Check updates for stunning news from SDS this week. A press release on September 21 says ““Under the leadership of the board, SDS will evaluate its options, including a sale of the mill and timberland businesses.“ If the mill and timber business go away, what is left for the land?
Do We Want This?
Save Spring Creek from Logging!
Friends of the White Salmon River supports our natural resource businesses, farms and forests. We appreciate their detailed knowledge of the environment which supports their work. We see much opportunity to work together to protect the environment which sustains us all.
At this time, we are respectfully asking the SDS Lumber Company to refrain from logging the remainder of what we call the Spring Creek parcel and an additional smaller adjacent parcel. We are also asking SDS and the United States Forest Service to return to and finalize the negotiations started in 1994 to put all SDS land in the Wild & Scenic management boundary into public ownership.
Even as we all are affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the powerful impacts of on-going protests about injustice and violence against people of color, we need to work with love and determination for progress in our own community. This is the time to strengthen protection for the web of life that sustains us all. On a national scale, this little issue, logging on parcel in a small watershed in a rural area, may not stand out. In the White Salmon River watershed, this is immensely important, and it is something we can do.
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History of the Area
The backstory about Spring Creek
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Talking Points and Background
Here are some things to consider about the current situation.
- SDS is generous about public access, so this area has long been a community forest of sorts, providing recreation and solitude for locals. It is adjacent to other USFS property. Land trade would strongly increase the level of protection for the river.
- The Wild & Scenic management plan explores in depth the use of the Husum area by Native American people. One site in particular, the Native American Indian Longhouse Site and Cemetery, is specifically identified in the Wild & Scenic management plan as an Outstandingly Remarkable value. The Husum area, including this parcel, is known to have been the site of a permanent settlement and is a place of important spiritual value to the Klickitat band. There has already been significant disturbance of this heritage, with the partial destruction of Husum falls for highway construction, the development of houses on Tum Tum mountain, and the desecration of a traditional burial site by permitted construction of a single-family house just outside the management boundary on the east side of the river. Leaving this parcel undisturbed would be an act of respect.
- The land now being considered for logging has not been logged for many years, probably since the 1960’s, and has near old-growth trees and conditions in some places. This forest environment is rare on the lower White Salmon and needs to be protected.
- The entirety of these parcels was intended to be in public ownership under the preferred Alternative 6 of the Wild & Scenic Management Plan, issued in November 1991. Since that time, of the approximately 213 acres, more than 125 have been clear cut. It appears that the remaining forest is what is slated to be cut.
- This land is adjacent to US Forest Service property, and a land trade would ensure BOTH sides of the river are protected in this area.
- There is low bank access to the river along a ½ mile section, significant for wildlife and significant in the human history in the area. There are wetlands and riparian habitat unique in the White Salmon watershed. Even with buffers, commercial logging disturbs water movement through the parcels that supports wetlands.
- Legal logging practices do not protect natural values, even in the hands of the most conscientious company. Stream buffers mean that only some or maybe no trees can be cut in the buffer, but the logging goes right up to the buffer in a straight line, so can severely damages roots of trees in the buffer. Commercial logging clears the land, leaving only brush and a few pitiful reserve trees. Commercial logging compacts the ground, destroying plant species and habitat. Commercial logging, however legal, has an extremely detrimental effect on the forest. The land may be replanted to a single species for another harvest in 30 years, but this does not replace the forest, it only replaces the crop to be harvested.
- When the management plan was adopted, it was expected and agreed that Klickitat County would enforce the 200-foot shoreline buffer of the Shorelines Management Act. Despite a written agreement in the management plan, the county has failed to protect the shorelines, continues to fail to do so, and will continue to fail to do so in the future.
- The remaining forest along the river needs to be left alone to do its job for the environment and for the people.
- Global studies have shown that the cumulative impact of forest management practices around the world is a major contributor to rising atmospheric CO2 and the loss of terrestrial carbon sequestration capacity.
- Spring Creek provides habitat for returning salmon and steelhead. Previous logging in 2013, done according to regulations, destroyed shoreline buffers along Spring Creek. This damage was “mitigated” by replanting, but mitigation cannot restore what was lost.
- Threatened and endangered species of salmon and steelhead are returning to the White Salmon following the removal of Condit Dam in 2011. These species depend on undisturbed shorelines for food, shade and protection. They also depend on cold water, which is supported by functioning shorelines, springs, and wetlands. The White Salmon cold water refuge is particularly important now that additional miles of habitat have been opened for these fish.
- There is considerable pressure on the White Salmon River basin for more developable land for increasing population growth and urban flight. This pressure is driving up land prices, potentially making trades and acquisition of these lands in the Wild and Scenic area more expensive and less likely as time passes. As this land in the W&S is deforested, it becomes much more economically attractive for private forest companies to convert the land from forest to residential. Once this land converted to residential it will be lost.
- The USFS and SDS need to get back to the table and resume negotiations to implement the land exchange. This is long overdue. Let’s not look to assign blame for actions so many years ago, but let’s get to the work of protecting the river.
Take Action to Preserve the Creek!
Please write a personal letter
- Stop logging on the Spring Creek parcel owned by SDS
- Restart negotiations between SDS and the US Forest Service to implement the land exchange in the Wild & Scenic management plan.
PLEASE email a copy of your letter to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and sign up to receive our newsletter.
Personal letters have a much stronger impact than form letters or letters sent through the website. You are writing this letter because you care. Express your feelings and opinions.
Keep the letter short. One page is great, but if you need to go longer to share factual information, by all means do so. In an individual letter of persuasion, terms such as I think, I feel, I believe, or it is my opinion are powerful. Refer to the Talking Points for information.
- First paragraph: My opinion; how I feel about this
- Next paragraph(s): Examples of why I feel this way with personal stories, experiences, knowledge.
- Final paragraph: Summarize your opinion, and state what SDS and the Forest Service should do.
Address your letter to SDS Lumber Company and to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Send a copy to Commissioner Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands.
Mr. Jason S. Spadaro
SDS Lumber Company
P.O. Box 266
Ms. Lynn Burditt
Forest Supervisor Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave,
Hood River, Oregon
cc: Ms. Hilary Franz
Commissioner of Public Lands
Washington State Department of Natural Resources