Believe it or not, the Mt. Hood National Forest's Management Plan emphasizes converting mature natural forest into managed plantations across much of the forest’s one million-plus acres. Proposing massive logging projects like the Crystal Clear Timber Sale, the Forest Service continues to manage the forest as an agricultural product rather than a living ecosystem, threatening the forest's ability to adapt to the changing climate.
Can you imagine what Mt. Hood will be like if the Forest Service continues on this course?
Since 1999, Bark has pushed back on proposals to clearcut native forest, to build roads through sensitive watersheds and over hiking trails, and to sell off the exceptional wildlife habitat of burned forest to private logging companies. While we have been successful in saving thousands of acres, the Forest Service’s own management plan remains focused on commercial timber extraction—and each new project seems more destructive than the last.
Since the Forest Plan was written in 1990, our region has changed dramatically. Our population is growing, the climate is changing, recreation is on the increase, iconic species are threatened with extinction, and federal agency budgets have been slashed. But our communities depend on the forest just as much as ever.
We know climate change threatens the health of the Mt. Hood National Forest.
The Forest Plan doesn’t address forest management in the context of an increasingly warmer and unstable climate—it’s just too old. Today, climate change is an urgent factor. While we don’t know exactly what the future brings, the science of understanding and predicting climate change has improved rapidly over the past decade.
With a changing climate, Mt. Hood’s forests, waters, and wildlife will need to withstand drier, longer summers, extreme winter rain and snow events, more frequent landslides, higher temperatures and turbidity in streams, and unpredictable water availability. Communities surrounding the forest need to act now to ensure protections for the incredible forest ecosystem on which we all rely. The time is right to update the Plan to focus on ecosystem resilience to what’s ahead.
Carbon sequestration is not even considered in the Forest Management Plan.
Mt. Hood National Forest is one of the country’s top ten best National Forests for carbon storage. While the state of Oregon emits about 60 million tons of carbon a year, new data show that forests store about 3 billion tons. So why are we logging the world’s biggest carbon sinks?
Public, federally managed forests are said to be managed “for the greatest good.” National forests have the greatest potential to capture additional carbon—and do it faster than other lands. Properly understood, the Mt. Hood National Forest is an important tool in fighting climate change and protecting life on this planet.
The future is an ecosystem-centered economy.
Despite the state’s historical dependence on the timber industry, logging and wood products industries now make up less than 2% of Oregon’s economy. It’s time for the Forest Service to wake up to the 21st century.
It’s time to FREE MT. HOOD
Bark has spent over two decades connecting the public to the management of Mt. Hood National Forest. We are in a unique and compelling position to catalyze our active community—and to urge the management of these public lands toward greater resiliency for communities around the region. It is not only in our best interest but is our responsibility to take action to protect this special place and the natural systems which sustain our communities.