Believe it or not, Mt. Hood National Forest Service’s Management Plan, adopted in 1990, emphasizes converting mature natural forest into managed plantations over much of its one million-plus acres. Massive logging proposals like the Crystal Clear Timber Sale threaten the forest's ability to adapt to the changing climate while at the same time demonstrating the true priorities of the management plan as currently written.
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, build roads through sensitive watersheds and over hiking trails, and sell off the exceptional wildlife habitat of burned forest to private logging companies. While we have been successful in saving thousands of acres, the Plan that directs the Forest Service’s actions remains focused on commercial timber extraction and each new project seems more destructive than the last.
When the Forest Plan was written in 1990, it did not address forest management in the context of an increasingly warmer and unstable climate. Most importantly, Mt. Hood National Forest’s Management Plan does not adequately protect water rich forest ecosystems facing climate change. 30 years later, climate change has become an urgent factor that the Plan must be updated to reflect. While we do not know exactly what the future brings, the science of understanding and predicting climate change has improved rapidly over the past decade, and there is sufficient information upon which to amend the Plan to make the forest more resilient to the upcoming changes.
Much has changed in the region over the past 30 years: population is growing, climate is changing, recreation is on the increase, iconic species are threatened with extinction, and federal agency budgets have been slashed. With a changing climate, Mt. Hood’s forests, waters and wildlife will need to withstand dryer, 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.
Carbon Sequestration is Not Currently a Management Strategy
Mt. Hood National Forest is one of the top ten best National Forests for carbon storage in the country. While the state of Oregon emits about 60 million tons of carbon a year, new data show our forests store about 3 billion tons. Why are we logging our biggest carbon sinks? Public, federally managed forests which are meant to be managed “for the greatest good” have the greatest potential to capture additional carbon, and more quickly. With less than 2% of Oregon’s economy based in logging and wood products industries, it is time to reframe this issue to reflect the changing priorities for management of public lands.
Support this Effort!
With nearly two decades of experience bringing people to the forest, Bark is in a unique and compelling position to catalyze our active community and bring the management of these public lands into the movement 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. Click the Take Action button at the top of the page to get involved.