Why I Hung from a Bridge to Defend the Wild Forests of the Siskiyou Mountains

My name is BECKY WHITE. I am a 27 year-old musician with a degree in
conservation biology.

On March 14th, I suspended myself on a small platform over the Green
Bridge above the Wild and Scenic Illinois River. The truck rope that held
my platform stretched across the road, closing all logging traffic to the
Fiddler Timber Sale for 7 hours.

The choice to sit on the platform early that morning was fairly
spontaneous, yet guided by years of study and a deep love for the wild
places of southern Oregon.

The Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon are one of the most
biodiverse places in this country. There are places with over 27 conifer
species and six undammed rivers with vibrant salmon runs. The wild places
of southern Oregon are unique, but their fate is unfortunately extremely
tenuous.

The current logging is occurring in old growth reserves in the Siskiyou
National Forest that were protected by their status before the Biscuit
Fire in 2002. Many people don,t understand that these forests have evolved
with fire and that the forest floor is now alive with rare plants, flowers
and saplings that will only germinate with the hot temperatures of fire.
The issue of this logging is not only about trees, it is about preserving
an entire ecosystem that is world reknown by botanists and birders. It
saddens me to know that the rivers will turn brown because of the run-off
caused by hauling and yarding.

I am not anti-logging. I am pro-restoration. I am interested in following
the example set by the community of Williams, where I have lived for the
last four years. In Williams, as an alternative to the Scattered Apples
Timber Sale, local people are working with the BLM to remove small
diameter timber, reducing fire risk and creating a local economy.

The illegal timber sale that is currently being cut in the Biscuit Fire
area does not create a local economy; in fact it robs the local community
of the growing industry of ecotourism because they are left with a
degraded landscape. The only profits go to loggers and international
corporations outside the Illinois valley.

I was forced by my conscience and my heart to take a stand and to use my
body to make a message. There are already so many degraded landscapes;
let’s protect what is left for the future generations to come. It is not
too late to change the way we interact with our national heritage.

BECKY WHITE is a member of the Oxygen Collective. She can be reached at:
becky@makeartnow.org

 

 

 

 

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