On Monday morning, Cascadia Forest Defenders dropped a banner from the 97 overpass above Greenwood Avenue in Bend, Oregon reading “Entering Deschutes National Forest: Where Recreation and Clearcuts Abound!” The banner draws attention to the Forest Service’s environmentally catastrophic forest management practices in the Deschutes National Forest.
“This is a reminder to those who fish, hike, and bike in the Deschutes,” said activist Alex Gloster. “Behind the scenes, the forest they love is being destroyed.”
When the Deschutes National Forest makes the news, the discussion usually focuses on recreation, fire management, and so-called restoration. The management practices that accompany these projects are disguised as ecosystem-friendly, but they benefit the timber industry at the expense of forest health. The Deschutes National Forest is still clearcutting huge swaths of land, logging old growth trees, systematically eradicating northern spotted owl habitat, and spraying herbicides near sensitive wetlands. For many years, community members nearby the Deschutes have brought up these issues, but the Forest Service and public officials have blatantly ignored their concerns. This leaves us wondering when the Forest Service will own up to their actions and stop these destructive practices.
In the last year alone, the Forest Service has planned to log over 48,000 acres in the Deschutes National Forest. These proposed logging projects do not appear as clearcuts or commercial thinning on the National Forest website because they are deceptively renamed regeneration harvests, seed tree harvests or group selections. This rhetoric gives the public – and the community members most affected by the impacts of harsh logging – a false impression of what is happening to precious public forests.
The banner is a message to the Deschutes National Forest and the community of Bend: Cascadia Forest Defenders is outraged at the destructive “management” of public forests on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Stop clearcutting in the Deschutes. Stop logging old growth. Stop spraying herbicides on public land. Stop lying to the public about the destruction of our ancient forests.