Congressional Delegation urges delay of Polallie Cooper Timber Sale pendingCooper Spurcompletion of Mt. Hood Meadows Land Exchange

On May 11, Senator Ron Wyden & Representative Earl Blumenauer sent their second letter
regarding the proposed Polallie Cooper Timber Sale to Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor, Lisa Northrop.  The letter, joined also by Senator Jeff Merkley, asks the Forest Service to put planning efforts for the Polallie Cooper project on hold until the Forest Service completes a long-delayed land exchange with Mt. Hood Meadows.

 In 2009, Congress passed a broad public lands bill that included the Mt. Hood land exchange as part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness designation. This bill directed the U.S. Forest Service to complete the exchange within 16 months. The Omnibus Bill was written so that only after the land exchange was complete would other provisions of the bill – specifically protections for the Crystal Springs Aquifer and the creation of a new Wilderness area – be enacted.

 In 2015, Mt. Hood National Forest resurrected the controversial Polallie Cooper Timber Sale, first proposed by the Forest Service in 1999 but withdrawn in 2005 after strong public opposition.   Ten miles south of the community of Parkdale, the Polallie Cooper planning area includes the Wild and Scenic East Fork Hood River corridor, portions of the proposed Tamanawas Falls Wilderness, Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat, a section of State Highway 35, the Cooper Spur winter sports area, several popular hiking trails and the Crystal Springs drinking water aquifer. Of the 3,000 acres proposed for commercial logging, approximately 1,900 of these acres include mature, old growth or never-logged forest.

 After a public comment period in which over 3,000 comments opposed the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale, on March 7th, Senator Wyden & Representative Blumenauer sent a letter to Supervisor Northrop, outlining several concerns about the proposed project.  Key among these concerns was the fact that none of that provisions of the Omnibus Bill were complete: “We have repeatedly expressed our strong concern and disappointment that the Forest Service has been long delayed in finalizing the land trade, which has impeded the exchange itself, and also the establishment of the Crystal Springs unit.”

Today’s congressional letter makes that very specific request that the Forest Service delay planning the Polallie Cooper Sale until such time as the land exchange has been completed, and all parts of the original collaborative agreement are implemented.  The request does not delve into substantive concerns about the Polallie Cooper Project, rather it seeks to ensure that the original legislative intent behind the 2009 Bill is realized before the Forest Service approve a controversial large scale logging project.

Polallie Cooper II Timber Sale

The Mt Hood National Forest is holding a public meeting to discuss the Polallie Cooper II Timber 

. The meeting will take place on February 10, 2016 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in Hood River, Oregon at the Hood River Fire Department located at 1785 Meyer Pkwy. We encourage you to attend.

We are concerned about this sale because it involves logging and road building within the Crystal Springs Special Resource Management Unit, an area that is supposed to recieve special protection as part of the 2009 Public Lands Omnibus Bill. Unfortunately, these protections don’t occur unless the Forest Service completes the Mt. Hood Meadows/Government Camp land trade, a process that the Forest Service has dragged its feet on for more than 5 years past the 16 month deadline set by Congress. We have sued the Forest Service over their unreasonable delay and the case will be argued in Federal court later this spring. Meanwhile, we are concerned about USFS’s logging and road-building plans in the Crystal Springs Area which are clearly against the intent of Congress and opposed by many environmental groups, including us.

If you can’t make the meeting, you can still make your voice heard by sending comments by February 25 to District Ranger Janeen Tervo, Hood River Ranger District email: comments-pacificnorthwest-mthood-hoodriver@fs.fed.us Also cc us at heather@hrvrc.org

Here is a one-sheet on why the timber sale does not comply with the terms of the 2009 Omnibus Bill: PC2 Crystal Springs fact sheet

Here is a map of the logging area: Polallie Cooper Logging Map

BARK has provided some more general talking points about the Timber Sale.