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Applegate Residents Gather To Oppose Bear Grub Timber Sale

Liam Moriarty / JPR News
A small group of Applegate Valley residents stood in front of the Bureau of Land Management office in Medford on Thursday, July 2, to protest a proposed forest project in the valley.

A proposed forest project in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley is running into opposition from locals who say it will make the area more vulnerable to wildfire.

A small group of Applegate Valley residents stood waving signs Thursday in front of the Medford office of the Bureau of Land Management. They’re pushing back against a BLM proposal officially known as the “Bear Grub Vegetation Management Project.”

Most of the proposed forest treatments are aimed at reducing fuels to lessen the risk of fire.

But Luke Ruediger, with the Applegate Neighborhood Network, says the part of the plan that would log groves of large trees could have the opposite effect.

"The commercial timber sale portion of the Bear Grub project is targeting these mature, fire-resistant stands," he says. "Those stands are the most-fire-resistant portions of this landscape."

Ruediger says removing older trees will open the forest canopy and encourage the growth of brush and young trees, which are easy fuel for wildfires.

Proponents say the overall effect of the project will be to reduce potential fire activity and severity and protect nearby communities.

The current public comment period for the Bear Grub project ends on July 13.