Today, community members in Ashland and Eugene came together to announce critical disapproval of recent legislation to open up Oregon’s forests to increased logging. Environment Oregon, a statewide, citizen-based environment advocacy organization, joined a local business owner to release a factsheet in both cities documenting the risks of increased logging in Oregon’s backyard forests. Speakers used the new Environment Oregon factsheet, titled “Top Risks of Increased Logging in our Forests,” to highlight the negative effects of increased logging—not only on wildlife and the environment, but also on the outdoor recreation industry.
The event came at the heels of the introduction of the O&C Land Grant Act of 2013, a controversial bill introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden that would decrease critical environmental protections for Oregon’s publicly owned forests and open these lands to increased logging, including clear-cuts.
Rikki Seguin, conservation advocate with Environment Oregon, reported over 3000 petitions from Oregonians calling on decision-makers to protect Oregon’s forests. “Whether it’s the towering groves of old-growth or the crystal clear rivers winding through the trees, Oregon’s forests are really what make Oregon, Oregon,” said Seguin. “Thousands of Oregonians agree—there is nothing ‘balanced’ about the logging being proposed for our forests. This is a huge step backwards, and Oregonians won’t sit idly by.”
Environment Oregon’s factsheet listed a variety of the adverse impacts that increased logging would inflict on river and stream health, animal habitat, and economic sustainability. One key finding highlighted the fact that increased logging would result in more herbicide and sediment pollution to rivers like the Rogue and the McKenzie, putting the drinking water of 1.8 million Oregonians at risk.
The factsheet also noted the risk posed by this logging proposal to Oregon’s outdoor recreation industry. Currently, the forests at risk generate $12.8 billion in revenue and sustain 141,000 jobs through fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, hiking and other recreational activities.
Sue Roussel, co-owner of Ashland Mountain Adventures in Ashland, highlighted the importance of the outdoor recreation industry in Ashland, adding “This is a recreating community and it really shows when there are trail workdays... 30 to 40 volunteers show up to repair and maintain the trails on their local mountain.”
Environment Oregon has been going door-to-door, educating thousands of Oregonians about the risk that increased logging poses to our environment. While conducting this outreach, Environment Oregon staff has been asking Oregonians to call Sen. Wyden and encourage him to stand up for Oregon’s forests.
Environment Oregon has also been collecting photos of Oregonians enjoying the forest through its Facebook webpage. The group released a postcard visual showing assorted scenes of Oregonians in the forests. “This postcard puts faces to the thousands of names that have already spoken out against increased logging in Oregon’s forests,” continued Seguin. “Up until now, we’ve only been hearing about this increased logging from the timber industry and their allies In Congress. It’s past time that our elected officials listen to the people of Oregon on this issue.”
The O&C Land Grant Act of 2013 will be introduced and edited by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Washington, D.C., before going to a vote. “The O&C Land Grant Act of 2013 flies in the face of the thousands of Oregonians who have spoken out against increased logging. We stand with local business owners and thousands of Oregonians in urging Congress to stand up for Oregon’s forests and stop this reckless logging proposal from moving forward” said Seguin.
The factsheet can be read here.