Post Fire Old Growth Protected

The Siskiyou Crest Mountain Range: Biological Treasure

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The Siskiyou Crest is one of the most biologically, botanically, and geologically special places in the world. As a rare east/west oriented mountain range it connects the plants and animals of the Klamath, Coast Range, Cascade, and Sierra Mountains. It is also a climate change refuge for plants and animals and a recreational wonderland.

It has been shaped and molded by fire for millennia and is no place for clearcut logging.

Clearcutting Proposals Come After Fire

Following the 2016 “Gap Fire,” Klamath National Forest timber planners targeted old-growth Shasta red fir forests on the Siskiyou Crest near Condrey Mountain for clearcutting and construction of new logging roads. KS Wild responded by teaming up with our tribal and conservation allies to promote the “Karuk Alternative” which would protect the Crest while focusing fuels and restoration activities at lower elevations around key roads, homes, and communities. The Karuk Alternative would utilize prescribed fire and limited small-diameter logging to positively influence fire behavior while protecting watershed and wildlife values.

We work it out!

Following extensive commenting, ground-truthing, research and negotiations, we are pleased to report that our hard work paid off! Hundreds of acres of recovering post-fire Siskiyou Crest old-growth stands are now protected from clearcutting and real fuels reduction and restoration work will help protect homes and ranches from fire. Important elements of the Karuk Plan have been adopted by the Forest Service, such as the use of prescribed fire to reduce forest fuels, timely treatment of logging slash, and the protection of large wildlife trees.

What Comes Next?

The 2017 summer fires will likely lead to additional aggressive logging proposals next year. Perhaps the Horse Creek victory can be a significant and important step forward. We need not clearcut the backcountry to make homes and communities fire-safe. By focusing post-fire management in the wildland/urban interface zone, and by incorporating native knowledge and conservation principles, we can bring people together to do good work that protects communities and forest ecosystems.

feature 1Tim Ream