole is barely able to provide the high quality habitats anadromous salmonids need to survive and reproduce.... While usually only a portion of a tier 1 key watershed is fully functional, these "last best habitats" are critical to the long-term survival of the species, and it is in fact these remaining high quality areas that are most at risk from the 318 sales."

When Roseburg Forest Products bid on these sales in 1990, they knew there was a good chance they would never be awarded. In light of the scientifically and legally proven detrimental impacts of these sales, it is inconceivable why Roseburg Forest Products would want to bring these sales to court to sue for their release, and then proceed to destroy this intact ecosystem. These sales would never have gone forward in any form had it not been for the rider. Award and release of First and Last was finalized on March 8, with activity to begin within two weeks.

These sales will devastate rare fish habitat. Unlike endangered bird species, congress put no provisions in the Logging Rider for endangered fish species - not one thought, not one concern. Because of the Logging Rider, industry is making huge profits at the expense of our heritage, including the salmon who have lived here for millions of years. How can we just stand by and let them go extinct in our lifetime?




How to get there:

To get to "First," timber sale, take I-5 to Roseburg in Central Southern Oregon, and take Rt. 138 East (Diamond Lake Blvd.). Follow this road through Roseburg for 18 miles until just before Glide. You'll see a sign on your right for Little River Rd. (Rt. 17) and The Wolf Creek Conservation Camp. Turn right onto Rt.17. In 15 miles the road number changes to 27. Follow 27 for about 1.5 miles and veer right onto Rd. 2719. Follow this road for about 10 miles (?) to the area of the Last timber sale. Continue another 5 or so miles to road 2741. This is the area of the First timber sale


Salvage Rider Law Tiller Ranger District