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There Comes a Time to Stand in the Way
by Laurel
Tuesday Aug 15th, 2006 9:08 PM
Resistance to Roadless Logging
There Comes a Time to Stand in the Way
Tue, August 15, 2006 - 6:05 PM

Resistance to Roadless Logging Escalates as Protesters Blockade Bridge Leading to the Nation's First Roadless Area Timber Sale

A daring predawn road blockade in the Siskiyou National Forest this August halted logging at the site of the first ever incursion into protected Roadless forest. Mike’s Gulch in the Biscuit Burn is the first victim of Bush’s long-sought elimination of the 2001 Roadless Conservation Rule.

A lashed log maneuvered into a cantilever position across the road stopped vehicle traffic from crossing the Green Bridge over the Illinois River, preventing access to the controversial timber sale. Laurel Sutherlin of the Oxygen Collective hung from the end of the log in a pod suspended over the river below. A small army of county, state and federal law enforcement issued an ‘emergency closure’ for ‘public safety’ then contracted a climber who nervously proceeded with a sketchy extraction plan that involved connecting the dangling pod to a pulley and lowering Laurel and the pod into the river.

"This assault on our public lands is a disaster for the forest, a taxpayer rip off and it's against the will of the vast majority of the American people. It is the result of a broken democracy and I am taking this action today to jumpstart the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect us from the tyranny of an authoritarian government so this doesn't happen again." Said Laurel hanging from the bridge.

This dramatic action follows years of lawsuits, rallies, public comment periods and national media attention involving tens of thousands of people speaking out against the logging of the Biscuit fire area. Nearly 2 million people submitted comments to protect our nation's roadless areas before the Biscuit fire and over 20,000 citizens submitted public comments opposing the Biscuit logging when it was proposed. Since then, almost 100 arrests have resulted from a community-supported civil disobedience campaign protesting the massive logging project.

The day before this latest road blockade was erected, over 100 people rallied at the Forest Service headquarters in Medford, OR, with the message “Roadless is Priceless!” The event culminated with a dozen activists from across Oregon sitting down in the road in front of the federal building. Thirteen people were arrested and eleven spent the night in jail on charges of disorderly conduct.

World-class salmon habitat was logged in the Biscuit the same week the Feds declared the salmon fisheries in Oregon and California a national disaster and pledged millions in aid to now out of work fishermen. This despite recent studies showing that Mike’s Gulch, now four years after the fire, is naturally regenerating seedlings to the degree that it meets federal guidelines for restocking of conifers. This public lands timber sale is a quarter of a million dollar subsidy to the timber industry, paid for by the American taxpayer, with a fully loaded log truck going cheaper than a cord of firewood sells locally.

A lawsuit against the Bush Administration by the governors of Oregon, California, Washington and New Mexico is one of four unsettled cases seeking to retain roadless area protections while logging moves forward.

The public process that lead to the creation of the original Roadless Rule, which protects 58.5 million acres of the most wild and pristine public lands remaining in the United States from destructive practices like logging and mining, involved more citizen input than any other federal regulation on any issue in the history of this country. Despite this overwhelming public support for protection of roadless areas, the Bush Administration has aggressively pursued stripping the protections it provides by opening these areas up to massive commercial timber harvest and hundreds of thousands of acres of oil and mineral exploration.

Mike’s Gulch, in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area was an obvious candidate for Wilderness protection. Next up for destruction is the equally incredible Blackberry area in North Kalmiopsis Roadless Area.

Local media surrounding this latest series of actions ran headlines focusing on the activist’s use of a freshly cut small diameter tree for use in the action, while editorials in regional papers questioned the ethics and effectiveness of using arrests in a calculated effort to bring attention to the issue. Continuing conversations in public and private are further stimulating a nuanced dialog taking place in the local activist community.

Reflections about where to go from here and how to maintain the strength of our opposition to the Bush Administration’s all out assault on our public lands without alienating the broad base of public support we have carefully built on this issue are among the many layers of discussion taking place. There is a growing sentiment that we need a wholesale reevaluation in the forest defense movement of how to best direct our efforts on behalf of the earth to the achieve the protections of wildlands we seek.

Meanwhile, national media have almost completely failed to cover these first roadless incursions. Word needs to get out now. Roadless forest shouldn’t fall without continuing resistance.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
PHONY PHONY PHONYBiscuit JaneFriday Aug 18th, 2006 6:48 PM
THANK YOU DAVID IN So. OR.Biscuit JaneFriday Aug 18th, 2006 6:31 PM
WHY WHY WHYBiscuit JaneFriday Aug 18th, 2006 5:24 AM
Spell The Great Die Off: CIVILIZATIONKiva TravelerWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 6:32 PM
Actions and what they really stand for...MikeWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 6:17 PM
GOD BLESS'EM!Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!Wednesday Aug 16th, 2006 5:35 PM
Laurel does not speak for OregoniansDavidWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 5:20 PM
High time people started standing their groundcarolWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 4:49 PM
Taking a stand for the forestMr .RavenWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 4:39 PM
well statedHastur of the Frozen WastesWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 4:18 PM

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