The World on Hakki Ridge Sale

Thomas Moriarity, The World

REEDSPORT — The forest floor, covered with broken tree branches, crackles beneath Max Emil’s feet as he weaves through the underbrush.

Traversing a densely-wooded region of the Elliott State Forest dubbed East Hakki Ridge, Emil said less than half of the area has ever been logged.

Just south of the Dean Creek Viewing Area near Reedsport, the 788-acre forest tract feels like a time capsule, packed with chest-high ferns and colossal Douglas firs.

A volunteer with Coast Range Forest Watch, a group that conducts marbled murrelet surveys in the Elliott, Emil said most of the forest is timber replanted after a fire in the 1800s.

 

This particular parcel was once part of the Siuslaw National Forest, ceded to the state in a 1913 land exchange.

“Compared to the rest of the coast, it’s pretty pristine,” he said, standing beneath Douglas firs and spruce he estimates to be more than 100 years old.

 

Emil and other activists are worried it might not be so pristine after its new owner gets hold of it.

On Monday, the Department of State Lands announced that Seneca Jones Timber was the only bidder for East Hakki Ridge, one of three parcels up for grabs in an auction authorized by the state land board.

The price — $1,895,00, only $75,000 over the state’s minimum bid requirement.

Roseburg Forest Products, through its subsidiary, Scott Timber Company, is scooping up the Benson Ridge and Adams Ridge One parcels for a total of $2,662,000.

The same day the winning bids were released to the media, Cascadia Wildlands — which had previously threatened to sue individual purchasers from logging the lands — filed suit in Lane County Circuit Court attempting to block the sale of East Hakki Ridge to Seneca Jones.

The Portland Audubon Society, the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildland’s spokesman, Josh Laughlin, are joining the group as plaintiffs.

“Respondent has erroneously interpreted a provision of law,” their lawyers wrote. “A correct interpretation compels the withdrawal of the East Hakki Ridge parcel from sale.”

The plaintiffs are attempting to get the sale canceled under ORS 530.450, which bars the sale of the forest’s former national forest lands unless exchanged for land of equal value.

Near the heart of the controversy is the value of old growth timber found in the auctioned parcels as habitat for protected bird species — including the marbled murrelet.

In 2012, a federal judge handed down an injunction blocking logging of identified marbled murrelet habitat in the Elliott.

A year later, the state land board authorized the sale of the Adams Ridge, East Hakki Ridge and Benson Ridge parcels, citing the declining value of the state’s Common School Fund, fed by timber sales from the Elliott.

Under the state constitution, the forestry department is supposed to manage state forests in accordance with “sound techniques of land management.”

Looking out across a dense valley of firs and spruce trees, Emil says those words ring a bit hollow.

“Sound management is a pretty vague term,” he said.

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Mushroom Cultivation Workshop with Fungi For The People

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Plant ID Hike April 19th

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Preparing for Marbled Murrelet Survey Season

Marbled murrelet survey season is right around the corner. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of hiking and mapping out our survey stations. Here is some of what we’ve seen so far:

A type of gooseberry, from the genus Ribes.

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Soup Creek Hike photos!

Thanks to everyone who came out to hike the  proposed Soup Creek “variable retention regeneration harvest.” We found maple, red alder, tan oak, Western hemlock and, of course, some impressive Douglas fir, like the one in the photo above.

Many flowering plants are currently in bloom at Soup Creek, including lots of Western trillium, pictured above. We also spotted red-flowering currant, stream violet and a rare fairyslipper–Calypso bulbosa of the Orchid family.

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Conservation Groups File Notice of Intent to Sue on Elliott DSL Land Sale Purchasers

From Cascadia Wildlands (www.cascwild.org)
Eugene, OR — Three conservation organizations filed a notice of intent today to sue any potential timber purchasers of nearly 3,000 acres of the Elliott State Forest recently authorized for sale by the State of Oregon. Audubon Society of Portland, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity argue that if timber companies knowingly buy and log the tracts that contain marbled murrelet habitat, they will be in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.“The state knows that it is illegal to log these lands, which is why they are proposing to sell them in the first place.  Any purchaser should be keenly aware of the liability associated with logging marbled murrelet habitat in these parcels, particularly since we have already obtained an injunction against the current owner,” said Daniel Kruse, attorney for the groups serving the notice. “We plan to prosecute anyone who would purchase and log this important habitat for marbled murrelets, just as we successfully prosecuted the state.”

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Public Hike With Cascadia Wildlands March 15th

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