The Klamath National Forest (KNF) is proposing to eviscerate one of the most important wildlife corridors and backcountry areas in California. The Siskiyou Crest, which straddles the California-Oregon border, provides east to west landscape connectivity and is targeted for massive clearcut post-fire logging. The highly controversial and inappropriately named Seiad- Horse Risk Reduction Project is currently aimed at 2,000 contiguous acres of some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world.
As the Abney Fire moved over the border to California in September 2017, fire crews lit backburns during high winds that blew up and sent the flames over firelines on the Pacific Crest Trail and into Seiad and Horse Creeks, both tributaries to the Klamath River. The fire then grew and burned intensely through plantations that were created after the 1987 fires, which in turn lit off adjacent old growth forest stands. Now the KNF is working to make the same mistakes again, 30 years later.
Project units are just an eighth of a mile from the Pacific Crest Trail, in an area that provides vital wildlife habitat connectivity between the Condrey Mountain and Kangaroo Roadless Areas. The entire project is also within Late Successional Reserves, which are designated to protect and restore old growth forest ecosystems. Scientists say that unlogged snag forests create a habitat that is more rare than old growth forest stands. Large dead trees are biological legacies and they are the “lifeboats” to species and soils after fire. By removing vast swaths of this unique forest type, the forest service would be destroying complex late and early seral habitat while increasing future fire severity, endangering threatened species and landscape connectivity, and harming water quality and streams that are critical to the survival of wild salmon.
Forty-one miles of roadside hazard logging is also proposed, which consists of live and green trees. is includes the poorly maintained Bee Camp Road, which is technically within the Kangaroo Roadless Area. This road should not be subjected to logging and should be closed to all motorized use. This region has suffered from extreme postfire industrial logging in recent years. Together with the Westside and Horse Creek projects, the KNF continues to plan controversial timber sales that will set back ecosystem processes for decades, if not longer. As it stands, it is likely that the combined eff ects of logging on public and private lands will result in a mortality sink for northern spotted owls and move the entire Siskiyou Crest area toward a landscape trap where fire regimes, water quality, ecological integrity, and biodiversity are greatly diminished.
The scoping period has ended, but the Seiad-Horse Risk Reduction Project Environmental Assessment will likely be released this spring, giving the public another opportunity to comment. Please sign up to receive EPIC’s E-news alerts at www.wildcalifornia.org to take action, get updates, and invitations to group hikes. Together we can protect the Siskiyou Crest.
Forest Conservation on the North Coast!
EPIC members, volunteers, and tree lovers are encouraged to meet the local environmental community for a mixer, February 9 from 6-9 p.m.! Meet our Board and Staff and hear about our exciting new programs for 2018.
In celebration of Arts! Arcata, EPIC’s own Forest and Wildlife advocate Rob DiPerna will feature his photography highlighting the region we work to protect.
At 7 p.m. we will be presenting a slideshow outlining recent accomplishments, and new projects we will undertake in the coming year.
Get the latest update on EPIC’s work all while enjoying some drinks, snacks, and beautiful photography!