The Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) have finished up a two-week tree sit at the Flat Country timber sale in the Willamette National Forest. The sit which ended on September 30th was a showcase of the building protest efforts against the proposed timber sale in a hydrologically sensitive buffer of the Three Sisters Wilderness, and a major tributary source for McKenzie River. The sale, which will be clear cut, threatens thousands of acres of old growth forest in the McKenzie Watershed, and has been opposed by Congressman Peter DeFazio and prominent forest ecologists Jerry Franklin and Norm Johnson.
In CFD’s public statement the group is pressuring local Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack to drop the proposed sale and end the practice of old growth and mature forest logging. “If Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack wants to serve our community and the best interests of the innumerable community members that rely on the ecosystems in the Willamette National Forest for climate stability, drinking water, wildfire resilience, and recreation, he must immediately end the practice of industrial logging in mature and old growth forests,” said activist Willow Danielson.
In addition to pressure being put on local officials, the Forest Defenders are considering the impact that the Biden Administration will have on national forest policy and its response to the continuing climate crisis. There is an emphasis by activists for both Senators Wyden and Merkley to join Congressman Peter DeFazio in opposing the timber sale.
Cascadia Forest Defenders has a legacy of direct actions across the Cascadia bioregion, but local officials have been keen to bide their time for favorable federal administrations to give the green light on such controversial projects. Now that the Biden administration is finding its footing on climate change policy, direct action groups like CFD may have the opportunity to end the proposed sale and have a wider national voice on forest policy.
Locally the recent tree sit represents a test run for direct actions hoping to stop the proposal for good. “We have made it clear to anyone considering purchasing these critical ecosystems to be clear cut that we will be there every step of the way fighting back,” said Derek Garmin. The timber sale is in the McKenzie River drinking watershed, and would have significant impacts on two of the McKenzie’s major tributaries, Olallie and Anderson Creeks.
With the Flat Country timber sale more than six years in the making: time is running out for communities, activists, and organizers to put an end to this controversial sale. Success here could signal a larger shift in forest policy in the face of the expanding climate crisis. For more information on the sale, or how you can get involved, please visit the CFD website: https://forestdefensenow.wordpress.com/