If you live in the Nehalem River Valley you have probably had this experience—years of driving by a forest, probably thinking it will always be there; then one day, you see the whole forest, trees still fully clothed with branches, laying on the ground—only the scent remains, the fragrance of forest, wafting through the car, as you notice the huge machines stripping and stacking the trees like toothpicks. The next time you drive through, there are burn piles and probably the remaining two straggly trees per acre required by law “for the wildlife.”

Even though the evidence is mounting that clearcutting of the forests is a bad idea on every level from environmental to economic (jobs and county money), both Oregon Department of Forestry and the BLM have proposed an increase in clearcutting (ODF 21% and BLM 30%). So the government bodies that “manage” our forests are moving ever closer to the practices of private industry, governed by an obsolete and ineffective Forest Practices Act.  As Roger Dorbend points out in his recent article in Hipfish, “Dear Bernie Sanders,” (A Forest For the Trees Segment), “the state of Oregon was the first state ever to suffer the ignominy of losing federal grant money for failure to meet EPA standards for clean water in our coastal streams.”  For a clearly written and enlightening account of the situation for Oregon forests, be sure to read Donbend’s account.  (May 16, Hipfish)

Then go to the North Coast State Forest Coalition website; click on “ACT”; this website has set up a clear and easy way to express your opinion to those who might have the  power to change the practices that are destroying our native forest habitat.

While you are there, click on the Homesteader clearcut to see what has happened to the forest that so many of us spoke out for (almost 2,000 people). The photos will show you graphically what “sustainable forestry” means to ODF and Boise Cascade.  I am sure they are feeling proud that they have left 5 trees per acre, instead of the two required — for the wildlife.  Now imagine all the wildlife of the forest hanging from these five trees—staring down at the barren earth, wondering what to eat! (Someone should create a tee shirt with this scene to illustrate the Oregon Forest Practices Act!)  Don’t forget to remind yourself what this 125 year old forest looked like before—illustrated with the photos and commentary under “Homesteader” on this website.  This is one of the most frightening trends: the clearcutting of older, complex forests.  They are not replaceable. There really should be a sign posted on site that says:

DEAD: 85 native plant species; frogs, salamanders, lichens, mosses, fungi…and the forest soil itself.

Roger Dorbend concludes his article in Hipfish, by quoting Bernie Sanders—it is “only when the public finds the courage to demand change that change will come. We need to make politicians feel the heat before they will actually DO SOMETHING.” Write, speak out, in any way you can. gallery13

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