Carrol Creek salvage timber sale draws appeal

July 06, 2001 12:00 am

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE The proposed salvage of timber from last years 3,200-acre Carrol Creek fire has been appealed by the Hells Canyon Preservation Council and the Oregon Natural Resources Council.

U.S. Forest Service Wallowa Valley District Ranger Meg Mitchell has requested an expedited appeals process.

Mitchell is optimistic that the appeals will not stop the restoration project and the helicopter harvest of approximately 3 million board feet of timber about 11 miles southeast of Joseph.

There were no appeals during Mitchells previous assignment in Alaska, she said. She involved all parties early and addressed their concerns.

The same approach was attempted here with representatives of both groups. The Eugene-based Resources Council did not attend all the meetings, Mitchell said.

In Alaska, the environmental groups with which she contended were willing to get out on the ground to look at the projects, she said.

The Preservation Councils Brett Brownscombe toured the Carrol Creek proposed project, and dropped part of that groups concerns.

Wallowa County and Wallowa Resources joined the process Thursday as interested parties, but Wallowa Resources would not comment on its involvement.

Wallowa County Commission Chairman Mike Hayward said the county believes even though more timber might have been salvaged, the Forest Service had the proper approach to the project by bringing all parties together to reach a collaborative agreement.

The county wants the project to go forward, Hayward said.

If this is not done fairly quickly, the products will lose their value, and the project cannot afford to be done, Hayward said.

The appeals were based, in part, on the number of snags to be left.

Mitchell agrees that the groups concerns are valid that some dead trees should be left standing for wildlife such as the several types of woodpeckers now in the area.

However, Mitchell stands by her wildlife biologists recommendations to two snags per acre the historic natural occurrence in the dry area. Around the 527-acre project area and in buffers along streams, where nothing will be cut, the number of snags is up to 13 per acre, Mitchell said.

In addition, insects that have moved in may also kill live trees.

After a point, it does no more good for wildlife to leave more snags, Mitchell said.

Another project sale that was appealed by the same two groups is the Buck Pilot Project 24 miles north of Enterprise. It is now ready to go out for bid. A pre-proposal meeting is scheduled 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Mitchell anticipates several more sales, including the Lone Dog sale in the Table Mountain area north of Enterprise and the Wolf sale proposed in the Tope Creek area.