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Sep 22, 21

Protestors Launch Tree Sit to Protect Old Growth Willamette Forest from Logging

Report on Cascadia Forest Defenders on tree-sit in the Willamette National Forest to stop timber sale.

Willamette National Forest – Members of Cascadia Forest Defenders have occupied trees in the Willamette National Forest’s proposed Flat Country timber sale to protest the ongoing logging of carbon-rich old growth forest on public land under the Biden Administration. The contentious timber sale, which threatens thousands of acres of old growth and mature forest in the McKenzie Watershed with clearcut logging, has been opposed by Congressman Peter DeFazio and prominent forest ecologists Jerry Franklin and Norm Johnson, often hailed as the primary architects of the Northwest Forest Plan.

While climate-driven wildfires rage across the state, activists say that they are occupying the sale in order to protest not only the Flat Country sale, but the ongoing old growth logging on public lands and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with industrial timber harvest.

“As the climate crisis progresses, it’s completely indefensible for the Biden Administration to continue to sanction the logging of these critical old growth forests,” said Trout, one of the tree-sitters. “While our politicians decry the continued destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, they are conspicuously silent as our own rainforests are lost to industrial logging.”

The organization is calling on Senators Wyden and Merkley to join Rep. DeFazio in opposition to the sale, and to the industrial logging of old growth and mature forests on public lands.

“Senator Wyden claims to be an environmental champion, yet it is more obvious than ever that the old growth logging that he supports causes nothing but climate chaos,” said Peter Williams, an organizer of the occupation. “It is time for him to show real leadership and call for an immediate ban on logging mature and old growth forest on public lands.”

The timber sale is in the McKenzie River drinking watershed, and would have significant impacts to two of the McKenzie’s major tributaries, Olallie and Anderson Creeks. Hundreds of thousands of Southern Willamette Valley residents rely on the McKenzie for their drinking water. Cool, clean drinking water is also critical to provide habitat for imperiled fish species including bull trout and coho salmon.

“Forest defense is community defense,” said Joseph Kehrer. “We are inextricably linked to these forests, and we must do everything in our power to maintain these invaluable ecosystems if we hope to continue drinking clean water and breathing fresh air.”

A statement from Cascadia Forest Defenders addressed to local timber companies simply reads: “If you buy this sale, you buy us too.”

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Cascadia Forest Defenders is a grassroots environmental organization committed to stopping the destruction of the Earth, particularly in the region know as Cascadia. We organize collective, nonviolent actions to disrupt the ecologically and economically exploitative industrial timber industry and the 1%. We also offer training and resources to other groups working for environmental and social justice.

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