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Trapper Timber Sale Halted – for now!

June 19, 2011

Big Trees in TrapperAfter years of opposition by local communities and environmental groups, the Trapper Timber Sale was halted this past May 24. In a district court decision, the 157 acre timber sale, located in the McKenzie River watershed of the Willamette National Forest, was put on hold due to factual inaccuracies regarding spotted own habitat in the area.

Federal Judge Tom Coffin ruled that in approving the timber sale the U.S. Forest Service violated a basic federal environmental law. Judge Coffin wrote:

“The public is entitled to be accurately informed of the impact of the proposed action on the [northern spotted owl] and to have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on the proposalŠ[A]pproval of the Trapper Timber Sale were based on a factual inaccuracy and the public has yet to be informed of the actual findings.”

The Forest Service cannot move forward with logging until the agency makes a new decision that meets the requirements of the law.

The Forest Service first proposed the timber sale in 1998, the Forest Service has failed to address significant new information that has arisen since the agency issued a decision on the project in 2003. In the ten years since the project was planned, a pair of threatened northern spotted owls has taken up residence in the vicinity of the timber sale.

The court said the agency relied on a flawed analysis of impacts to endangered species and failed to respond to a scientific critique of the project.

First proposed in 1998, Trapper has been slated to be logged by Eugene based Logging Company Seneca Jones since 1999.

In 2006, NEST volunteer surveyors found and documented 30+ red tree vole nests in the pristine, mature forest ecosystems of the Trapper timber sale. Wheras, previous US Forest service Surveys documented only 3 red tree vole nests in the same area. Despite NEST’s new survey data, these nests were never taken into account by the US Forest Service. The correct wildlife buffers for these nests were never created.

Thanks to the many efforts of local activists and multiple environmental groups, the pristine 157 acre forest – just east of Eugene and bordering the McKenzie River – has been saved.

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