The US Forest Service is eyeing 4,000 acres of land near the Clackamas River for a major project and local unpaved road enthusiasts are concerned about how it will impact riding conditions and the environment.
Ron Lewis, one of the leaders of the popular Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) riding group, sent a message to the 700 members of the Unpaved email list yesterday encouraging them to comment on the North Clack Integrated Resource Project.
The USFS says the project would, “Improve forest conditions, provide wood products, manage recreation, enhance aquatic/riparian habitat, manage wildlife habitats, reduce fire hazards, and make changes to the transportation system within the project area.” But Lewis with OMTM isn’t buying it.
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“[The project] would effectively destroy the entire lower section of our Tumala Tank Trap route, which navigates some of the deeper, least-traveled zones in the Mount Hood National Forest, including the rugged and beautiful Abbott Road climb,” Lewis wrote. He’s also worried about the USFS plans to construct 20 new miles of roads and introduce logging on 200 acres of forest.
Lewis says this section of the Mt. Hood National Forest is already under pressure from OHV users, illegal motorcycle trails and unsanctioned target shooting. “Clearcutting and commercial logging will not only decimate this beautiful remote area, but as almost always happens, expand the proliferation of shooting pits, trash dumping and illegal moto activity in the area.”
OMTM is piggybacking on advocacy from local conservation nonprofit Bark, who’s following this project closely. In addition to sensitive streams and animal nesting areas, Bark claims that around 1,200 acres of the proposed logging is in mature forest that has trees over 80 years old.
“Logging has been shown by OSU and the Oregon Global Warming Commission to be a top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, so it’s important that the Forest Service hear from the public that they want their forests to be a carbon sink, not source,” Bark writes on their website. “We believe the Forest Service should be working to restore the forest in this area by decommissioning old logging roads, rehabilitating illegally-created motorized trails, and improving habitat for species like salmon and beaver.”
For a trail conservation perspective that disagree with Bark, check out TrailAdvocate.org.
The USFS is taking public comment through April 15th. You can comment and learn more about the project on the USFS website.
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