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 Day 19

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A Line in the Ancient Forest

50 Arrested in Protest to Save the Siskiyous

by MATT KOEHLER

"No, I am not afraid. I am 75 years old…I would rather go out in a blaze, defending the world I love. I am more afraid that my grandchildren will think I did not try hard enough to leave them a legacy of peace, and a world worth living in. I don’t want them to know the beauty of trees by looking at a book. I want them to be able to walk among 800-year-old trees and know that is our destiny. That is where we have to get back to."

Joan Norman, arrested March 14 for the second time in a week protesting industrial logging of ancient, old-growth forest reserves in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of Oregon.

On Monday, March 7 industrial logging of massive trees began in "protected" old-growth forest reserves in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of the Siskiyou National Forest in Southwestern Oregon. This is the first time that logging of this magnitude has occurred in old-growth forest reserves (called Late Successional Reserves) since the creation of the Northwest Forest Plan over ten years ago.

This industrial logging of old-growth forests is part of the Biscuit Logging Project, the largest Forest Service timber sale in modern history. Thirty square miles of ancient forests and inventoried roadless wildlands will be destroyed as the Forest Service intends to log 370 million board feet of trees, enough to fill 74,000 log trucks lined up for over 600 miles.

Nearly 50 citizens have been arrested in the past week in an attempt to delay the logging with peaceful, non-violent road blockades, and as 75 year-old Joan Norman said as she was being arrested, "We have no laws protecting our forests so we will be the law."


Joan Norman, 72, sits in front of the Green Bridge, leading into the Siskiyous. She was arrested shortly after this photo was taken.

 

During the latest action, which took place on March 14, a group of 30 local women including elders, church members and conservationists, sat down on the a bridge over the Wild and Scenic Illinois River to block logging trucks at dawn on Monday morning – offering themselves up for certain arrest – locking down in solidarity against the lawless logging of federally protected old-growth forest reserves within the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of Oregon.

Those arrested include 4 women in their 70s and a woman 9-months pregnant who earlier was interviewed live by Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now!" while she was having contractions on the bridge.

Before she was arrested earlier today, community elder and artist Dot Fisher Smith, 76, said "We are united in a historic confrontation and we are wearing black today in solidarity with the blackened trees; to give voice to the voiceless. These grandmother trees must not be violently ripped from the Earth. Those trees want to fulfill their birthright by providing shade, shelter and retaining moisture for the newly regenerating forest, as has occurred naturally for countless thousands of years."

In the latest legal action, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Klamath Forest Alliance, Native Forest Network and National Forest Protection Alliance filed for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on March 1st in US District Court in Oregon. Unfortunately, Judge Michael Hogan (the same judge who ruled the infamous "Salvage Rider" to be legal and who presided over the controversial Bitterroot Logging Settlement in 2002) put off a hearing until March 9th and as of March 14 Hogan has yet to rule on the TRO.

Calls and emails are needed from around the country to show wide spread opposition to industrial logging in this incredible place. Don’t let the Forest Service get away with this outrageous, unfair behavior. Please take action today to protect our old-growth forest reserves.

Call Forest Service officials and tell them to:

1. To immediately halt the logging of old-growth reserves in the Siskiyou and allow full judicial review.

2. To protect roadless Siskiyou forests by preventing the auction of logging sales in inventoried roadless wildlands like the Mike’s Gulch logging project.

Linda Goodman – Pacific Northwest Regional Forester
phone: (503) 808-2200
fax: (503) 808-2210
email: lgoodman@fs.fed.us

Scott Conroy – Rogue/Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor
phone: (541) 858-2210
fax: (541) 858-2205
email: sconroy@fs.fed.us

In addition to calling the Forest Service officials above, you can call the Capitol Switchboard and ask for your members of Congress at (202) 224-3121. To find out who your members of Congress are, go to: http://www.congress.org

MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Old-growth forest reserves (or LSRs) were set-aside in the Northwest Forest Plan in order to safeguard habitat for rare plants and animals that depend on older forests to survive. In the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area, fire is a natural part of these forests, and the reserves that burned in the 2002 have begun rejuvenating naturally. The big, old-growth legacy trees created by the fire are a key building-block of this recovery and critical to protect soils and provide wildlife habitat, but the Forest Service is targeting them for logging. Doing so destroys critical habitat for birds and other wildlife, increases the risk of erosion, and puts the region’s fragile salmon and steelhead runs in danger.

The forests of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area belong to all Americans. With five National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area is one of the best remaining refuges for wild native salmon and steelhead left on the Pacific coast. The Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon contain a wealth of other significant ecological values, including a distinctive and diverse geology, unparalleled botanical richness, numerous endemic and highly restricted plant species, unique flora and fauna habitat, unparalleled recreation opportunities, and clean water.

For the latest independent news go to:
http://rogueimc.org

For more details about this logging plan and the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area go to:
http://www.kswild.org
http://www.nativeforest.org/biscuit.htm
http://www.siskiyou.org

Donations for Legal Defense for the 50 Citizens Arrested can be sent to:
Kalmiopsis EF!
PO Box 1669
Cave Junction, OR 97523
Checks should be made out to Kalmiopsis EF!