On Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management was ordered to halt an old-growth timber sale near Grants Pass. The federal agency was planning to sell old growth timber in the Lower Graves area, but environmental groups filed a lawsuit in 2017 challenging the sale. They claim the BLM didn’t consider other options.
One alternative, proposed by the groups themselves, focused on thinning to reduce fire hazard. The BLM has worked with them in the past to restore forest health such as in the Butte Falls area.
George Sexton is with the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, one of the plaintiffs. He says the BLM needs to shift their focus from old growth logging.
“There’s a lot of people who are trying to come together to reduce fire hazard,” he says. “And in particular, to keep homes and communities safe. And the BLM needs to be a part of that effort.”
The environmental groups are concerned that the federal plan will increase fire danger. They say cutting down old, fire resistant trees and replanting will create a more fire prone landscape. The BLM declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The court ordered the agency to explore a range of alternatives to the timber sale before proceeding.