For Immediate Release, May 21, 2009
Contact: Mollie Matteson, Center for Biological Diversity, (802) 434-2388 (office); (802) 318-1487 (cell)
More Clearcutting Slated for White Mountain National Forest Roadless Areas
Nationwide Call for Roadless Area Protection Ignored
RICHMOND, Vt.— The Forest Service issued a decision this week approving its fifth timber sale within an Inventoried Roadless Area on the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The Stevens Brook timber sale would log 157 acres in the South Carr Mountain roadless area; 43 acres would be clearcut.
The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments opposing the Forest Service’s plan last August, citing the rarity and high ecological values of intact roadless areas; impacts of logging on global warming and the need to protect forests for species stressed by changing climate; and the cumulative impacts of the project on bat populations severely reduced by white-nose syndrome.
“The White Mountain National Forest is fixated on logging roadless areas in defiance of conservation science and the public will,” says Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Roadless areas are critical ecological havens in an era of global warming. Plans to clearcut them demonstrate very acutely the need for strong, nationally consistent protection for all roadless areas.”
The Stevens Brook timber sale follows on the heels of timber sales planned over the past couple of years in the Wild River Roadless Area near Jackson, New Hampshire, the Sandwich 4 Roadless Area along the Kancamagus National Scenic Byway, the Kilkenny Roadless Area northwest of Berlin, and an earlier timber sale in the South Carr Mountain area, a few miles north of Stevens Brook. The Forest Service has not finalized plans for a sixth timber sale, the Four Ponds Project in western Maine, but conservationists are wary that it, too, will include part of a roadless area.
The latest plan emerges as the Obama administration is being urged to take a “time out” on logging in all national forest roadless areas, until Congress and the courts can sort out the contradictory policies and judicial decisions tied to the Bush administration’s eight-year attack on roadless area protection.
“The Forest Service is in desperate need of leadership from the Obama administration,” said Matteson. “These new clearcuts will be on their watch.”
A May 7 editorial in the New York Times called on President Obama to follow through on his past support for roadless areas; he co-sponsored a bill to codify the Roadless Rule when he was a senator. The editorial cited “commercial logging projects in Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, and the White Mountains in New Hampshire” as lending urgency to the need for immediate, interim protection for the nation’s roadless areas.
The Forest Service announced that it had finalized its decision on Stevens Brook on Friday, May 15, but the actual decision and the final project documents were not released until they were posted online yesterday.
The Center has posted a video of clearcutting last fall in the South Carr Mountain roadless area on its Web site.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 220,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.