Siskiyou Forest Salvage-Logging Proposal Is Sign of Conflicts to Come

With another oppressive drought settled over the Western U.S. and a rough wildfire season on the horizon, conflicts like the one over salvage logging in the Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon could be a sign of things to come. The Forest Service has proposed a massive operation at the site of the Biscuit fire, a conflagration that raged for 120 days in 2002. The logging would cover some 29,000 acres and produce almost half a billion board feet of lumber, making it one of the largest public timber sales in U.S. history. Environmentalists protest that the logging would impinge on roadless areas, destroy habitats, muddy waters, and interfere with the natural cycles they say wildfires represent. Enviro group Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics has filed a petition claiming that the Forest Service — which stands to make millions of dollars on the operation — should not be in a position to decide appeals on the subject, but rather an administrative law judge should.