The Dirty Truth Behind the Clean Slate Timber Sale
Some of you may remember the Pickett West Timber sale proposed by the Grants Pass BLM. Pickett West Timber Units were comprised of old growth forests where elusive Red Tree Voles thrive.
The Red Tree Vole is a small fuzzy rodent that lives in tree tops and rarely touches the forest floor. Red Tree Voles have very limited home ranges, often less than a half acre in size. Research indicates they exhibit a strong preference for older Douglas-fir trees and closed forest canopy. Their nests tend to be found in the larger-diameter trees within a stand. Expanses of land without suitable forest cover can be a barrier to tree vole movement and population connectivity.
The new management plan for BLM forests no longer offers protections for old-growth dependent critters like the red tree vole. Under the old plan areas subject to timber harvest were surveyed for Red Tree Voles so that nesting sites could be protected. This is no longer the case. Though the BLM has no guidance telling them they can’t continue to survey for Red Tree Voles, they are choosing not to. It’s a “log without looking” policy.
In fact, the BLM under the previous Management Plan has abandoned the Pickett West Timber Sale which required specific protections for Red Tree Voles. Now they’ve dusted off a new timber sale named “Clean Slate” in the same units analyzed for treatment as Pickett West.
This slight-of-hand trick by the BLM is not fooling KS Wild or the community surrounding the Pickett West/ Clean Slate project area. KS Wild has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to require the agency to be transparent with their planning and is sharing information with the public about the BLM’s deceptive logging schemes.
The “Clean Slate” Environmental Analysis will be coming out for public comment soon, stay tuned into KS Wild for the dirty truth discovered in their environmental review and for opportunities to express how you value old growth forests and Red Tree Vole habitatto BLM timber planners.