The potential for an out-of-control forest fire in our own backyard is now very real, thanks to the BLM’s timber sale auction adjacent to the Thurston Hills natural area. It’s called “Pedal Power” — doesn’t that sound sweet and fun? I can assure you it is not.
It relies heavily on large-scale clearcuts and undermines the efforts of Willamalane to turn the well-used 655-acre recreation area into a wilderness area — efforts that have been underway since 2012. Despite the fact that the BLM has historically worked with Willamalane to enhance recreation opportunities and wilderness features in the area, this project would put the newly planned 15-mile recreation trail within clearcuts, and it will damage recreation and tourism.
But it can also put lives in danger. Science-backed research tells us that aggressive commercial logging with the replanting of young, single-aged trees will more easily catch fire and burn out of control. We haven’t seen a cut of this size so close to town in decades, and for good reason.
Creating these unstable forest conditions so close to communities is simply unsafe and irresponsible.
Editor’s Note: The RG reports the BLM awarded 100 acres of the land adjacent to east Thurston Hills Natural Area to Seneca Timber to log.