The Hardesty Wildlands need your help!

February 5, 2016

View from Mt. June

What’s happened to all the wild places?

While once the whole world was wild, now we’re left only with dark pockets. Again and again we return to these hidden, mossy stream-sides, because we intrinsically feel better there. There’s something about the wind circling through high hemlock canopies, and the impacted delicacy of wet soil that makes us unmistakably happy.

Despite the scarcity of wild places, they remain threatened, primarily—and unsurprisingly—by logging interests.

One of these threatened beauties is the Hardesty Wildlands area. Two mountains—Hardesty and June—reside in this temperate rainforest containing over 7,000 acres of roadless, wilderness-quality lands. Only 30 miles southeast of Eugene, the Hardesty Wildlands are unblemished by the close proximity of the city; this is a forest free of roads, and rich with mature and old-growth trees.

A number of animals find refuge here among the ferns and the fallen logs, among the huckleberries and the giant Douglas firs, including spotted owls, elk, and eagles. Humans, as well, seek refuge on the 20 miles of hiking trails. In spring visitors may find wildflowers here, wild ginger and calypso orchids tucked along pathways to great mountain ridges, to wide views of the snow-struck cascades, to the blue haze of the coast range. In fall they may find mushrooms on the back side of a rotting log, or tucked at the base of a vine maple, the air cold and quiet except for the blustering song of a raven.

Old-growth forests like those found in Hardesty also help store carbon and decrease the effects of climate change. Hardesty’s forest-filtered, pristine streams provide clean water, eventually serving as the domestic water source for the nearby town of Cottage Grove. Although the Hardesty Wildlands are a priceless resource for all Oregonians, this is especially true for those in nearby cities like Eugene and Springfield who relish having this wild place in their backyard.

The movement to permanently protect Hardesty has been underway since the 1970’s. Through the combined efforts of the Sierra Club, Oregon Wild, and Cascadia Wildlands, the campaign continues today as groups seek to make the Hardesty Wildlands a federally designated Forest Conservation Area.

But recently, a major problem has emerged: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has opened up over 800 acres for commercial timber sales on the east side of Mt. June in what is known as the Lost Creek timber harvest plan. Two parcels of this plan have already been sold to the highest bidder. The Anthony Access parcel would see 108 acres thinned and 52 acres lost to clear-cutting—or what is euphemistically called “regeneration harvesting,” in which only six to eight trees are left standing per acre—in the Lost Creek Drainage, while the John’s Last Stand parcel would entail a loss of 49 acres to clear-cutting using helicopters. This proposed cut, sold at auction for just over $100,000, represents a modest short-term profit for the logging company, but poses a long-term impact to our publicly owned forest.

With less than 10% of the original old-growth forests remaining in Oregon, we must recognize that these last fragments of roadless forest hold incalculable value as a living complex of interrelated species. The Hardesty Wildlands must be saved and restored as a place for scientific study, and as a last holdout for wildlife habitat, water and air quality, recreation, and renewal of the human spirit.

Wildflowers on Mt. June

Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, and the Sierra Club filed a protest against the logging proposals in December 2015. The BLM is currently reviewing that protest and may make a decision to award, modify, or cancel the sale within the coming days. If they decide to approve the logging, these conservation groups may have to file an administrative appeal.

Take action today to help!

We can all share our voices with the BLM by signing these petitions by the Sierra Club and Cascadia Wildlands. For more information about the Hardesty Wildlands, or to volunteer, you can contact the Sierra Club Many Rivers Group.

The mountaintops and forests of Hardesty, like all public lands, belong to everyone and to no one. This is one of the few wild places left to us – one that, as we venture into it, makes us content with an instinctual, inexplicable nostalgia. This is one of the few places left where, even as we enter the forest for the first time, we feel that we’ve returned to some long-lost place, a place we’ve been before, and, as we stand still and listen to the warbles of songbirds, and as we hear the crunch of needles beneath our boots, we somehow have the sense that, among the old trees, we have rediscovered something, some part of ourselves that’s been missing, and at long last we feel whole; at long last we have come home.

Oregon Board of Forestry announces Sept. 9 meeting on state forests – more logging while failing to protect and restore rivers and streams

August 26, 2009

LittleNorthForkWilsonWhy is the Kulongoski administration failing to protect Oregon’s Tillamook and Clatsop state Forests?

At its meeting on Wednesday, September 9, the Oregon Board of Forestry plans to move forward with a proposal to significantly reduce environmental protection across the 500,000 acre Tillamook and Clatsop state forests in NW Oregon, at the expense of wild salmon, clean water, a healthy climate and recreation.

In its plans to run state forests more like industrial tree farms, the Board, with assistance from the Oregon Department of Forestry, will also begin revising the Greatest Permanent Value (GPV) mandate that governs these state lands in order to put a greater focus on timber production instead of other values like recreation, clean water, carbon sequestration and fish and wildlife habitat.

Unfortunately, Governor Kulongoski has shown strong support for efforts to shift state forest management to a ‘timber first’ approach.

Please contact Governor Kulongoski today and urge him to:

  • Support a strong salmon protection plan by opposing clearcuting in Salmon Anchor Habitats
  • Support the creation of long term and permanent conservation areas
  • Reduce conflicts of interest on the Board of Forestry by appointing more conservation advocates and scientists
  • Support a state forest management plan that restores watersheds damaged by past logging and enhances values like recreation, wild salmon, carbon sequestration and clean water .

The Board of Forestry meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oregon Garden hotel, 895 W. Main St., Silverton. Join the Sierra Club and other conservation advocates in showing your support for more environmental protection on our state lands.


At its June 3 meeting, the Oregon Board of  Forestry – in a controversial decision opposed by fishing and conservation groups – decided to move forward with plans to dramatically increase clearcut logging on the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests between the Portland area and the Coast. This started the ball rolling on a plan to open up tens of thousands of acres of older forests on state lands to new logging in coming years, despite strong evidence this logging increase will lead to damaged rivers, streams and fisheries. Based on flawed assumptions that increased logging will create jobs in the timber industry during extremely weak demand for lumber and a depressed housing market, the timber-centric Board of Forestry has chosen to prioritize logging over all other important values in these state forests, including the growing recreation economy, carbon sequestration and healthy fisheries.

How you can make a difference:

The Oregon Board of Forestry is planning a public meeting on Wednesday, September 9  from 8 am to 4pm in Silverton (note change from the regularly Salem location). It is at this meeting that they will decide how to move forward with their misguided logging plans, as well as whether to fundamentally alter the ‘greatest permanent value’ rule which currently  requires that logging be balanced with other non-timber values on these state forests.

If you care about protecting our state forests from unsustainable logging, please consider attending the Sept. 9 Board meeting in Silverton and testifying to your opposition to their June 3 decision. At a minimum, please visit Governor Kulongoski’s comment website to register your opposition to the Board’s pro-timber bias and failure to protect watershed health, recreation and non-timber values on our state lands. The Governor is currently backing the Board’s decision to prioritize logging above other values such as healthy fish runs, clean water, recreation and carbon sequestration.

Version of the Events in Salem Yesterday

June 4, 2009

Hey everybody!

I’m one of the Sierra Club summer interns, and I would like to update you, the fabulous readers of this blog, about an awesome event that happened yesterday in Salem.

Well, yesterday was an epic day down at Administrative building in Salem. The Oregon Board of Forestry was meeting to determine fate of the Tillamook State Forest.

This was a MAJOR decision, and Hunter/Angler point person Jeff Hickman organized a whole rally down there. So next time you see him, give him a round of applause because he did an AWESOME job.

Jeff walking in to the meeting

Jeff walking in to the meeting

Over 30 anglers and 12 boats were present, as well as many other volunteers and supporters. We parked the boats on the lawn and draped them with banners that made it clear that we did NOT support the plan under discussion.

Salmon DO mean business. A fact the Board forgot

Salmon DO mean business. A fact the Board forgot

Look how many people were there!

Look how many people were there!

The statue of a Civilian Conservation Corps member all decked out

The statue of a Civilian Conservation Corps member all decked out

There were also two wild salmon and one Sasquatch present, to represent their habitat.

The Sierra Club summer interns with Salmon and Sasquatch

The Sierra Club summer interns with Salmon and Sasquatch

After setting the stage and getting everybody in matching T-shirts, we went in and took up most of the seats in the conference room.

There then followed a long meeting during which I understood about half of what was going on but here’s the gist:

1. The Department of Forestry people presented a lot of “scientific” information about how the proposed plan (increasing clear cutting by 20%, salmon anchors and buffer zones gone, BAD stuff, etc) was not detrimental to the health of the forest and how it was actually economically beneficial.

2. This is NOT true. And as a student of science it goes against all of my principles to see such blatantly biased information presented and accepted.

3. Many people spoke to the board saying they did not agree with the plan and were highly opposed.

4. Multiple conservation organizations were represented, as well as concerned citizens, anglers, and residents of Tillamook.

5. Not a SINGLE logger stood up to support this plan.

6. The board then talked about what to do, with State Forester Marvin Brown recommending that they adopt the proposed plan. I would like to comment that this plan was not approved by any independent scientific peer review, nor is it good for anyone in the long term, nor is it actually thought out and it ignores everyone except the county commissioners.

7. Things were looking up when two of the board members brought up excellent points about the plan, such as carbon storage, permanent value of the forest, fish habitat, citizen concern and involvement, the very way the Board makes decisions, and limits on the plan.

8. The board then voted to approve the plan.

9. There were five board members present, three of whom are directly employed by the timber industry. One of the board members who was going to vote our way at the last minute voted to approve the plan. The other member who would have voted in our benefit was on vacation. If he had been there the vote would have tied.

We were all then shell-shocked and angry.

So we went outside and had a barbeque, and dismantled everything.

Here’s what the plan means:

1. 20% more of the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests are now on the table to be clear-cut. This amounts to 103,600 acres.

2. The salmon anchors that are currently in place may change or expire, but no firm decision was made.

3. County residents, fish, animals, and basically the entire state of Oregon is going to suffer.

4. And for what? So that more timber can be exported because logs are at record low

Basically, now we are working on what to do next.

There is still leeway in this, because this decision started the ball rolling to implement the plan, but it is not over yet. The Board has until April to debate about how to define Greatest Permanent Value for the forests, and the terms of two members are almost up, so hopefully in April the Board will vote to do something different. Until then, keep writing those letters, sending emails, and making your voice heard!