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Riverkeeper Petitions EFSEC to Oversee Review Process for Proposed Methanol Project in Kalama, WA

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Riverkeeper asks EFSEC to take over permitting and review of the proposed Kalama Methanol Refinery. Converting natural gas into methanol for export is a brand new industry in Washington with state-wide energy implications. This proposal deserves the level of state-wide scrutiny and public input that the EFSEC process was designed to provide.

Rivers of My Backyard: A Staff Story

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

  At The Freshwater Trust, our connections to the water are as deep

The post Rivers of My Backyard: A Staff Story appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Preliminary Findings Report: Mosier, Oregon; Union Pacific Derailment

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

“The Federal Rail Administration's investigation blamed the oil train derailment in Mosier on Union Pacific's failure to maintain its tracks. Despite its dangerous tracks, Union Pacific claims it will restart oil trains this week. It is time for the FRA to listen to the requests of Senators Wyden and Merkley, Governor Brown, and local electeds, and issue an immediate moratorium on dangerous oil trains through the Columbia River Gorge."

Our Organic Plan for 2016-2017

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

As a living systems organization, we embody our change model of “connect, reflect, and act” in all that we do. Our 2016-2017 Organic Plan is seeded with this in mind, and will only be as successful as we are responsive… Read More!

The post Our Organic Plan for 2016-2017 appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Adjudication updates: Tesoro Savage Oil-by-rail proposed terminal

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

This Monday, June 27, 2016, in Vancouver, Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) will begin its adjudication process for the huge proposed Tesoro Savage oil train terminal. EFSEC’s month-long, trial-like hearing will begin and end in Vancouver, with different parties presenting detailed evidence about why the Council should approve or deny the project.

Live Stream WA Supreme Court on 6/23

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

The Court will decide whether the Port of Vancouver illegally approved the lease without reviewing the oil terminal’s impacts. Columbia Riverkeeper and Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) are asking the Court to declare the lease null and void.

Greater Protections Sought for Threatened Marbled Murrelets in Oregon

By aberman from News. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

Conservation groups submitted petitions today asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Board of Forestry to take new measures to better identify and protect important forest areas for protected marbled murrelets.

Green Building Certification Just Got Less Green

By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

Many Oregonians pride themselves on the state’s environmental record and ongoing sustainability efforts. One element of this commitment is demonstrated through the increasing popularity of green building standards that promote energy and resource-efficient projects. The US Green Building Council (USGBC), through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, is the most widely used rating system.

Unfortunately, thanks to some Oregon politicians and the timber industry, LEED Certification has become a little less green and a little more greenwashed.

LEED-certified buildings are awarded points for various aspects on their design and construction. Depending on the total points, projects can receive a designation of Certified, Silver, Gold, with a Platinum rating being the highest.  Points are awarded for, among other factors, energy efficiency, water conservation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainably sourced materials.

And it’s the sustainably sourced materials aspect of LEED that has made Oregon’s timber interests grouchy. You see, until recently, the US Green Building Council did not acknowledge a majority of the wood products from Oregon’s private forests as sustainable and ecologically friendly enough to warrant any points. This is because the program used by a majority of Oregon’s private forestland operators – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – is by and large meaningless. Other certification programs, like those provided by the Forest Stewardship Council, work to prohibit harvest of rare old-growth forest, prevent loss of natural forest cover, and prohibit highly hazardous chemicals. These values are not required by SFI, which was crafted by the logging industry and designed to meet minimum state law requirements. Essentially, if you’re obeying the law, you get an SFI certification. And even if you break the law, SFI does not revoke its seal of approval, nor does it make any effort to authenticate or police SFI certified forest operations.

So, despite the fact that SFI and Oregon’s weak forest laws have contributed to over a half a million acres of deforestation since 2000, led to steep declines in wildlife populations, result in the regular contamination of drinking water, and have destroyed hundreds of miles of fish habitat, Oregon politicians like former-Governor John Kitzhaber and Congressman Kurt Schrader spent years trying to force the USGBC to lower its sustainability standards. The Oregon Forest Resource Institute (OFRI), the tax-funded pseudo-governmental propaganda arm of the clearcutting industry, lobbied for lower standards as well (although they don’t refer to it as lobbying because they are legally forbidden from doing so). 

While this effort has been cheered on by logging corporations, it has been very disturbing to smaller woodlot owners practicing actual sustainable forestry (which some now call ‘biodiverse forestry,’ recognizing the term ‘sustainable’ is being perverted by the clearcutting industry). These landowners have been working to find a way to balance stewardship with new, environmentally sensitive forestry techniques. A dumbing-down of green building standards would essentially push them out of a niche market, and eliminate their incentive to do the right thing.

Sadly, Oregon politicians finally prevailed over these small business owners and actual sustainability. Earlier this year, Rep. Kurt Schrader proudly announced LEED recognition of SFI

This was a missed opportunity. Rather than working with forestland owners to improve practices to better protect fish, wildlife, and clean drinking water, Oregon has championed lowering the bar. There are many forestland owners that would like to do the right thing, but the resources aren’t available to educate them. Some of OFRI’s budget currently used to run tax dollar-funded ads during the Superbowl could instead help foresters become enrolled in sustainability certification programs that take forest conservation more seriously.

When people see a LEED-certified building, they expect environmental leadership. Clearcut hillsides, poisoned drinking water, dead fish, and landslides are not leadership. SFI and Oregon’s weak logging rules are not leadership. Our state and our forests deserve better. Tell Rep. Kurt Schrader that LEED-certification must go beyond SFI and Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. Constituents can contact Rep. Schrader via his website. Others can leave a comment on his Facebook page.  

For more information, here is a comparison between FSC and SFI

Photo Credits: 
SFI clearcuts by Francis Eatherington

“Environmental Impacts Linked To Columbia River Coal Project”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 29, 2016. OPB News.

“Three questions with the Columbia Riverkeeper’s Brett VandenHeuvel as he takes an LNG victory lap”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 21, 2016. Portland Business Journal.

“Hanford officials prepare to pump nuke waste back into tank”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 19, 2016. KATU News.

Voluntary program allows Pacific Power customers to help restore native fish habitat

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

Four waterways will receive much-needed restoration in 2016, thanks to a partnership between

The post Voluntary program allows Pacific Power customers to help restore native fish habitat appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

“Worsening nuclear leak at Washington waste storage site triggers alarm”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 19, 2016. Inhabitat.

“Northwest Innovation pulls out of Tacoma, still committed to Kalama”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 19, 2016.  The Daily News.

“Leak inside nuclear waste storage tank triggers alarm at Hanford”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

April 18, 2016. Geek Wire.

National News: June 20, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

Why is logging dying? Blame the market- Environmental regulations and endangered species protections are not at fault for Western logging’s decline, HCN Writers on the Range

Forest Service Makes it Easier for Visitors to Enjoy National Forests and Grasslands - Announces Steps to Modernize Recreation Permitting Process, USFS
Keep ranchers on the land, and the land stays open - Want to keep those wide-open spaces? Pick ranching over development, HCN op-ed

U.S. Endowment for Foresty & Communities Recognizes The Freshwater Trust as Grant Recipient

By Nicole Miller from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

The new Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program’s first-year awards will protect and improve

The post U.S. Endowment for Foresty & Communities Recognizes The Freshwater Trust as Grant Recipient appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Celebrating Deb McNamara’s 10 Year Anniversary at NWEI!

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

Over the past 23 years, NWEI has evolved into an organization that lives its values by providing a flexible, family-friendly work environment, encouraging staff to recharge with annual personal retreats, offering a sabbatical for long-term employees, and revisiting our practices… Read More!

The post Celebrating Deb McNamara’s 10 Year Anniversary at NWEI! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Oregon Appeals Court Set to Rule on Plan to Sell off Elliott State Forest

By aberman from News. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

The Oregon Court of Appeals is set to decide the legality of a 788-acre timber sale on the Elliott State Forest following a court hearing last Friday.

Groups Plan to Sue over Pacific fisher

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

KS Wild was joined by several conservation groups who plan to sue the federal government for backtracking on more than a decade's worth of studies when it failed this spring to list the Pacific fisher as a threatened species, saying isolated populations, including those in southwest Oregon, warrant protection.

Former water czar talks politics, the Colorado, and resilience

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

Pat Mulroy has been given a few nicknames during her career. Some impressive and some unsavory,

Oregon's Toxic Air and Poisoned Water

By Jason from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

Oregon has a problem with toxic air and poisoned water.

You’ve probably seen the headlines about Portland’s air and lead in the drinking water of schools, but the problem goes beyond that. Rural Oregonians in the Coast Range and beyond have been dealing with issues like these for decades. It’s bad enough that the logging industry mars the landscape with endless clearcuts. It’s even worse that residents have to fight to stop drifting pesticides from contaminating their air and drinking water. While Oregon’s leaders have pledged action to help Portland residents, rural Oregonians are at risk of being left behind.

The 5th generation loggers and mill operators at Hyla Woods are the latest victims of drifting aerial spray, reporting a pesticide exposure they experienced on their forest-land as a helicopter sprayed a nearby clear-cut. Peter Hayes, former Board of Forestry member and owner of Hyla Woods is quoted in the story saying:

“I think we need to take a hard look at the current practice. Too often, it degrades the things we have in common: our air and water. Too often it has impact on other people’s lands. We need to take a solid look at it.”

At Oregon Wild, we couldn’t agree more! Unfortunately, the Oregon Legislature and Board of Forestry have been unable to reform our weak forest laws in recent years.As a first step in our efforts to reform state forest laws that allow aerial spraying of chemicals and intensive clearcutting, we've been testing the waters with ballot initiatives. As you might guess, King Clearcut has blocked reform at every turn - and, as expected, the timber industry is fighting us now. Lobbyists for Oregon’s clearcutting industry are challenging our efforts through the Oregon Supreme Court. Apparently they don’t like the idea of these practices being exposed to every Oregon voter in a voters pamphlet and would rather keep it in the dark.

Whether through ballot measures, legislation, or other means, rest assured we will continue to defend the values of Oregonians demanding a right to clean air and water. The deep pockets of the timber industry, and their army of lawyers and lobbyists won’t keep us from fighting for Oregon, but it is vital that you make your voice heard in Salem!

If you haven't already, tell Governor Kate Brown that it is time to reform Oregon’s harmful logging practice by signing our petition today!

Photo Credits: 
Doug Heiken, Tim Giraudier

New and updated materials now available for Oregon Desert Trail

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

New tools and updated information are now available to help plan adventure on the Oregon Desert Trail, a 750-mile route through Oregon’s high desert.

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter: An Excerpt from our Newest Ebook, Sustainability Works Our newest discussion course, Sustainability Works: Rethinking Business As Usual, explores how businessess and organizations incorporate environmental and social responsibility to redefine their measurements of success, and asks… Read More!

The post How Diversity Makes Us Smarter appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

River Runner: A Staff Story

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 12, 2016.

  For those of us at The Freshwater Trust, water is more than

The post River Runner: A Staff Story appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Detective Work in the Ancient Forest

By Claudia Christensen Garcia from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

I moved to Jawbone Flats in March with the understanding that I would spend the spring […]

Patagonia’s World Trout Initiative Aids Sandy River Basin Work

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

The Freshwater Trust has received a $6,000 conservation grant from Patagonia’s World Trout

The post Patagonia’s World Trout Initiative Aids Sandy River Basin Work appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

A refuge for wildlife... or potatoes?

By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 08, 2016.

Decoys to scare away native wildlife. Workers dressed in hazmat suits spraying pesticides. Water diversions draining wetlands to irrigate industrial agriculture. Does this sound like a National Wildlife Refuge to you?

If your answer is “no” you are not alone.  But this is exactly how the US Fish and WIldlife Service currently manages Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs).  Over the last several decades, they have favored private industrial agribusiness on refuge lands over the needs of wildlife and preserving remaining wetlands, causing the number of birds visiting this region drop to one-fifth their historic levels. The good news is we have an historic opportunity to reform management of these refuges, and protect America’s wildlife!

Last spring, Oregon Wild and our allies won a legal battle over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to develop a long overdue “Comprehensive Conservation Plan” for five of the Klamath Basin’s national wildlife refuges. These plans, mandated by a 1997 law, must ensure that commercial activities on refuge lands do not harm wildlife. While the vast majority of refuges nationwide have completed such plans, Bear Valley, Tule Lake, Clear Lake, and Lower Klamath national wildlife refuges have missed the deadline for adopting plans by 4 years.

The development and implementation of conservation plans for these refuges provide an historic opportunity to reform their management, and to ensure the needs of bald eagles, tundra swans, sandhill cranes, and white pelicans take priority over the demands of highly subsidized agribusiness operations.  Today, more than 22,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge lands in the Klamath is leased to private agribusiness, displacing wildlife, destroying wetlands, and wasting water.

Conservation plans for the refuges could help restore balance to the region and help reduce or eliminate this shameful practice.

The draft plan for these five refuges is now available for review and public comment. Please submit your comments today, and join us in making the case that eagles, ducks, and geese must take priority over agribusiness on refuge lands. Let’s help secure a better future for the Klamath’s spectacular wildlife!

NOTE: US Fish and Wildlife are only accepting comments via their website. Some suggestions are listed below. It is vitally important that you do not let these extra steps discourage you from commenting! Even a few sentences makes a difference.

In your comments, please let USFWS know that they should:

  • Prioritize the conservation and restoration of migratory birds, fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats within the refuges, and reduce or eliminate activities that harm these values.
  • Eliminate the leaseland agribusiness program and restore these lands to wetlands that are actually managed for wildlife.
  • Use all water rights owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife and wetlands first, not to support agribusiness.  It is unacceptable for wetlands and wildlife areas to be dried up while the USFWS allows full water deliveries to industrial agriculture on refuge lands.
  • Aggressively pursue programs to increase the amount of water available for wildlife, and use it to restore wetlands and improve conditions for native wildlife.

Comments may be submitted here:

Or via regular mail:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R8- NWRS-2016- 0063
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203


17 Days Left – Help Us Launch EcoChallenge 2.0!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jun 08, 2016.

We have 17 days left in our EcoChallenge 2.0 Crowdfunding Campaign, and we’re off to a good start, having raised over 36% of our $10,000 goal! Last year, over 4,000 people participated in the EcoChallenge, which was awesome — and it’s… Read More!

The post 17 Days Left – Help Us Launch EcoChallenge 2.0! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Summer Video Series to Launch June 12

By Brian Kelley from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 06, 2016.

  The reasons to work on water vary. Yet for all of us,

The post Summer Video Series to Launch June 12 appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Summer Breezes at Opal Creek

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jun 06, 2016.

Summer days are here again! Here’s what it takes to have the best Opal Creek experience this […]

National News: June 6, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Jun 05, 2016.

Great public lands hoax threatens our freedom of access, Writers on the Range at Albuquerque Journal

Acid rain guru takes on global warming - "Hubbard Brook: The Story of a Forest Ecosystem", Conway Daily Sun

In light of the lead: Let’s take care of the basics.

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 03, 2016.

In a time-honored, headline-killing move, late Friday afternoon before a long weekend, Portland,

The post In light of the lead: Let’s take care of the basics. appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

$130,000 grant awarded to advance Quantified Conservation in the John Day Basin

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Jun 03, 2016.

The Freshwater Trust has received a $130,000 award from the Bella Vista Foundation

The post $130,000 grant awarded to advance Quantified Conservation in the John Day Basin appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

The Instability of Stability: Remembering Jack Ward Thomas

By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 02, 2016.

On May 26, 2016, Jack Ward Thomas lost his battle with cancer. Thomas began his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a research wildlife biologist in 1966. He was one of the top scientists involved in the construction of the Northwest Forest Plan, the management framework that stopped the wholesale liquidation of Oregon's oldgrowth forests on national public lands and protected critical spotted owl and salmon habitat. He later became the 13th Chief of the USFS, serving from 1993-1996.

Copied below is a speech from Thomas on the need to protect our national public lands.

Speaking strictly for myself, I say that these are my lands and my lands are not for sale, not for giveaway, not for "devolvement." I asked my sons and they say the same. My grandchildren are too young to talk much--but they will learn to know and appreciate their heritage--if these lands are still theirs as citizens of the Republic. Of course, my grandchildren and their children to be born in 25 or so years have no voice today. So I speak for them now, for I believe that they deserve a chance to make some choices. The same choices that today's citizens were given by our ancestors.

The Instability of Stability

by Jack Ward Thomas

Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation

As I and my key staff suffered through all the acrimonious congressional hearings that have gone on this year--with more to come--I was struck with how many times the desire for "stability" or "predictability" of timber supply was mentioned by committee members and witnesses as an absolute necessity. The issue is at the forefront of the discussion of how national forests should be managed. The extensive, increasing and continious changes prevalent throughout western societies now becomes manifest in how natural resources are exploited. These continuing debates and changes shake the pillars of the temple of the faithful who chant many mantras with the same meaning--"non-declining even flow," "community stability," "annual sales quantity," "predictability." This refrain was manifest in hundreds of the responses that the Forest Service received to the proposed revised land use planning regulations published in the Federal Register "give us guaranteed results and assured stability." 

The vision that I was taught in school of the "regulated forest" and the resultant predictable outputs of commodities has turned out to have been a dream. And a dream that could only be realized in a time of seemingly boundless virgin forests. This vision held only so long as, no matter what the circumstances, there was more timber available over the next ridge. And, that timber was relatively cheap--easy to access and long--and environmental risks were either less appreciated or more palatable than at present. Further, it was assumed that good forestry was--as a matter of course--good wildlife management, good watershed and management, etc. 

By now it is becoming obvious that this dream was built on the pillars of the seemingly boundless virgin forest and an ethic of manifest destiny coupled with hubris of being able to predict the response of nature and humans. This was coupled with an inflated sense of understanding of forested ecosystems and of human control. Perhaps it is time to recognize that such stability is not attainable in any western region except for relatively short periods of years or decades. 

Why? Consider the variables that interact to affect long-term stability of the supply of timber. Each variable is subject, more or less independently, to considerable variation over the longer term. Taken together, in terms of their interactions, these variables are guaranteed to produce varying levels of uncertainty and makes attainment of stability unlikely. 

It is increasingly apparent that ecological processes are not as well understood nor as predictable as had been assumed by natural resource managers steeped in Clementsian ecological theory of orderly and predictable succession of plant communities from bare ground to a mature, steady state. Ecologists now understand that ecological responses to management actions may vary widely depending on the interactions of influences ranging from vagaries of climate to impacts from previously executed management activities. 

Impacts of insect and disease in managed forests are not clearly predictable nor more than marginally or temporarily controllable. The levels of insect populations and diseases are influenced by the interactions of ecological processes and previous forest management actions. Such presents problems enough with native insects and pathogens. And, given an adequate timeframe, the continued exchange of forest pests and diseases between continents is certain. It is well to consider the consequences of such introductions that have already taken place such as chestnut blight, white pine blister rust, gypsy moth, to name a few. Methods of "control" are constantly evolving but the feasibility of such treatments are dependent on a number of factors including environmental effect, cost effectiveness, public acceptability and legality --all of which fluctuate. Only 25 years ago, DDT was being widely applied in the forest environment and was highly effective in suppressing some insect "outbreaks" and assumed to be benign in the environment. Times change. DDT is now banned from such use. 

Fire seems less and less "controllable" or even manageable--at least not at the levels assumed in the past. Of course, fire is part and parcel of ecological processes. Debates now rage over appropriate policy toward fire control, the use of prescribed fire--and where, when, if and how to suppress wildfire. The extent and severity of wildfires that occurred several times in the past decade would not have been considered likely one or several decades ago. 

Drought, perhaps another word for weather, comes periodically and is not highly predictable in terms of occurrence, duration, severity or influence. The interactions of weather extremes with other variables that affect the forests can be dramatic. For example, consider the interaction of the spruce budworm outbreak and severe drought in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. If global warming and its effects on weather patterns predicted by some scientists are borne out, there will be dramatic impacts on managers' ability to forecast commodity production. Others question the entire hypothesis. Uncertainty abounds. 

Management actions have a pronounced effect on future forest conditions--this, of course, is expected. But, such management actions vary widely and treatments change quickly with the interactions of ecological understanding, markets, public acceptability, cost/benefit estimates, funding available and legality. And, management actions frequently do produce the results anticipated. Management actions take place with capabilities in risk assessment are rudimentary at best. 

Funding is the fuel that drives most land management activities. The best laid out management plans can only be effective when executed by a qualified work force to the extent that funding allows. Experience has shown that funding for forest managment--at least on federal lands--has never come forth at anything approaching programmed levels. And, what funding is available have proven to be neither stable in amount nor in designated purpose. Funding amounts and focus change dramatically with the surges of political tides, the change of persons in power in key positions and the economic and social pressures of the moment. The trend to micro-management of federal land through the budget process by the Congress and the Administration, seems to be increasing inexorably over time. Perhaps the instability of natural resources management is one of the attributes of a vibrant democracy. 

The presence of a stable work force of adequate size and with appropriate skills and sufficient experience in working within particular ecotypes and cultures is essential to any "stable" management approach. A work force that is in a constant state of flux due to budget shifts, uncertainty of policy, shifts in organizational structures and dramatic adjustments in size is not a work force that has the highest probability of producing predictable results. The last several years have been notable for dramatic change in work force numbers and skill mix--with significant losses among the most experienced personnel, declining budgets and changes in budget allocations that reflected changes in priorities. 

Science continues an inexorable march toward "truth" or, at least, some better approximation thereof. Unfortunately, for the sake of predictability, in the course of this march new knowledge, understandings and hypotheses for management come even more rapidly to the fore. Inevitably, such proves perennially unsettling to the status quo and cause adjustments--sometime dramatic adjustments--in management approaches. Stability, thus, can only be maintained in the absence of new knowledge. And, in the longer term, achievement of some degree of stability will require a constant balancing act between new knowledge that increases yields and new knowledge that produces changes in or constraints on present practices. Unfortunately, this recognition has led some in political power to seek stability by means of limiting the acquisition, dissemination or use of new knowledge. 

Closely related to development of new knowledge is the development of technology that will constantly produce new opportunities to conduct forest practices in better ways, obtain information and store and process data in new and more meaningful ways. Yet new technology, like new information, can cut both ways in terms of effect on stabaility. 

Markets determine prices to be paid for commodities and, in turn, the feasibility and purpose of management for the production of wood fiber. Markets also influence the timing of the cutting of trees and the feasible intensity of management. Markets then produce both short- and long-term effects on forest management that have an unsettling effect on stability and form of supply. Local fluctuations in markets for wood products seem to be becoming even less predictable as timber markets become increasingly worldwide in scope. 

Closely related to markets for wood are the effects of substitutability of other products for wood or stability. As wood prices increase, more and more substitutes for wood come into some markets which serve to constrain some wood prices at the margin. 

Perhaps most influential of the variables that influence stability in forest management, and resultant timber cut levels, are shifts in perceived public opinions about what is appropriate forest management. Such is particularly focused as to what is appropriate management for the public's lands. Significant changes in public opinion can be noted over the past 50 years--with truly significant and intense shifts over the past 2-3 decades. These shifts are manifested in the laws with direct influence on federal land management that came into being over that period. Examples include the determined move by foresters to even-aged forest management in the period 1960-1985 and the subsequent retreat from "clearcutting" in the early 1990s. 

These shifts in public opinions come to bear on land managers through politics. As the political pendulum has swung back and forth over the decades, associated effects on forest management and timber supply are obvious. Politics comes most obviously to bear in the enactment of laws that can and do have dramatic effect on forest management. the interactions of such laws as the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and others that geometrically increase those effects have produced a situation where predictability of timber yield has been dramatically influenced. This predictability is also shaken by administrative actions of regulatory agencies exercising their authorities under these laws. Note the 80% reductions in timber yields from the public lands in the Pacific Northwest emanating from the decisions to list the northern spotted owl, the marbled murrelet and various species of salmon as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Such listings, of course, were the result of the recognition of more complex social and environmental problems. 

Of equal significance is the inexorable increase in the number of court cases and appeals emerging as a consequence of these laws and their interactions directed toward federal land management agency(s) actions. New court decisions are, in turn, rendered--often with dramatic influence on federal land management--on an ever-increasing rate. Each such court decision has potential to dramatically influence the predictability of timber supply and other multiple uses (grazing, fish and wildlife, recreation and water). 

Added to this already fluid situation is the increasing propensity of both Administration and the Congress to micro-manage federal land management agencies' activities through the budget process. Budgets, after all, are very significant policymaking tools. It is increasingly common for the long-standing struggle for power between the Executive and Legislative bodies over federal land management to be played out in the form of increasingly detailed budget direction to land management agencies. And, it is becoming more common for the Congress to dramatically alter the effects of law(s) and evolved case law by giving contrary direction in legislative budget action with the caveat--"all other laws not withstanding." These "quick fixes," however, frequently cause far more problems in federal land forest management over the long term than they "fix" in the short term. The increasing acrimony of the debate over the advisability and approaches to carrying out the timber salvage and release of the "318 sales" mandated in the Rescission Bill of 1995 is another example. 

The response by the various government agencies involved in attempting to carry out Administration and congressional budget direction in compliance with all the applicable laws that are constantly--and independently--subject to interpretation by the courts at these levels has been to evolve increasingly complex processes to try to lay out a path--a yellow brick road to the Emerald City--that will assure a managerial decision that will stand up to the judicial review that will, most assuredly, come. 

These increasingly complex processes, in turn, produce a veritable minefield of potential violations of process that resource managers must avoid in any attempt to produce commodities in compliance with often conflicting laws and regulations and political direction. Any violation of process, no matter how slight, may well result in a judicial injunction. These complex processes--which become more complex with each court loss--require more and more sophisticated technical assessments of various kinds and more and more time to execute. And, thus, these processes become increasingly expensive in dollars and time. Managers, unfortunately but understandably, produce an atmosphere for managers that has become known as "risk aversion." This makes timber sales ever more expensive to execute and produces increasing difficulty in producing timber from federal lands with returns that are above costs needs careful examination as to the "benefits" that result from such increased sale preparation costs and difficulty--i.e., are better, more environmentally sensitive timber sales the result? 

Given the myriad of interacting variables, it is time for concerned citizens and our leaders to accept the reality that the dream of a stable timber supply--and other "products"--from public lands is an illusion. Certainly, this conclusion is inevitable if the status quo is maintained. 

If the stability or predictability of timber supply (or any other product) is deemed important, the picture painted here is a gloomy portrait. However, while stability seems likely to be considerably less certain than in the "good old days" when virgin forests and forest managers unknowing of consequences and with too much certitude buttressed the myth of stability, commodity production from federal lands could be much more predictable than at present. How? 

Ecological processes are too complex to ever be fully understood. However, such understanding is being dramatically enhanced and can be accelerated with increased, or at least stable, levels of research effort. The trend toward using ecosystem management concepts in carefully defined contexts holds promise for dampening oscillations in forest management outputs caused by managerial attempts to sustain biodiversity by addressing "recovery"--one threatened or endangered species at a time. Oscillations in timber supply can be moderated by taking a conservative view of "annual sale quantity" projections as opposed to the tendency to make overly optimistic projections such as those that resulted in the first forest planning efforts of a decade or so ago. 

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the overriding de facto policy for the management of federal lands has become the protection of biodiversity. That de facto policy has evolved through the interaction of laws, regulations, court cases and expedient administrative direction. This de facto policy, I believe, is the crux of the raging debate over the levels of commodity production that can be expected from the federal lands. Such a dramatically important policy should be recognized and examined closely by the American people, the President and the Congress. If that is the policy, it should be clearly stated, recognized openly and the consequences accepted. If such is not a desired national policy, that should be stated. In the recognition of this crux of the issue of federal land management and in a clear declaration of policy regarding preservation of biodiversity, lies one key to the "stability" debate. 

The role of insect and disease in forest management could be addressed in a fashion more in tune iwth long-term effects. This would replace the more common management course of "control" efforts involving application of pesticides whose effects in overall ecological processes are poorly understood and are often found ineffective or environmentally unacceptable in the long term. Such a systems approach will require reconstitution of research and development efforts that have deteriorated over the past several decades. Much good thinking and planning have already gone into the design of such efforts. 

The role of fire in forest ecosystems has been reevaluated at the federal policy level. It is clear that controlled fire has a part in forest management. But, past fire and forest management practices have helped produce situations in many areas of the west where many wildfires now burn too hot and too expansively to be ecologically, socially or politically acceptable. Therefore, it is essential to begin producing situations in managed forests wherein fire can plan an appropriate and immediate role. This will require a shift in management policy and a shift in management policy and a shift in management focus and funding priorities. It is well past time to face up to the costs of fire management. "Funding games" with the federal land management agency budgets in which true costs of firre control efforts are, at best, difficult to ascertain and, at worst, camouflaged should cease. These games make it appear that budgets for fire management are much lower than is actually the case. Fire management is routinely funded at too low a level to make proactive, effective management efforts possible. And, then, agencies are afforded an "open checkbook" to fight wildfires of a size and intensity to provide adequate political impact to open the checkbook. Such an approach is misleading in both terms of the actual resurces allocated to fire suppression management over the long term and in terms of making the best and most effective use of resources, of people and dollars. 

Weather fluctuations cannot be controlled but can be recognized and anticipated as natural phenomena that occur--and on a recurring basis. Such occurrences are normal and are not an unnatural "disaster." And, if such fluctuations are considered as within the range of anticipated variability, anticipated consequences can be modeled into anticipated management outcomes. 

Outcomes of management actions can be conservatively estimated with past experience as a guide. Insanity has been defined as doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Decidedly, optimistic outcomes were the trademark of the first generation of forest plans. With decided regularity, this optimism has not been justified and only reluctantly recognized and abandoned. This caused the agency(s) performance, in terms of commodity production, to consistently come in at below anticipated levels--i.e., the predictions were not valid and belated recognition of that fact, in turn, caused additional instability because of accumulated effects. More conservative approaches are more apt to produce predictable results. And, if results exceed those anticipated, it is easier to adjust commodity yields upward than to deal with the social and political consequences of short fall. 

Funding could be guaranteed over longer time frames. For example, steady funding for, say a 5-year period with enhanced ability to shift funds between budget line items at the land management agency head's discretion could add considerable stability to programs. This stability in funding is directly related to the maintenance of a stable and appropriately balanced work force. It would be likewise conducisive to stability of production if work force numbers and composition were predicated on work to be done and objectives achieved rather than on politically driven manipulations of the work force unrelated to the work to be done. Or, conversely, the work to be done should be adjusted to match funding and work force--and quickly. Doing "more with less" can only stretch so far as the corollary situation of doing "less with less" quickly sets in. 

While the search for new understanding through science may produce short-term instabaility in commodities such as timber supply as managers react to new information, such efforts are essential to long-term stability if renewable natural resources are to be managed in a sustainable fashion. In the end, there can be no turning back from science--no matter now politicaly expedient that may seem in the short run. Given the inexorably increased human polulation with increasing per capita demands on natural resources, humans are engaged in a race between increasing knowledge to ensure the sustainability of renewable natural resouces and ultimate disaster. And, while the cost of the acquisition of understanding through science may seem expensive, that cost is minischule over the long term compared to the cost of ignorance. Yet, as a nation, we are stepping back from an already inadequate investment in such research and synthesis of extensive information for use in guiding management. 

The continued development of technology is likewise essential to make better and more environmentally benign use of forested lands that are available for timber production. The same is to be said for better and more varied uses for wood previously considered non-merchantable. These and other such developments can help increase the efficiency in use of timber yields and thus offset the constraints on wood supply that come about for other reasons. Efficiency in the harvest and processing of wood and in resuse (recycling) of wood fiber should be considered as valuable--or more valuable--than increased wood production. 

The effects of shifts in markets for timber can be somewhat stabilized by allowing land management agencies more flexibility in when and how timber is marketed. Selling timber at a relatively continuous rate regardless of current Arice would seem irrational to any private land owner and might seem equally ill-advised to land management agencies. Timber purchasers sometimes buy, for speculative reasons, the regular offerings of federal timber--which are offered regardless of market conditions--and cut these sales at a more opportune time. Withholding federal timber from the market during periods of inordinately low prices should produce pressure for increase in price and selling when the price is relatively high should produce forces that reduce price. The result should tend to be a market with dampened oscillations in price over time--which should, in turn, have a stabilizing influence. This should provide better opportunity for federal land managers to avoid "below cost" timber sales, which would tend to stabilize the political discourse that surges around this complex issue; discourse which is often times over simplified. Timber sales could be readied at a relatively continuous rate and marketed at appropriate times in order to assure a stable work force and a mechanism to respond rapidly to market conditions. 

Substitutability of other products for the use of wood, over the long term, may well be based on comparative advantage in terms of environmental costs and consequences of production. Ot the extent that wood can be produced in a sustainable and aesthetically acceptable fashion, it should have a significant edge in the market relative to substitutes over much of the developed world. That, over the longer term, can also influence the stability of "market share" for wood products. 

Public opinion seems to be increasingly polarized about the management of federal lands and leads to potentially wider swings in the politics surrounding these issues. This volatility could be dampened by concerted efforts to bring voices of moderation into the debate to provide credible alternatives to the "spin doctors" that make a living by and through dissemination of propaganda and the creation and exacerbation of conflict. These gladiators get paid to win, not to search out consensus. The Forest Service played the role of moderation in the past and could do so again given proper policy direction by the administration and the Congress. So long as the land management agencies operate in an arena where national policy is unclear and federal land management agencies serve as "designated punching bags" for the gladiators, the melee will continue. In clearly stated national policy for management of public lands lies enhanced stability. And, the Forest Service (among other agencies) given portfolios and funding to take "the bully pulpit" for natural resources management that executes a clearly stated national policy in a sustainable manner could play the agency's historic role as a conservation leader. 

It is time to acknowledge that this nation has come to a point where the interacting forces of the myriad of laws and regulations that come to bear on federal land management plus the constant upsets in balance that occur with decisions in court case after court case have produced a situation antithetical to predictability and stability of federal land management. 

The applicable laws should be evaluated, in total and restructured to remove conflicts while radically simplifying management processes. More "quick fixes" of amendments to various acts seem likely to cause instability over the long term. Changes, piece meal, inapplicable laws could cause even more problems due to the upset in the balance of the myriad case law. Perhaps it is time for a resurrection of the concept embodied in the Public Land Law Review Commission. The efforts of that commission, in the late 1960s, indicated significant problems and solutions which were never significantly addressed by the political process. And, it is important to recognize that most of the environmental laws which impact so significantly and disproportionately on the federal lands were enacted since that time. This is not time for timidity. The situation is producing increasing polarization in concerned citizenry and conflicts in public land management which, in turn, produces increasing frustration in the body politic. This could lead to poorly considered and sweeping changes in the responsibility for or methods of public land management or both. 

Administrative findings of regulary agencies concerning proposed management activities by land management agencies produce situations where equally or better well-qualified experts in management agencies can be and are second guessed by colleagues in regulatory agencies. This can be disruptive, redundant, irritating and expensive duplication of effort. For example, might it be preferable for regulatory agencies to produce or approve recovery plans for threatened or endangered species in cooperation with management agencies--and, then, leave the responsibility for plan execution to the land management agencies. The current situation increasingly amounts to joint management of federal lands by management and regulatory agencies. Though such is working somewhat better over time--the situation should be reevaluated with an eye to reducing redundancy, some increases in efficiency assured (i.e., costs reduced) and time of project execution minimized. 

Court rulings are proliferating and creating continuing chaos in trying to carry out land management activities. Agency decisionmakers spend as much or more time with lawyers than with natural resource management personnel. Of course, such is a part of what has evolved as the "American way" of increasing solution to disagreement through litigation. And, of course, agencies should obey the law. That is not my point. The laws might be changed to provide that the lower in a legal action pays the cost of the winner--particularly if the judge considers the plaintiff's case to be frivolous. In present circumstances, the government pays if it loses but the reverse is not true, i.e., the plaintiff does not pay costs if they lose. In fact, the government sometimes pays the plaintiff even when the government wins depending on the opinion of the presiding judge. This provides incentive to sue the government and no significant disincentive (i.e., no penalty--and, perhaps, a reward for losing) for such actions. Some lessening of court cases would contribute to enhanced stability. 

Micro-management of agency activities by both executive and legislative branches of government are somewhat antithetical to a stable management program. In terms of Congress, such micro-management is commonly carried out through the budget process with detailed instructions that change from year to year and election to election. Laws are made and dismantled without much public disclosure in instructions put forth through the budget--including "earmarking" of funds to projects of individual congressmen and senators. If Congress and the public truly want "stability" and "predictability" in land management agency programs, it should be recognized that much--perhaps most--of the instability can be traced directly to Congress in the interaction of the "crazy quilt" of laws and regulations and budget instructions produced. Micro-management exacerbates already serious ills. 

The avoidance, or at least diminution, of contrary direction to land management agencies from the executive and legislative branches of government is critical to enhanced stability. Such conflicting instructions put the management agencies squarely between a "rock and a hard place." Unfortunately, the public does not understand the agency's dilemma and puts blame on the agencies for the results of the strife between executive and legislative branches. To the extent that such struggles can be moderated, increased stability and predictability in land management can be anticipated. 

Complex processes that have evolved to deal with too much uncoordinated law, too much uncoordinated regulation, that require too much interagency involvement can and should be simplified. Dramatically reducing and simplifying these proceses, while maintaining the intent of the laws upon which they were built, will contribute to channeling the energies of natural resource management agencies away from process and toward focus on achieving on-the-ground results that the public (or Congress and the administration) expects and the agency(s) strive to provide. The intent of any process should be to provide logical mechanisms for achievement of a defined objective. Agencies lose few lawsuits over the technical aspects of natural resource management. Lawsuits that produce losses for land management agencies most frequently focus on the details of adherence to process--with rules that change with the results of each lawsuit. The result has been the evolution of the "appeal proof" or "suit proof" process with documentation covering every possible aspect of consideration in great detail. "Suit proofing" wasn't the aim of the National Forest Management Act nor the Endangered Species Act. The aim was to produce a better job of land management. The original intent has, in my opinion, been perverted. Risk aversion can be an expensive management style. 

So, while "stability" in timber supply (or any other supply) cannot be assured--improvements could and should be made. As natural resource managers, we stand on a slippery slope where we dare not stay. The evolving situation is politically, economically and ecologically untenable. We must seek and find firmer ground. 

The assorted frustrations associated with public land management have come to a point that serious consideration is being given by Congress to transferring ownership of these lands or the "development" of their management to the states or other entities. This is a debate that could bear dramatically on stability. 

In a hearing earlier this year before a House budget committee, the chairman asked for my opinion as to the appropriateness of "devolving" the ownership or management of the National Forests. I asked for his permission to answer that question from two perspectives--as Chief of the Forest Service and as an individual citizen of the republic. That permission was granted. 

Answering as Chief, I spoke of the same ideas and concepts that were put forward by Gifford Pinchot and twelve later chiefs that followed him and preceded me. Their rationale are a clear part of the conservation history of our country and need not be repeated here. 

Instead, I will talk about my individual answer. Perhaps each of you can think of what your answer would have been. And, while doing that, consider the stability of other aspects of management on the public's lands--water, recreation, fish and wildlife, livestock, grazing, mining, etc. What is your personal stake in these questions. 

I was born and raised in central Texas--a state with minimal amounts of public land. Hunting and fishing and just wandering the woods was my passion--as it is today. But, any such endeavor required asking, even begging permission to go into the woods--or sneaking, I become highly adept at all three. 

Once physically grown, I went off to Texas A&M with the dream of being a wildlife biologist. Upon graduation, I found work with the Texas Game & Fish Commission and, for 10 years, was instrumental in establishing and fostering wildlife management on private land--and its commercialization. We were successful beyond our wildest dreams. But, I never set foot on private property to hunt or fish without asking permission or by paying a fee. 

Then, I went to work for the Forest Service and, for the first time in my life, set foot on a national forest--land that belonged to me and to every other citizen of the United States. I thought I had encountered heaven on earth. The land was my land and no one and no sign said to me "posted, keep out." The days of begging permission and paying to get past those signs were over. 

What an incredible inheritance from our forebearers. These lands are an inheritance like no other people in the world posses. How unique that is in the human experience and how incredibly precious. I ponder much on that as I move closer to the end of my life and farther from the beginning. I think much about what we will leave behind for the people of the United States. 

Yet, there are those who say the nation cannot afford to maintain that inheritance. My response is, how can we not afford sustaining that heritage. These lands are part of America's culture--the only such lands that the vast majority of us will ever own. Ten percent of the American people control 90 percent of the national wealth. Is that not enough? Can we have nothing of our great inheritance for the American people at large? Can anyone seriously believe that "development" of ownership or mangement of the nation's land will not bring the day closer of those "keep out" signs springing up around the borders of what was once our land? 

When the 191,000,000 acres were placed in the national forest system they were lands of little value. Some of those lands, particularly east of the Mississippi, had been seriously mistreated. Then, over the next 100 years, these very same lands have become incredibly--too valuable, some believe, for the American people at large to own. If these lands have increased so much in value in 100 years, it is not too difficult to imagine how valuable those lands will be in another 100 years. By then, it is likely that our nation's population, given current trends, will have doubled and, perhaps, redoubled. If those lands are worth gold today they will be worth diamonds in another 100 years. That is not the question. The question is who will own and control these lands? 

To say we, as a people, cannot afford those lands is to say that we would "devolve" our heritage and our inheritance for a mess of potage. Speaking strictly for myself, I say that these are my lands and my lands are not for sale, not for giveaway, not for "devolvement." I asked my sons and they say the same. My grandchildren are too young to talk much--but they will learn to know and appreciate their heritage--if these lands are still theirs as citizens of the Republic. Of course, my grandchildren and their children to be born in 25 or so years have no voice today. So I speak for them now, for I believe that they deserve a chance to make some choices. The same choices that today's citizens were given by our ancestors. 

I ended by saying to the congressman, "Speaking for me, my children, my grandchildren, I object." The congressman asked, "Why do I think your answer as Chief was "no" and your personal answer is "hell no!?" 

So, while citizens consider questions of stability and of viable communities, it is well to ponder an even deeper question. What role do the national forests and other public lands play in the culture of our nation and, perhaps more important, in the culture and economy of our region and states? I cannot conceive of America without national forests. The most destabilizing act I can visualize for good wildland natural resource management is America is the "devolvement" of the national forests and other public lands. But, perhaps, I am too steeped in Forest Service traditions and too emotionally and viscerally attached to these lands that I own in common with all Americans. Perhaps, but, I don't think so. I certainly don't feel so. 

Every American should consider the facts swirling around the issues of "devolvement" and your feelings and have your answer and response ready as the debate begins. 

It is time to realize that assuring a completely stable supply of commodities from public lands is a desire and planning goal that cannot be realized under present circumstances. And, while achieving that goal is not possible, the situation could be improved. Those improvements will require significant changes in present management under present circumstances. But, improvement--significant improvement--is feasible. 

In summary, the timber supply from federal lands is one drought, one insect and disease outbreak, one severe fire season, one election, one budget, one successful appeal, one loss in court, one listing of a threatened or endangered species, one new piece of pertinent scientific information, one change in technology, one shift in public opinion, one new law, one loss of a currently available technological tool, one change in market, one shift in interest rates, et al, away from "stability" at all times. And, these changes do not come one at a time, they come in bunches like banannas and the bunches are always changing. So, stability in timber supply from the public lands is simply a myth, a dream that was never founded in reality. It is time to stop pretending. 

Tualatin River Discovery Day – A Celebration of the River in Your Own Back Yard

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Jun 01, 2016.

More boats have been added to the lineup.  Reserve yours online now.   Did you know the last Saturday of June is one of the biggest outdoor parties in the Portland Metropolitan area? Tualatin Riverkeepers, a non-profit dedicated to connecting community to natural resources and the waters of Washington County, will host Discovery Day on […]

Celebrate Eugene and PDX Beer Weeks

By marielle from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 01, 2016.

Courtesy of Claim 52

Raise a glass to summer in Oregon!

Join Oregon Wild and our Brewshed® Partners at the following events to celebrate local craft beer and the wild watersheds that make it possible:

Eugene Beer Week:

  • Saturday, June 4th - Upper McKenzie/Tamolitch Pool Brewshed Hike
    Celebrate Eugene Beer Week by taking in the clear blue waters of the McKenzie River, lava flows, gorgeous old-growth forest, and stunning geology on this quintessential hike in Eugene’s brewshed®. We’ll hike through a lava flow now covered in an ancient cedar forest, and discover the McKenzie’s most unique feature – where the river bubbles up from underground in a crystal clear blue pool. Sign up for the hike here.

    After the hike, join other clean water lovers at Claim 52’s Abbey in downtown Springfield for a special beer release benefiting the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance.

Portland Beer Week:

  • Thursday, June 9th - PDX Beer Week Kickoff Party
    Come on down to Portland Brewing in NW to kick off PDX Beer Week! Live music on the patio, raffles, and beer specials from 4pm to 10pm. Plus 10% of your purchases will go back to the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance!
  • Friday, June 10th - Brewshed® Tap Takeover at The Civic Taproom
    The Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop is hosting a Brewshed® Alliance tap takeover for PDX Beer Week! Try beers from Oregon Brewshed® Alliance partner breweries, including beers crafted especially for the Alliance initiative. This fundraising event goes from 5-10 p.m. If you missed the Oregon Brewshed® Brewfest on May 18th, this is a great way to try some of the amazing beers our partners are crafting and check out the awesome Civic Taproom - another new Alliance Brewing Community Partner!
  • Saturday, June 11th - Craft Beer Trivia Night with Geeks Who Drink
    We're back at the Portland Brewing Taproom for a special Quiz for a Cause with the crew from Geeks Who Drink! Test your knowledge of useless facts at a traditional pub quiz with beer-themed bonus questions from 7-10 p.m. and help raise some monies for forest watershed protection at the same time.
  • Wednesday, June 15th - Riverbaer Release Party at Baerlic Brewing
    Details TBD, stay tuned!
Photo Credits: 
Top photo courtesy Claim 52. McKenzie River Flow by Adam Spencer. PDX Beer Week Poster courtesy of Portland Brewing Company.

Guest Blog Post: Saving the World, Six Teslas at a Time

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jun 01, 2016.

Today’s guest blog post is from a participant in a recent Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions discussion course in Lake Oswego, Oregon. As a result of the course, each of the six families committed to switching to electric… Read More!

The post Guest Blog Post: Saving the World, Six Teslas at a Time appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

National Wetland Month Photo Contest Slideshow

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 31, 2016.

          Thank you to all who participated in our National Wetlands Month photo contest.  We are overwhelmed with the beauty, humor and obvious love you have for your wetlands.  We will announce a winner soon!  Keep exploring and send us your photos through our social media channels!

We Support Outdoor Education! Help #SaveOutdoorSchool

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on May 27, 2016.

It will probably come as no surprise that we are teaming up with the Outdoor School for All Campaign to promote outdoor education. Outdoor School for All aims to give every Oregon fifth or sixth grader a hands-on week of science-based, outdoor education. Many… Read More!

The post We Support Outdoor Education! Help #SaveOutdoorSchool appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Westside Bypass: The Zombie Dinosaur

By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 26, 2016.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Thu, 05/26/2016 - 5:20pm

Why we don't need a freeway through farmland

The Westside Bypass Freeway was a dinosaur in the early 90s, when regional leaders wisely determined that transportation dollars could be better spent to move more people and freight by investing in transit, a grid street pattern, bicycling facilities, and walkable communities.  Instead of building an oversized and costly freeway through some of the world’s most valuable farm land, Washington County and Metro successfully implemented a more efficient, cost-effective, and integrated transportation and land use system.

read more

Preserving Land in Oregon

By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 26, 2016.

Alyson Marchi-Young
Thu, 05/26/2016 - 5:00pm

A tale of two studies


read more

Ruling protects Greater Sage-Grouse on Steens Mountain

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on May 26, 2016.

A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling May 26 that rejects the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of an industrial-scale wind project proposed for Steens Mountain.

Great Blue Heron Week: June 1 - June 12

By aberman from News. Published on May 26, 2016.

Join us for Great Blue Heron Week and explore Portland's official bird as you discover natural areas all around the city.

The Wild Owyhee

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 26, 2016.

Far in the southeastern corner of the state, beyond the dry mountain shadows of the Cascade Range, past high-desert plateaus and cow-spotted ranchland, on the desolate fringe of the great basin, lies the Owyhee. Oregon is known for its forests, but its greatest wilderness is actually a desert. One of the last truly untouched places […]

New Video on Quantified Conservation

By Brian Kelley from The Freshwater Trust. Published on May 26, 2016.

  The Freshwater Trust has pioneered a new approach. “Quantified Conservation” is about using data

The post New Video on Quantified Conservation appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Cranes, curlews, and cows – the delicate debate over Oregon’s federal lands

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 25, 2016.

Last night, May 24th, PBS News Hour aired a story about the work of the High Desert Partnership, spotlighting our Director Esther Lev.  Click here to watch the full story! story! If you are interested in Esther’s personal story of this collaboration, we recently posted this blog: We are looking forward to continued work in

5 Tips for Using NWEI Ebooks

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on May 24, 2016.

If you have participated in an NWEI discussion course in the past, you may have noticed that some of our new courses are available as ebooks rather than in a paperback format. Our newest discussion course, Sustainability Works: Rethinking Business… Read More!

The post 5 Tips for Using NWEI Ebooks appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Goal 10 - Housing and what we can do about it

By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 23, 2016.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Mon, 05/16/2016 (All day)

Testimony to LCDC following their Hatfield Fellow Report

1000 Friends of Oregon has been engaged in Goal 10, Housing, since the inception of the land use program, through litigation, advocacy, policy development, and community engagement.  Therefore, we are particularly heartened to see the work of the DLCD Hatfield Fellow focused on affordable housing.  Julia McKenna has provided a comprehensive report on the status of housing issues within the land use program, how it relates to the Oregon Housing & Community Services agency (OHCS), and current issues facing Goal 10 – including its possible role in how jurisdictions demonstr

read more

Oregon Housing Study Presented by Hatfield Fellow

By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 23, 2016.

Sadie Carney
Land Conservation and Development Commission
Tue, 05/17/2016 (All day)

Julia McKenna started work as a Hatfield Fellow with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) in August, 2015, focused on housing. Energy behind the topic grew through the course of the 2016 legislative session, with at least eight bills and countless hours of testimony responding to housing challenges from every part of Oregon getting attention at the capitol. “Housing has become part of our everyday conversation in state agencies,” says DLCD Director Jim Rue, “it’s everywhere.”

read more

Tremendous sugar pines in the Applegate

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on May 23, 2016.

The Butte Fork trail is the lowest elevation and most gentle of all the hiking routes in the Red Buttes Mountains. There’s a lot to love about this route through the last untouched valley in the upper Applegate, including wildflowers, views of the snowy Siskiyou Crest ridgeline and the cascading of the Butte Fork and its tributaries. Surprising old-growth Sugar Pines along the trail to Cedar Basin will not disappoint.

National News: May 23, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on May 22, 2016.

U.S. must step-up forest pest prevention, new study says, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Land Grab Duplicity, Pacific Standard magazine
Privatize public lands? Start with grazing fees, Writers on the Range at Cortez Journal
"Forest in the Crosshairs: The Environmental, Health & Safety Impacts of Target Shooting in the Los Padres National Forest", Los Padres Forest Watch
There's a Hotline for People With Knotty Wood Questions - Inside Wisconsin's Forest Products Laboratory, where experiments are conducted on all things wood, Atlas Obscura
What the West’s trees tell us - How can biomass and carbon data help us mitigate the effects of human activity?, High Country News

Hood River County Votes Against Nestlé!

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 20, 2016.

  by Francesca Varela On Tuesday, the people of Hood River County voted to block Nestlé from building a water-bottling plant near the city of Cascade Locks. Ballot Measure 14-55—a countywide ban on commercial bottled-water facilities—passed easily, and has set an important precedent, not only for Oregon, but for the rest of the country. Massive […]

Cormorant Nesting Colony Targeted by Federal Agencies Suffers Complete Failure

By aberman from News. Published on May 20, 2016.

Audubon Society of Portland calls on federal agencies to permanently stop the slaughter of cormorants and immediately launch a comprehensive investigation of the killing program

Our First NWEI Fellow

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on May 20, 2016.

This spring, we welcomed our first-ever Fellow, Veronica Hotton, who recently completed her PhD in Education at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Veronica has been primarily supporting NWEI’s curriculum efforts, especially the release of our new discussion course, Sustainability Works:… Read More!

The post Our First NWEI Fellow appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Join us in Salem on May 23 to speak out for the Owyhee!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 18, 2016.

The Owyhee needs you NOW. Will you join us in Salem on Monday, May 23, to ensure our Oregon lawmakers know Oregonians want the Owyhee Canyonlands protected? The House Rural Communities, Land Use, and Water Committee will meet to discuss permanent protection for the Owyhee. A group opposing protection will be there in force, so […]

We just launched a crowdfunding campaign for EcoChallenge 2.0

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on May 16, 2016.

We believe the solution to the planet’s biggest challenges lies in the power of collective change. By taking action in our own lives and inspiring the people around us, each of us contributes to a world of impact. We all… Read More!

The post We just launched a crowdfunding campaign for EcoChallenge 2.0 appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Grey to Green: The Ongoing Story of Tree Planting in Portland

By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on May 13, 2016.

In 2008, Friends of Trees in partnership with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services embarked on a transformative eight-year journey to boost green infrastructure in Portland. Take a look to find out what’s been accomplished, learn about the impacts of those accomplishments, and reflect on the success of this government – non-profit – […]

Evening for Opal Creek–Thursday, May 19!

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on May 12, 2016.

Our annual fundraising bash is in just a few days, and we’ve got a great evening […]

Voluntary Simplicity: Finding Appreciation and Making Conscious Choices

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on May 09, 2016.

Earlier this year, long time NW Earth Institute volunteer and discussion course organizer Betty Shelley wrote an article on Voluntary Simplicity for Green Living: A Practical Journal for Mindful Living. We’ve featured Betty’s efforts at generating one garbage can of waste… Read More!

The post Voluntary Simplicity: Finding Appreciation and Making Conscious Choices appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

National News: May 9, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on May 08, 2016.

Are You a Wild One?

By Lena from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on May 06, 2016.

The last two years we’ve seen Oregon politicians and special interest making gains attacking or trading away the things that make Oregon a special place. Luckily, we’ve also seen more Oregonians step up to defend our conservation values. But if we’re to succeed in protecting and restoring Oregon’s wildlife and wild places, we need to take things a step further.

That’s where Wild Ones comes in. 

For those who were part of the first class last year, you know that Wild Ones is a unique, grassroots leadership training program that invites all Oregonians, of all backgrounds and ages, to engage in the political process on behalf of wildlife and wild places. 

Whether your passion for the great outdoors manifests itself as an outgoing go-getter or a contemplative philosopher, this training provides advocates with the tools that sharpen, hone, and build upon each advocate’s own experiences and personality. Social butterflies and thoughtful thinkers alike benefit from Wild Ones.

This year you can look forward to an even bigger, more comprehensive program, including:

  • Dynamic trainings – from lobbying, testifying, writing, researching, media engagement, to grassroots organizing;
  • Meaningful community building – meet other conservation-minded folks who also want to change Oregon politics for the better;
  • Significant engagement opportunities with decision makers to make lasting, beneficial impacts on Oregon’s wildlife and wilderness legacy. 

The kickoff events will be a celebration of what we have collectively accomplished thus far and how you can best contribute to Oregon Wild's 2016-17 efforts.  

Come learn how you can get involved, while enjoying good company and light refreshments. 

Portland Wild Ones Kickoff – RSVP

Thursday, May 19  at 5:30-7:30pm
Oregon Wild office – 5825 N. Greeley Ave, Portland OR

Optional things to bring: folding chair, water bottle – snacks and n/a beverages provided

Bend Wild Ones Kickoff – RSVP   

Tuesday, May 26 at 4-6pm
Oregon Wild Bend office – 2445 NE Division St #303, Bend, OR

Eugene Wild Ones Kickoff – RSVP

Tuesday, May 31 at 6:30-8pm
Claim 52 Brewing – 1030 Tyinn St, Suite 1
Snacks provided, beverages for purchase

Central Coast Wild Ones Kickoff– RSVP

Tuesday, June 7 6-8pm
Rogue Brewers on the Bay
2320 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, OR 97365
Full menu and drinks available for purchase

For those who might not be able to attend one of these launch events, subscribing to the Wild Ones email list will provide you with valuable news and resources to help take your activism to the next level.

Wetlands Feeding the World

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 04, 2016.

              May 17, 7 pm. Nyberg Rivers New Seasons Join us in the community room for a fun and interactive presentation. Wetlands are famous for providing abundant wildlife habitat, and most of us know that they play a vital role in protecting water quality. But did you know that

Plan Your Summer Adventures with Tualatin Riverkeepers

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on May 04, 2016.

This Summer Tualatin Riverkeepers has a big menu of adventures for you to experience.  Canoe trips, kayak trips, the ever popular waterfall tour, River Professors Lectures and a new event, the Bird & Wine Tour are planned for you.  Join our group events. Check out the complete menu  and register online at our Eventbrite Page. […]

Update: Westside Salvage Logging

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on May 03, 2016.

Clearcutting has started in the recovering post-fire "Westside Salvage" logging units. KS Wild is supporting the Karuk Tribe in emergency legal motions that will ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in early May to halt the logging while affected wildlands and wildlife get their day in court. Cross your fingers and stay tuned as we continue to do all we can to promote real restoration and protect forests and watersheds of the Marble Mountains from clearcutting.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill Opening and Supporting TWC on May 15th!

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 03, 2016.

TUALATIN, Ore. (Apr. 29, 2016) – The new Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill® in Tualatin, Ore., will hold a fundraiser for The Wetlands Conservancy on Sunday, May 15, as part of The Wetlands Conservancy’s celebration of National Wetlands month. Sharky’s, a premium fast-casual restaurant and lifestyle brand offering an award-winning and innovative Mexican-inspired menu, will donate

Now Hiring: NT Outreach Staff

By Ian Bonham from Growth Rings. Published on May 02, 2016.

By Ian Bonham Tomorrow’s tree canopy begins with a knock! About half of the trees you see planted in Portland neighborhoods through Friends of Trees’ Neighborhood Trees planting program started out just as a message from an FOT outreach staff member letting a homeowner know they have space for a tree. That’s why we’re hiring up to ten new part-time, […]

Safety Video Emphasizes the Right Life Jacket Fit for Kids

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on May 01, 2016.

New CAP case looks at Measure 49 in Yamhill County

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Wed, 04/27/2016 - 2:35pm

read more

Hearing from our rookie Crew Leaders

By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

Friends of Trees  has an amazing volunteer base. Like, really incredible. We’re joined by thousands of individuals at our planting and tree care events every year (5,000+ this season, but who’s counting?), who give us their time, energy and smiles. And at every event, rain or shine, are the familiar faces of our Crew Leaders, […]

Tribe AND Conservationists File Suit to Protect Wild Salmon, Rural River Communities

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

The Karuk Tribe, along with the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), Center for Biological Diversity, and Klamath Riverkeeper, filed suit in federal court challenging a massive post-fire logging plan in Klamath National Forest that will increase fire danger, degrade water quality, and harm at-risk salmon populations. The Tribe leads a diverse plaintiff group united by a common interest in restoring healthy relationships between people, fire, forests and fish.

Beaver Watch: Tualatin Basin

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 25, 2016.

Greg Lewellan, The Wetlands Conservancy May 12, 2016 – 7:00 pm Tualatin Heritage Center 8700 SW Sweek Dr, Tualatin, OR 97062 Beavers are the ultimate “ecosystem engineers”. No other wildlife species’ behavior is as critical to the viability of so many other species in this environment. Greg Lewellan will share the history of beaver in

National News: April 25, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Apr 24, 2016.

Senators: Energy bill a win for Western states - Legislation would permanently reauthorize Land and Water Conservation Fund, Durango Herald
What Does a Dying Forest Sound Like? - As temperatures rise, scientists scramble to pinpoint trees in danger of drought, Smithsonian magazine

Who are YOUth?

By Joel Iboa from Beyond Toxics. Published on Apr 22, 2016.

Who are YOUth? Workers’ rights, air toxics, pollinators, policy change, racial justice, chemical exposures, pesticides, herbicides, these and many others are all issues Beyond Toxics continues to fight for. And while it’s important we continue this work it’s also important that we remember who we are doing it for. A year ago Beyond Toxics made... Read more »

The post Who are YOUth? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Homesteader: 1890 – 2016

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 20, 2016.

Northwest Oregon’s state-owned forests are comprised of less than .01% old growth, a stunning number that indicates their fraught history of devastating fires and aggressive logging. A notable patch of the Clatsop State Forest contains a timber sale known as “Homesteader.” One part of this sale (Area 2) especially, contained a stand trees upwards of 125 years old that […]

Earth Day: Past and Present

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

In recent years, Earth Day has come to be associated with buying green. Earth Day is coming up; buy compostable bamboo plates for your next picnic. Earth Day is coming up; offset your airline miles by donating to rain-forest preservation. Earth Day is coming up; buy yourself a pair of athletic pants made from recycled […]

Worth a Dam

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

May 25th, 2016 7-9 pm at Oregon Public House Village Ballroom Come join us for a beer and celebrate wetlands and beavers of the West. Beaver, our beloved state animal is woefully misunderstood and blamed for many of our urban water issues.  Dr. Heidi Perryman formed Worth A Dam to defend the beavers in her

A New Tradition, Westwind Reflections

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

On a very rainy Friday in late February, 65 people stood staring up at me as I made some final announcements from the back of a truck.  The trees were dripping and the puddles were getting bigger by the second. We were about to embark on the last leg of our journey to Camp Westwind, no more

How to Survive the Spring Rains! Find Your Closest Wetland

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

Putting on your rain boots, tromping through tall grasses, searching and exploring the squishy world of wetlands will inspire both your kids and your sense of wonder. Wetlands play a role in your everyday life cleaning and collecting water, but sometimes we forget to seek them out as nature’s playground.  After a recent hike at

Stopping LNG Export through Oregon: Both Projects Collapse!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 18, 2016.

By Ted Gleichman They seemed insurmountable at first: two massive methane export projects in under-employed Oregon, one on the south bank of the Lower Columbia, and the other grabbing a struggling industrial port on the southern Oregon Coast.  Each $7 billion-plus plan required hundreds of miles of new pipelines, feeding fracked gas from the Rockies […]

Wrangling the masses at University of Portland

By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Apr 15, 2016.

Every season Friends of Trees has the pleasure of working with University of Portland and their Campus Volunteer Coordinator (CVC), who recruits students to plant and teach others to plant trees in Portland neighborhoods. We had a blast this season working with the current CVC, Alina, whose passion for planting trees and commitment to getting students connected leaves us inspired! Read Alina’s […]

Politicians Can't Clearcut to Prosperity

By chandra from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Apr 15, 2016.

Politicians in western Oregon counties have been complaining for years that tax dollars are scarce and they can’t balance their budgets. Their solution? Flush those scarce tax dollars down the toilet on a harebrained scheme to sue the federal government and increase clearcutting on public lands.

This week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unveiled a new plan for 2.6 million acres of national public lands in western Oregon. We’re currently sifting through the 1500 page document so we can break down its ramifications, and will be sharing our summary soon, but the short story is that the BLM’s plan weakens protections for old growth forests and streams in order to increase logging levels by 37%.

Western Oregon politicians who value timber industry campaign contributions over clean water, healthy communities, wildlife, and the hundreds of millions of dollars generated by recreation on BLM lands are outraged. They are arguing for an unrealistic plan that would increase logging by more than double current levels and be completely incompatible with bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act. The counties have hired a high-powered Portland law firm, and anticipate the legal fees will be $530,000. Lane County has opted in for $84,000, and other counties are lining up to join in too.

Write to Your Local Paper

We can’t help but wonder what better uses those funds could go towards.

As Oregon’s economy continues to transform from resource-extraction based industries to more modern sectors like technology and recreation, and as its demographics shift, a return to the days of the clearcut epidemic on public lands is not the answer to county budget woes.

County politicians need to hear from you. Please consider submitting a letter to the editor or guest opinion piece to your local newspaper on the value of our backyard BLM forests. Here are some guidelines and contact information for submitting a letter to your local newspaper. We encourage you to make your letter your own - just remember to make it concise.

Some talking points to consider including:

  • I’m disappointed to see that the BLM’s proposed management plan shortchanges wildlife, clean water, and ancient forests, while increasing intense logging that harms streams and scars the landscape.
  • Our County Commissioners are allocating precious budget resources to litigating the BLM plan that increases logging by 37% and doubles county income from logging. Instead of calling for increased clearcutting that will negatively impact our property values, clean water, recreational opportunities, and fish and wildlife, the County should be working on diversifying our local economy and finding a way to balance the budget without pillaging our public forests.
  • Our BLM backyard forests belong to all of us - not just the few who want to make a buck. These forests, the streams that run through them, and the fish and wildlife that call them home are a public resource enjoyed for their many benefits like clean water, scenic beauty, and a variety of forms of recreation.
Photo Credits: 
BLM's "Buck Rising" clearcut project. Photo by Francis Eatherington.

Photo Champion!

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 15, 2016.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Inexplicable Decision to Reverse Course on Protecting Rare Forest Mammal

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

Agency abruptly withdraws proposed rule that would have protected the Pacific fisher under the Endangered Species Act.

Tips for Safe Paddling on the Tualatin River

By web master from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

On April 12, 2016 a kayaker was rescued from the Tualatin River 1/2 mile downstream of Cook Park by TVFR and Clackamas rescue teams.  Those familiar with this stretch of the river know that this shallow location always has current.  At springtime flow levels, the kayaker was unable to paddle upstream.  She was wearing a […]

National Marine Fisheries Service Releases Biological Opinion Requiring Stronger Floodplain Protections for Salmon and Communities

By aberman from News. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

On April 14, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must change its implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program in Oregon to better protect imperiled salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales. In its biological opinion (BiOp), NMFS concludes that FEMA’s flood insurance program violates the Endangered Species Act by subsidizing development in floodplains that jeopardize the continued existence of salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales and adversely modifies the designated critical habitat of anadromous fish species in Oregon. The BiOp includes a list of reforms FEMA should implement that will not only protect federally listed salmon, steelhead, and killer whales but will also reduce flood risks to people and property.

2016 Fruit & Native Plant Giveaway

By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on Apr 13, 2016.

This year our largest partner in this annual fundraiser is unable to donate fruit trees. Fruit trees, like all agricultural crops, are susceptible to seasonal pressures such as weather, demand and other market forces, such as a booming economy: There are no unsold trees to glean. For this year’s event, on April 23rd, we have […]

National Wetlands Month Calendar of Events

By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 12, 2016.

Celebrate National Wetlands Month!  There are talks, walks, birding and volunteering events happening and we want to see you there! Bring your friends and family and celebrate your local wetlands. Keep checking back, we will continue to add events!

National News: April 11, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Apr 12, 2016.

An Opposing View - Yes, Bicycles Belong in Wildernes, Writers on the Range at CV Independent

The Massive, Empty Federal Lands of the American West - The U.S. government owns half of the land in 11 western states—but almost no one lives there, The Atlantic
Dr. Angus McIntosh explains grazing rights, defines Public Lands, Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association at Fort Morgan Times
One fell swoop, Albuquerque Journal
Actress can pay fine or appear in court over Sedona carving - Coconino NF saw her Instagram Post, News Tribune AP

US Army Corps Begins 2016 Cormorant Slaughter

By aberman from News. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

On Wednesday April 7, the US Army Corps and USDA Wildlife Services began shooting Double-crested Cormorants near East Sand Island. Federal agents in boats are using shotguns to shoot birds out of the sky as they fly and forage in the Columbia River Estuary. Conservation groups have expressed deep disappointment that the Federal Government would initiate the 2016 killing season despite the fact that the federal court has indicated that it hoped to rule on the legality of the lethal control program before the killing began in 2016.

High Desert Speaker Series Wraps with New Look at Old Favorite: the John Day

By from Press Releases. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speaker Series concludes in Portland on April 25th at 7 p.m. with the talk, Hidden Wonders of the John Day, by ONDA Stewardship Director Ben Gordon.

High Desert Speaker Series finale in Bend

By from Press Releases. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speaker Series finale in Bend takes place on April 26 at 7 p.m. with a special presentation from ONDA Central Oregon Wilderness Coordinator Gena Goodman-Campbell.

The Political Double-Standard for Wolves

By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Apr 08, 2016.

I hope you’ll bear with me for the following hypothetical scenario:

A controversial infrastructure project is being considered by Oregon’s Department of Transportation. There is intense public interest of the project, with 95% of public comments disapproving. While state law requires such projects to be evaluated by an unbiased peer review panel to be improved and revised before submitting to the Transportation Commission for a vote, in the name of political expediency, ODOT bureaucrats sidestep that review process.

Although government watchdogs call foul, and over two dozen experts have expressed concerns, the project has the backing of the state’s political establishment and is presented to the Transportation Commission for a vote. Commissioners, some with undeclared conflicts of interest to the project, vote to approve it, knowing that ODOT has abridged the obligatory review. As scrutiny on the project mounts, involved political groups appear to recognize that the agency has overstepped its authority and appeal to the Oregon Legislature. They propose a bill to retroactively single out and rewrite the law regarding review for this particular project. The regular sausage making and special interest deals that drive the political process prevail and result in postmortem standards that shield a broken ODOT process from any legal scrutiny or public accountability.

Obviously, in a state as sensitive to government ethics and transparency as Oregon, one would expect there would be an outpouring of criticism for the process, the political machinations, and backroom deals cut to bully this project forward. But it doesn’t happen. The powers that be are satisfied with the outcome, so it doesn’t matter how broken the route was that led to the project moving forward.

Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t really hypothetical.

Rather than the controversy being a state transportation project, the preceding sequence of events describes how gray wolves were stripped of their endangered species protections by the state wildlife agency, and how the legislature voted to shield that agency from the fact that it broke the law. Because wolves are easy scapegoats in certain political circles, the scandal is acceptable, even vigorously defended. In an attempt to misdirect the conversation, lawmakers and their political allies have pointed the finger at environmental and government watchdog groups that have advocated that the state obey its own laws. Wolves, they argue, are a special case, and therefore above any obligation for meaningful legal or scientific process.

The controversy over wolf delisting is exactly the type of backroom political scandal Governor Kate Brown promised to combat. She came into office pledging a new era of transparency and government accountability.  It is disheartening that otherwise reasonable and well-intentioned people from the Governor and her wildlife commissioners to state lawmakers are willing to apply a double standard to wolves that would be unacceptable in any other political realm. If she had been truly committed to making good on the promise of honest government, wolves wouldn't have been left behind.

West Coast Forage Fish Protections Mean Big Things for Seabirds

By aberman from News. Published on Apr 05, 2016.

After more than three years of hard work, Audubon Society of Portland and our partners, including Pew Charitable Trusts, Audubon California, Oceana, and Audubon Washington, have secured a huge win for forage fish species. As of May 4, 2016, dozens of forage fish species will gain federal protection under a new rule from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Thank You River Connections Sponsors

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Apr 05, 2016.

Thank You Premier Community Bank, Metro, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Backyard Bird Shops, and NW Natural.

Oregonians in Action Propose UGB Name Change

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Apr 01, 2016.

Alyson Marchi-Young
Fri, 04/01/2016 - 10:15am

Last month, Oregonians in Action proposed a language change for statewide documents.

read more

A Eulogy for OR-4

By rob from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Mar 31, 2016.

We met three times, but I imagine that I barely registered in his life.

To him I was no more than an occasional scent on his trail or the source of a tortured imitation of a howl.
But to me, no nonhuman animal ever has been or likely ever will be as important or consequential in my life as OR4.

He escaped kill orders and poachers. He endured at least 4 collarings and he beat the odds. There aren’t many ten year old wolves out there. Today there is one less.
OR4 was shot and killed today. And it hurts. Anyone celebrating his death, the killing of his likely pregnant partner, and two of his pups, must have a hardened heart indeed.
He became a symbol for those who revere wolves as well as for those who hate them and hate the wild. Even some of the most cynical wolf haters paid him begrudging respect.
He was imperfect. He challenged us. He was loud. But he was tough and he was tenacious. He was resilient, and he was a good father.

OR4 and his partners OR2 and a wolf known as “Limpy” leave behind an unparalleled legacy. His offspring include OR7, the first pups in California in nearly a century, OR3, and wolves both known and unknown quietly living their lives and retaking their rightful place on the Oregon landscape.
He never set paw in Salem or DC, but for better and worse, he had more impact on policy and politics than any animal I know of other than Cecil the Lion.
He also leaves behind questions. Lots of questions. Questions about our future - the future of his offspring...and ours.

Above all, as I heard the helicopter take off near my home this morning, I wondered if our society will leave room for the wild on the landscape…and in our hearts.

Despite his collars and dayglo ear tags, OR4 was wild. 

OR4 is dead, and we killed him. 

But we’ll keep fighting for his legacy as imperfectly and tenaciously as he did.
The story of Oregon’s biggest and baddest wolf didn't end in “happily ever after”. But the story for wolves and those of us who value the wild is still not fully written. It’s a new chapter. I’m no starry-eyed optimist. So I'll stubbornly cling to hope and tenacity.

The alternative is surrender. OR4 was no quitter. And we shouldn't be either. 

He was loud.

And he was annoying to those who hate the wild. We should be too.

Dispelling the Myth of UGB's and Affordability

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 30, 2016.

Alyson Marchi-Young and Mary Kyle McCurdy
Wed, 03/30/2016 - 4:55pm

read more

Land Use Regulations and Income Segregation

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 30, 2016.

Alyson Marchi-Young
Wed, 03/30/2016 - 4:40pm

read more

Do Strict Land Use Regulations Make Metropolitan Areas More Segregated by Income?

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 29, 2016.

Michael C. Lens & Paavo Monkkonen
Journal of the American Planning Association
Tue, 03/29/2016 (All day)


Problem, research strategy, and findings: Income segregation has risen in each of the last four decades in U.S. metropolitan areas, which can have lifelong impacts on the health, economic productivity, and behaviors of residents.

read more

National News: March 27, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Mar 27, 2016.

Protecting federal lands, Eugene Register-Guard editorial
Is Uncle Sam becoming Big Brother?, Washington Post letter

4FRI loggers, mills struggling, Arizona Daily Sun [updated]
Forest Crisis, Payson Roundup editorial
Not all bikes are welcome - KEA, others want mountain bikes out of wilderness areas, Coeur d'Alene Press

Volunteer Spotlight: Dian Odell

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 25, 2016.

Dian Odell has been volunteering with the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club since August 2014. She comes in twice a week to help out in the office. “Usually entry of donations and event attendance into Helen (the central Sierra Club database), preparing for mailings, research, procedure documentation. But also computer support, ‘cleaning’, optimizing, [and] upgrading,” Dian […]

Oregon Wild Madness!

By jonathan from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Mar 24, 2016.

It's March and that means it's time for the fourth annual Oregon Wild Madness!

But before we tip off, you should know that not all "madness" is created equal.

For instance, earlier this year we all witnessed the kind of madness that fueled the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and continues to call for privatizing public lands across Oregon and the West. That’s not the kind of unhinged craziness we’re talking about.

Three Sister Wilderness by Khristian Snyder

The Three Sisters Wilderness is out to an early lead. Will it hold on and make it to the "Wild Four" in this year's  Oregon Wild Madness?

Meanwhile, as a fun play on college basketball’s March Madness, Oregon Wild Madness is all about celebrating Oregon's amazing public lands - from the Three Sisters Wilderness and Crater Lake National Park to the Wild & Scenic McKenzie River and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge!

In March Madness, fans all across the country are rooting for Badgers, Wildcats, and (of course!) Ducks. But in Oregon Wild Madness, the special places that these critters (and many more!) call home are facing off to see which one becomes the champion of public lands. March Madness may have the Blue Devils, but Oregon Wild Madness features the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Proposal! And instead of cheering from the sidelines, you're part of the action because you choose the winners!

No matter which special places get your vote, if you chip in $10 or more to support our work to protect Oregon's wildlands, wildlife, and waters, you could win a basketball autographed by the entire 2015-2016 Portland Trail Blazers team!

As Oregonians, valuing our public lands is part of our DNA - from Steens Mountain and the Ochocos to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Crater Lake. So please celebrate your favorites by voting in this year's Oregon Wild Madness (we even made a bracket you can download and print).



Inspired by college basketball's annual tournament, this is a fun way to shine the spotlight on 32 of Oregon's most amazing public lands! And just like March Madness, we've grouped this year's title hopefuls into four regions:

Devil's Staircase by Tim Giraudier
Will the remote Devil's Staircase pull off the upset and get your vote in this year's Oregon Wild Madness?

Wilderness - From the Eagle Cap to Opal Creek, these special places enjoy the highest level of permanent protections.

National Wildlife Refuges - Birds and fish statewide are huge fans of the special spots in this region, which provide critical habitat for countless native and migratory species. And don't forget the only national antelope refuges in the country!

Monuments and Recreation Areas - From volcanoes to the Oregon Dunes, this region boasts some of the best exploring in the state!

Proposed Wilderness - The locales featured in this region are truly among the most breathtaking in the all the land. From Crater Lake to the Owyhee Canyonlands, these places never cease to amaze. Unfortunately, each of them are facing a variety of threats and that's why Oregon Wild and partner groups are working overtime to get these places the permanent Wilderness protections they deserve.

So vote for your favorite spots, please consider chipping in to support our work to protect all the special places featured in this year’s Oregon Wild Madness, and (if you want a fun way to decide which of Oregon’s great wild places to explore this year), print out a bracket and see who makes your “Wild Four!”

Photo Credits: 
Three Sisters Wilderness photo by Khristian Snyder

Revolutionizing Oregon: the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan becomes law

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 24, 2016.

By Francesca Varela Nearly every day I hear news about climate change, and usually it’s not good. Just the other day I read something about how temperatures are rising more quickly than predicted; how the rate at which the seas will rise has probably been underestimated. I’ve been reading about water rationing, and superstorms; stagnant […]

Upholding the Legacy

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Mar 23, 2016.

I grew up in New England with a forest outside my back door, but my grandparents […]

Victory! Jordan Cove LNG Pipeline Denied

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 18, 2016.

By Francesca Varela How does this sound for a bad-news proposal? Stretch a 232-mile pipeline across forests and backyards, old-growth cedars and mushroom-sided streams, halfway across the state. Gouge the forest. Scar it. Fill said pipeline with natural gas—one of the dirtiest fuels available to us. Build a terminal in Coos Bay. Convert natural gas […]

Volunteer Spotlight: FERC rejects Jordan Cove LNG!!!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 18, 2016.

(Here’s how it happened: Three and a Half Zeros, Plus a Minus) By Ted Gleichman Among the most important values of Sierra Club to our planet and society are effective grassroots action, long-term attention to detail, and structured commitment to change.  With the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s astounding decision against the Jordan Cove LNG export […]

2016 Legislative Wrap-up: Victory on Coal and Clean Energy!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 17, 2016.

It was a whirlwind session of the Oregon Legislature for 4 weeks of February (and 3 days of March). Sierra Club staff worked hard to track bills, provide testimony, and meet with legislators in Salem to advocate for renewable energy, wildlife protection, our state forests, and more. And though there were some real disappointments out […]

National News: March 14, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Mar 13, 2016.

Privatizing public land? Start with grazing fees, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel op-ed
Stand up for our open public lands, Durango Herald letter
Let states manage, not sell, Post Register op-ed
Arguing for bicycles in wilderness areas is futile, HCN Writers on the Range at Denver Post
Wildfire emissions worse in polluted areas, University of California - Riverside

Are We Becoming a Nation of 'Free Riders'? - Rebellious ranchers claim the right to use public lands free of charge, Huffington Post

Feds reject Jordan Cove LNG terminal

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Mar 11, 2016.

Federal regulators have rejected plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied applications from two Delaware companies to site the massive Jordan Cove Energy Project in the Southern Oregon coastal town.

41st Annual Fruit Propagation Fair!

By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on Mar 04, 2016.

Join Home Orchard Society – Sunday, March 20th, 10am ­- 4pm. Clackamas County Fairgrounds ­- 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby, OR This event will be held at the main pavilion at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. In a few short hours, we’ll sell hundreds of rootstocks, give away thousands of scions, graft untold numbers of trees, complete our […]

Portland Audubon's Statement on Environmental Debate

By aberman from News. Published on Mar 03, 2016.

Audubon Society of Portland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As such, we do not endorse candidates. However, we do participate in the election process to ensure that environmental issues are well considered and that the public understands how candidates will approach these issues.

Oregon needs local toxics-reporting laws

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Mar 02, 2016.

By Mary O’Brien and Lisa Arkin It’s important to know when you’re being poisoned by industrial toxic discharges, whether to air, water or land. Some would even say you have a right to know. But how much you can know depends on good laws. Gaps and loopholes in federal and state regulations have allowed stained-glass... Read more »

The post Oregon needs local toxics-reporting laws appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

National News: February 29, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Feb 28, 2016.

A New Path to Save Oak Flat, Center for Biological Diversity
S.2242: Save Oak Flat Act, Library of Congress
How an East Coast think tank is fueling the land transfer movement - ALEC is becoming increasingly involved in the public lands debate by providing model bills for Western states, High Country News
USDA Initiative Restores Forests, Reduces Wildfire Threats Through Local Partnerships - Public, Private Partnerships to Invest Over $51 Million in 2016, USFS
Increasing drought threatens almost all US forests - Forests nationwide feeling the heat, National Science Foundation

See the video, "The Last Dragon -- Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders,", Freshwaters Illustrated in Partnership with the US Forest Service
Deer Creek Road project sparks debate - Can local tax money be used on national forest?, Idaho Mountain Express
Congressman Walden Offers Draft Bill to Resolve Issues in Klamath Basin - Bill would transfer 200,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land to Klamath and Siskiyou Counties, Heartland Institute
Oregon must protect all workers - Tax dollars should not support the exploitation of reforestation workers, Street Roots editorial
Wildlife Officials Allow Killing of 100 Spotted Owls in Klamath National Forest - Federal Biologists Conflicted Over Effects of Post-fire Logging, Center for Biological Diversity
IMBA Conducts Press Conference to Announce New Plan for Wilderness, International Mountain Bicycling Association {IMBA}
The Web Monkey Speaks: Screw Apathy - The ban on bikes is BS. Fortunately, you can do something about it, Bike magazine
Saguaro: Freak of nature, Arizona Daily Star

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference Report

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Feb 25, 2016.

Mary Kyle McCurdy and Greg Holmes
Thu, 02/25/2016 - 3:00pm

Takeaways and Tools

The 15th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference was held in Portland from February 11-13, 2016.  1000 Friends staff and Board members played key roles in organizing and presenting in several of the conference workshops, trainings, and tours.  The NPSG conference exists to integrate issues of smart growth, health, equity, environment, active transportation, climate change, affordable housing, cultural resources, and more.  It brings together non-profit groups and elected officials; professionals in many fields; realtors, developers, bankers; advocates for e

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Help Build the Cottonwood Canyon Experience Center

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Feb 24, 2016.

With your contribution of any size, you can help us demonstrate individual support for building the Cottonwood Canyon Experience Center to serve state park visitors and the surrounding communities of the John Day watershed.

Nature Day Camp Registration is Now Open

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Feb 23, 2016.

REGISTER BY APRIL 15 FOR THE EARLY DISCOUNT Tualatin Riverkeepers’ summer day camp program welcomes youth between the ages of 4 and 13. Camps foster an appreciation and love of nature through place-based, hands-on experiential learning: lessons and activities are designed to develop campers’ self-confidence, problem solving skills, and understanding of their ecological niche. While […]

Timber’s fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry

By John Jordan-Cascade from Beyond Toxics. Published on Feb 18, 2016.

PART III | Advocates, reforestation operators say effective policy changes will need to come from the top down by Emily Green | 18 Feb 2016 This is Part III of a three-part series on the working conditions and treatment of Oregon’s immigrant forestry workers. Marko Bey was sitting in on the squatters’ movement and organizing... Read more »

The post Timber’s fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

The View from My Desk

By Megan Selvig from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Feb 18, 2016.

I have an office job…in the middle of the woods. I am a year-round resident of […]

On the Linn County Lawsuit

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 16, 2016.

You know when you drive to the coast, like out to Cannon Beach or Tillamook, and you pass by those clear-cuts? There’s a thin layer of trees in front of them—a disguise of sorts—but if you look past them, through those dark branches, you can see whole fields of dry, broken, dirt, painfully bright and […]

National News: February 15, 2016

By (Mark Garland) from Home. Published on Feb 14, 2016.

Sagebrush rebels recycle old West fantasies, HCN Writers on the Range at Durango Herald
Keep public lands in public hands, Idaho Statesman op-ed
Firewatch review: Play the game, Gamespresso

Higher Temperatures May Doom Many Trees, ClimateWire at Scientific American

High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend

By from Press Releases. Published on Feb 12, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association’s High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend on March 15 at 7 p.m. when Chuck Gates, founding board member of the East Cascades Bird Conservancy, will present details of the lives and behaviors of the many fascinating birds that call Oregon’s high desert home.

Audubon Society of Portland Statement on the End of the Occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

By aberman from News. Published on Feb 11, 2016.

February 11, 2016: The last occupiers of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered to federal authorities this morning, ending the illegal armed occupation of Malheur. Audubon Society of Portland appreciates law enforcement officials who worked to bring this illegal occupation to a close, Malheur Refuge staff and their families who were displaced by this occupation, and the local community who strongly rejected this occupation.

Thankful for the end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover

By Lindsay Jones from Press Releases. Published on Feb 11, 2016.

As the media trucks pull out and the wheels of justice move forward, the Oregon Natural Desert Association vows to remain committed to the health and welfare of the Malheur Refuge.

The Hardesty Wildlands need your help!

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 05, 2016.

What’s happened to all the wild places? While once the whole world was wild, now we’re left only with dark pockets. Again and again we return to these hidden, mossy stream-sides, because we intrinsically feel better there. There’s something about the wind circling through high hemlock canopies, and the impacted delicacy of wet soil that […]

Investing in the Future: The Healthy Climate Bill and the Coal Transition Plan

By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 04, 2016.

When I was a kid, teachers always gave us the same piece of environmental advice: reduce, reuse, recycle. The emphasis was always on what we could do as individuals. We could pick up litter. We could recycle cans and bottles. We could donate our old clothes. If everyone did these small things, they would add […]

ONDA to release its 2016 calendar of guided restoration trips

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Feb 01, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association offers guided restoration trips throughout eastern Oregon every year. Registration for this year's slate of trips opens Friday, Feb. 12.

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Awards up to $6 Million Grant for Collaborative Conservation to Improve Aquatic Health and Wetlands in Harney County

By aberman from News. Published on Jan 29, 2016.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) voted Tuesday (January 26, 2016) to allocate more than $1.6 million to support a diverse partnership working to improve habitat values and water quality in Malheur Lake and other Harney Basin wetlands.

2016 Legislative Agenda

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jan 27, 2016.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Wed, 01/27/2016 (All day)

It's time for inclusionary zoning, a healthy climate, and affordable housing for all Oregonians

Legislative Update: February 24, 2016

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Community Development as a Planning Priority

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jan 27, 2016.

Pam Phan
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 3:00pm

Seattle shares lessons learned with Portlanders combating displacement and gentrification

1000 Friends hosted Community Development Manager Nora Liu, from Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development and Ryan Curren, Former Program Manager of Seattle’s Office of Housing for an informal conversation about how to include anti-displacement and affordability in city planning. Anti-Displacement PDX (ADPDX) Coalition Members joined us to have an illuminating conversation.

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KS Wild Joins Statewide Actions to Support Public Lands

By Amy from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 21, 2016.

"We're going to be positive. We're going to be peaceful and we're going to talk about how much we love public lands."

BLM disagrees with O&C's timber harvest goals

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 18, 2016.

The Bureau of Land Management says it isn't mandated to offer up timber harvest of 500 million board feet identified in the 1937 O&C; Act, because its analysis shows that isn't sustainable.

Update: Malheur Refuge occupation

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 14, 2016.

ONDA condemns the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and adamantly urges our elected officials to take a leadership role in reaching a swift, peaceful resolution to this unprecedented act of hostility.

High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 14, 2016.

Registration is now open for the next installment of the Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speakers Series in Bend. Dr. Dennis Jenkins, senior staff archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon, will take the audience on a trip through nearly 14,000 years of human history in eastern Oregon.

Homesteader: The Precipice of a Huge Loss

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jan 13, 2016.

Over 1600 Oregonians voiced their disapproval of clearcutting old growth as part of the Homesteader timber sale in the Clatsop State Forest. It is obvious that the loss of trees that survived the Tillamook Burn and a century of logging would be devastating, but is important to get an up-close view of what we lose […]

More than 100 protest at Medford meeting on Jordan Cove, Pacific Connector projects

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 12, 2016.

Locals concerned about the environmental impacts of a natural gas pipeline through Oregon and an export facility on the Oregon Coast rallied outside Rogue Regency Inn this afternoon. The rally was held prior to a public open house at the hotel organized by the Oregon Department of State Lands to take comments on permit applications for removal and fill-in of natural waterways for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and Jordan Cove Energy Project.

$1,000 reward offered for info on ancient juniper

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 11, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association, Friends of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and Juniper Group of the Sierra Club are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for chopping down an ancient juniper tree in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

What’s new for 2016

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jan 08, 2016.

This year we’re celebrating 20 years of Opal Creek Wilderness protection! And we’re celebrating in a […]

Meet our new Program Director!

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jan 08, 2016.

Jay Davis just moved to Oregon from Wisconsin, with a background in running experiential education programs […]

Keep Public Lands in Public Hands

By Jospeh Vaile from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 05, 2016.

Militants in Oregon are not alone in the effort to sell off public lands. Our own U.S. Congressman has emboldened a movement to seize control of these public lands. Republican Greg Walden recently proposed legislation to give away over a quarter-million acres of National Forest lands right here in southern Oregon and northern California.

Opportunities to Get Involved with Malheur National Wildlife Refuge with the Audubon Society of Portland

By aberman from News. Published on Jan 05, 2016.

January 5, 2016: Audubon Society of Portland's connection to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge reaches all the way back to our advocacy for its establishment in 1908. In fact, we were founded in 1902 in part to advocate for Malheur.

ONDA statement on occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by militant extremists

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 04, 2016.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association issues a statement regarding the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by militant extremists.

Audubon Society of Portland Statement on the Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

By aberman from News. Published on Jan 03, 2016.

January 3, 2016: We hope for a safe, expeditious end to this armed occupation so that myriad of local and non-local stakeholders can continue to work together to restore Malheur in ways that are supportive of both the local ecology and the local economy

Portland Audubon Advocates for Outdoor School for Every Child in Oregon

By aberman from News. Published on Dec 31, 2015.

How does a state become a national leader in conservation? By giving youth a foundation in environmental education.

Press Release: McKenzie Camp acquisition

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 30, 2015.

The McKenzie River Trust protects clean water and salmon habitat near Blue River following a land acquisition from Rosboro. Continue reading

High Desert Speaker Series Launches in Portland

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Dec 22, 2015.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association brings the High Desert Lecture Series for the first time to Oregon's west side. The series in Portland will feature epic journeys, opportunities for adventure and unique insight into eastern Oregon's high desert.

High Desert Speaker Series returns to Bend

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Dec 22, 2015.

The 53-mile journey of three women, ages 65-80, will kick off the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s High Desert Speaker Series, returning to Bend on January 19 at 7 p.m. The series will kick off with Sagebrush Sisters, a documentary about that hike, and a panel discussion with the three hikers moderated by ONDA Greater Hart-Sheldon Region Coordinator Jeremy Austin.

It’s the trees

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 21, 2015.

Thanks to you, an oak woodland and working forest is protected. Continue reading

Woodburn UGB Mediation Resolution

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Dec 16, 2015.

Joint statement by City of Woodburn and Marion County
Wed, 12/16/2015 - 10:00am


On December 14, 2015, the Woodburn City Council and Marion County Board of Commissioners completed a joint hearing at Woodburn City Hall. The meeting represents a critical step in bringing Woodburn’s longtime effort to expand it Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to a conclusion.

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Eugene struck out with Seneca deal

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Dec 15, 2015.

It’s the bottom of the ninth, and Lane County citizens are down 0-3. From our seats in the nosebleed section of the bleachers, we find our home team facing direct impacts of localized carbon pollution, air quality and the size of our energy bills. During Eugene’s recent cold snap, we shivered as temperatures dropped below... Read more »

The post Eugene struck out with Seneca deal appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Why do we do it?

By katie from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Dec 14, 2015.

Our current Program Director, Serena Becker, is moving on in January after a great 5 years […]

Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees

By aberman from News. Published on Dec 11, 2015.

Audubon Society of Portland is working with neighbors and tree advocates on reforms to save our city’s large and healthy trees. On January 12 the Planning and Sustainability Commission will consider a stop-gap proposal to help preserve more large and healthy trees by raising mitigation fees for developers. This temporary measure will be put in place to until Title 11’s preservation standards can be reformed.

Prevent Industrial Development in Wildlife Habitat

By aberman from News. Published on Dec 08, 2015.

Please help us send a strong message to the Portland City Council that the community supports the approach to industrial lands outlined in the current draft of the Comprehensive Plan which focuses on cleaning up more than 900 acres of contaminated sites, intensifying use of the existing industrial land base, and limiting conversions of industrial land to other uses, rather than converting irreplaceable natural areas to industrial use.

The New Clean Water Service Permit: What would be good for the Tualatin River and our neighborhood creeks?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

After many years of delay, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is about to renew the permit that allows Clean Water Services (CWS) to discharge wastewater and stormwater to the Tualatin River system. There are some great innovations in the draft permit.  Clean Water Services will be permitted to use “natural treatment systems” at Fernhill […]

Remand of Stafford-Area Urban Reserves: Written Testimony

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Nov 24, 2015.

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:00pm

LCDC Remand Order 14-ACK-001867 Metro Ordinance No. 11-1255

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the matter of the remand from the Court of Appeals’ and the Land Conversation and Development Commission to Metro regarding the designation of the Stafford, Rosemont, Borland, and Norwood areas in Clackamas County as urban reserves under ORS 195.145.  We are unable to attend today’s hearing; therefore, we are submitting written testimony and plan to appear at your next hearing on this.

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‘Safe Harbors’ for native fish

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery. ‘Safe … Continue reading

Wilderness is a necessity.

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Nov 16, 2015.

“Lichen and mushrooms and amphibians, oh my! Opal Creek was an amazing trip, and I have […]

Planning for Eugene's Future

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Nov 13, 2015.

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 1:00am

An Overview of The Eugene Planning Process and Next Steps

On October 21, the Eugene city council made a decision that rolls back years of comprehensive planning decisions, by blocking up-zoning of residential areas to accommodate more housing types.  The council made its decision before taking public comments, freezing out the people who would be affected by the council’s hasty decision. This impacts current and future residents, threatens surrounding farm and forest lands, and - at the core - constructs an inequitable housing policy that punishes Eugenians who live in multi-family housing types.

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GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms

By Elizabeth Reis from Beyond Toxics. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

The comfortable chair that I just bought and sit in for hours each day is giving me a sore throat and making my eyes sting. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve been experimenting for about a month now, and I can say for certain that after about a half hour of sitting in it... Read more »

The post GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

The importance of healthy floodplains

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

Because of members like Art and Anita Johnson, we've helped Oregon chub recover. Continue reading

A robust conversation at the Owyhee Town Hall in Adrian, Oregon

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Nov 09, 2015.

By Borden Beck, Oregon Chapter High Desert Committee   On October 29, I attended a Town Hall meeting in the small town of Adrian, Oregon, to share opinions and information about protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands. Adrian is the last small community before heading south into the vast expanse of the so far relatively undeveloped landscape […]

Beers Made By Walking comes to Eugene

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

8 local breweries have created beers inspired by hikes on MRT lands, and you can taste the results. Today Continue reading

The little fish that we’d never noticed

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

George Grier and Cynthia Pappas protected their land in 1992. They didn't know then that they would play a critical part in the recovery of Oregon chub. Continue reading

Clearcut 70% of our State Forests? Not the best idea!

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Oct 29, 2015.

On October 19th, a subcommittee of the Board of Forestry met to discuss alternative management plans for the Tillamook & Clatsop state forests.  Any new plan needs to improve conservation AND make the Department of Forestry financially viable. This ongoing process has been dominated by a timber industry proposal to manage the forest as two […]

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Oct 26, 2015.

We’re just about to close our doors for the winter but we’ve already got our sights […]

BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue?

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Oct 16, 2015.

Two years ago, there was little public awareness about the common industrial practice of using helicopters to spray thousands of acres of forests with herbicides. That was before the Cedar Valley spray case in which over forty people reported being sickened by exposure to a chemical soup raining down from an aerial herbicide spray. After... Read more »

The post BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Oregon chub makes a comeback

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 15, 2015.

Because of members like you, an Oregon native makes a comeback It was the early 1990s. Like many of our native fishes, the Oregon chub was in trouble. Chub lived their lives in the moist backwater channels and sloughs of … Continue reading

Deschutes Brewery showcases high desert photography

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Oct 13, 2015.

ONDA debuts its iconic Wild Desert Calendar for 2016 at Deschutes Brewery Public House on Friday, Nov. 6.

Have you seen the new Paddlers’ Map?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Oct 06, 2015.

The new Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Tualatin River is now available at local paddling shops, libraries, and by mail from the Washington County Visitors Association.

Oregon agencies cite multiple pesticide violations and levy fines against helicopter company in a worker whistleblower case

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Oct 05, 2015.

Highly toxics pesticides should not be sprayed on workers, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture concluded that is what Oregon-based Applebee Aviation did to its employees. On September 30, the Department, which is responsible for regulating state and federal pesticide laws, issued a citation revoking the Applebee’s operating license in the state of Oregon and... Read more »

The post Oregon agencies cite multiple pesticide violations and levy fines against helicopter company in a worker whistleblower case appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Is Tree Canopy an Environmental Justice Issue?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

Trees in the urban environment provide a variety of benefits. Various researchers have touted the benefits of tree canopy in cities: cleaner air, stormwater reduction, carbon sequestration, energy savings, higher property values and health benefits.i   Some have even found a reduction in crime associated with tree canopy.ii   If distribution of these benefits are […]

Green Infrastructure Report Card: Is Tree Canopy an Environmental Justice Issue?

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Sep 30, 2015.

Trees in the urban environment provide a variety of benefits. Various researchers have touted the benefits of tree canopy in cities: cleaner air, stormwater reduction, carbon sequestration, energy savings, higher property values and health benefits.i   Some have even found a reduction in crime associated with tree canopy.ii   If distribution of these benefits are […]

Speak up for Oregon’s wolves!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 21, 2015.

You may have already heard the news: California is now home to its first known gray wolf pack, dubbed the Shasta Pack, in nearly a century! While biologists are working to determine the origin of the Shasta Pack’s breeding pair, the most likely answer is that they traveled from Oregon. With successful recovery in California […]

Seize The Day; Save The Bay!

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 21, 2015.

On September 26, there will be a rally in Coos Bay from Noon to 6:00 PM to help raise public awareness of the dangers posed by the proposed Jordon Cove LNG project. The family-friendly event is called “Seize the Day; Save the Bay!” and will highlight the clean environment of the bay and the damage […]

Oregon must address environmental in-justice, starting with a response to a Southern Oregon forum

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Sep 17, 2015.

Poverty, hunger and gang violence in Central America and Mexico have persisted for decades. According to the Pew Research Center, the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula was the murder capital of the world in 2012. This city is where most Honduran children refugees come from when they arrive at America’s borders, sent by their... Read more »

The post Oregon must address environmental in-justice, starting with a response to a Southern Oregon forum appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

We are about to get FERC’d

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 15, 2015.

The Federal Government Prepares to Bless a Catastrophic LNG Project – Running from Canada to the Columbia by Ted Gleichman We are about to get FERC’d in Northwest Oregon and Western Washington. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency responsible for awarding the key Federal permission for major fossil-fuels energy infrastructure projects. FERC […]

The Bee, the Puppy and You!

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Sep 09, 2015.

This week national environmental leaders in bee protection, including Beyond Toxics, signed on to letters sent to Ace and True Value Hardware stores asking them to act now to protect bees! Our petition is for Ace and True Value to commit to not sell products containing systemic neonicotinoid pesticides harmful to bees, butterflies, birds and... Read more »

The post The Bee, the Puppy and You! appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival brings best outdoor, conservation films to Bend on October 2

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 26, 2015.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is hosting the Bend stop of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Tour on Oct. 2, with a matinee and an evening showing at the Tower Theatre. The tour highlights the best of outdoor adventure and conservation films of the year. Tickets are on sale now.

The Humble Bumble Gets Its Own Day of Gratitude

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Aug 04, 2015.

Have you been enjoying watching the furry bumble bees visiting your garden flowers? They seem to be out-and-about, buzzing the blossoms just at dawn, and hanging around for that last nectary drop even as the sun sets. Cherish them as they flirt with your oregano and lavender. Despite their apparent bounty in your garden, native... Read more »

The post The Humble Bumble Gets Its Own Day of Gratitude appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Inaugural Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute Serves High-School Students from Rural Areas

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Jul 29, 2015.

Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute held its inaugural session June 21 to 26 at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. High-school students from Arlington, Condon, La Grande and Boise came together to attend the first-ever five-day outdoor learning lab, which is presented by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Eastern Oregon University with support from the Oregon [...]

OSPF Member Writes New Hiking Guide for Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Jul 23, 2015.

Anyone who’s taken even a short walk on a beach in Oregon has been on the Oregon Coast Trail. But did you know it’s possible to walk the entire 372-mile length of the coastline? More than half of the Oregon Coast Trail is on the beach, and thanks to the Oregon Beach Bill these sandy [...]

Beers Made By Walking

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 19, 2015.

Beers Made By Walking Brewers to create drinkable portraits of protected lands Beers Made By Walking, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail, is partnering with McKenzie … Continue reading

Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 14, 2015.

Public Meeting: Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area Tuesday, May 26th at 6pm Reedsport City Hall, 451 Winchester Ave in Reedsport Summary: Please join us to learn more about a proposed land conservation project along Scholfield Creek near the city of … Continue reading

2015 Spring Star Parties in Oregon State Parks

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Apr 15, 2015.

Want to see where stars are born? This is your chance! Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has teamed up with OMSI and Rose City Astronomers to offer star parties at several state parks this spring. These free viewing parties are a great way to see stars, planets and other celestial sights through telescopes and binoculars of [...]

OSPF Works to Expand Bike Shelter Network in Oregon State Parks

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Apr 15, 2015.

Following a successful 2014 pilot project to construct new bike shelters for cyclists in state park campgrounds and day-use areas, the Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently working with state park managers, local companies and community volunteers to expand the state park bike shelter network and help build Oregon’s reputation as a premier cycling destination. [...]

McKenzie floodplain forest will be home to fish and wildlife forever

By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Mar 05, 2015.

Because of you, the abundant fish of the lower McKenzie River will thrive. Another critical piece of their habitat is protected! Continue reading

From the Executive Director: 2014 Progress Report

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 30, 2014.

The Foundation is still recovering from a busy 2014! Board and staff have been working overtime to enrich the visitor experience in your Oregon state parks. The beginning of the new year creates a wonderful opportunity to take a moment and share updates about recent Foundation progress, as well as a look at what’s next [...]

Smith Rock State Park to Host Oregon Archaeology Lecture Series in October

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 29, 2014.

Smith Rock State Park will host its annual Oregon Archaeology Celebration lecture series on Fridays in October. The theme of the 21st annual series is “Oregon or Bust,” and the program will highlight U.S. expansion and settlement of the West. Presentations will be at 7 p.m. in the Smith Rock State Park Welcome Center facility at 10087 NE [...]

Discovery Season Camping Discounts Begin October 1, 2014

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 29, 2014.

Discounts make camping even sweeter. Discovery Season is in effect from October 1 to April 30 at Oregon State Parks, which means discounted rates on regular campsites, deluxe yurts and deluxe cabins for those ready to enjoy the outdoors. Fall is a great time to camp if you’re prepared and don’t mind a few occasional raindrops, [...]

2015 Founders Circle Grant Challenge

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Aug 21, 2014.

The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund has extended its generous $50,000 challenge grant to help establish our Founders Circle. The first 25 donations of $1,000 in 2015 will be matched dollar for dollar by the MCM Fund. Help us meet the challenge!

OSPF Receives Founders Circle Challenge Grant from Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Aug 21, 2014.

The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund has issued a generous $50,000 challenge grant to the Oregon State Parks Foundation to help establish our Founders Circle.  Between now and December 31, 2014, the MCM Fund will match the first 25 donations of $1,000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis to support our mission of enriching the Oregon state parks [...]

What is a Forest Plan…why is it being revised…and why should you care???

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 30, 2014.

By David Mildrexler and Veronica Warnock

A Forest Plan is a document that guides the overall land management direction of a National Forest for a period of about 15 to 20 years.  It is a strategic document that establishes Management Areas (MAs), and develops goals, objectives, standards, and guidelines for resource management within each of these MAs.  A Forest Plan can be likened to a zoning plan that establishes the various approaches to land use on our private lands.  Just as the zoning of private lands is critical to protecting Oregon’s incredible natural heritage and rural areas from unchecked development, the zoning of our National Forests is equally important for protecting the precious natural resources they provide, and biodiversity they support.  At the end of a Forest Plan’s life, these documents are out of date.  For example, on issues like climate change, watershed protection and restoration, and wildlife corridors, science can inform management much different today than it did 20 years ago.  Likewise, a growing human population and technological advancements are placing more and different pressures on our National Forest Lands.

While a description of a Forest Plan might come across as a little dry, let me add these key words to the description; Wild and Scenic Rivers, old growth forests, wildlife corridors and connectivity, Wilderness areas, roadless forests, native fisheries, research, scenery, restoration economy, and the application of best available science to restore our National Forests.  The Forest Plan is the time and place to advocate for the things you love and would like to see on your National Forest.

The Forest Service is combining the Forest Plan Revision for three National Forests within the Blue Mountains, the Wallowa-Whitman, the Umatilla, and the Malheur.  Together these forests span 5.5 million acres, approximately 2.5 times the land mass of Yellowstone National Park. 
The Proposed Action was released in 2010 for public comment.  The Forest Service took those comments and developed six alternatives that are now out for public review.
The time is now to advocate for the protection of our last stands of old growth forests. We need standards and guidelines that maintain healthy and productive soils, protect riparian areas and water quality, and end post fire logging.  It is time for management that protects all of the plants, fish and wildlife that call our beautiful National Forests home.  This is your chance to talk about the big picture issues.  Don’t hesitate and don’t be intimidated.  Express your voice to reflect your issues! 

Attend one of HCPC’s House Parties and learn how to write effective comments!
La Grande - Wednesday July 30th             
Portland -  Thursday August 7th (date change)
For more information about the house parties, check out our website or our HCPC FaceBook page! 

Here are some suggested points to include in your letter:

The Forest Plans Need to Include More Enforceable Standards and Guidelines: The proposed forest plans contain very few standards and guidelines; instead, they are driven by non-enforceable aspiration desired conditions, goals, and objectives.  Incorporating standards and guidelines into forest plans is essential. Standards are the only planning component that are measurable, binding and enforceable thus ensuring environmental protection and planning efficiencies. 

Alternative C Best Addresses the Issues of Access; Economic and Social Well-Being; Livestock Grazing; Old Forest; Recommended Wilderness; and Ecological resilience: The Forest Service is analyzing alternatives A through F, with A being the “no action” alternative – it continues with the forest plans currently in place. Alternative B is the proposed action that was sent out for public scoping in 2010. Alternative C was developed to address conservation concerns and is the most environmentally responsible alternative. Alternative D was developed to address comments received from the timber industry, county governments and motorized interests. Alternative E is the Forest Service’s “preferred alternative” (the one they are leaning towards adopting). Alternative F is very similar to Alternative E –the only difference being the amount of timber outputs produced annually.

While Alternative C responds to many of our concerns, it is not perfect - it still needs to incorporate standards instead of aspirational language. For Example, the road densities within Alternative C should be standards instead of desired conditions. 
Ask for a Balanced Approach to Access: Motorized access to our public lands should not come at such a cost to riparian health, elk security and other wildlife considerations. Reduction in maintenance costs, disturbance to wildlife, and sediment traveling to our streams and rivers will not occur without the adoption of enforceable and measurable standards. 

Current Grazing Management is Unsustainable and Must be Addressed by the Proposed Forest Plans: The Preferred Alternative retains the same number of cattle across the three forests. Current management levels and practices have degraded public rangelands and riparian areas; destroyed water quality; and negatively impacted many threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. More than 80 percent of wildlife species in the West depend on riparian areas. These areas make up roughly only 1.5 percent of public lands and are disproportionately affected by livestock grazing.  The time is now to rethink how we manage livestock grazing across the Blue Mountains. 

Old Forests Deserve Enforceable and Measurable Protections: The current forest plans for the Blue Mountains were amended to include the “21” rule”. The rule prohibits the logging of trees ≥ 21” dbh. The plans also designate specific old growth forests as areas where commercial logging is prohibited.
The proposed plans do away with old growth management areas and replace the 21” rule with a non-enforceable guideline. Specifically, the guideline states that management activities within “old forest stands should generally emphasize retaining live trees with certain old tree characteristics…tree characteristics and old age many vary by species and site.”
The Blue Mountains are deficient in both old and large trees; trees that provide important habitat values and are fire resiliency. Old trees and old forest must be protected. 

The Preferred Alternative Does not Recommend Enough Wilderness: HCPC and our conservation partners have identified 1.8 million acres of potential new Wilderness on public lands in northeast Oregon, including Joseph Canyon, the birthplace of Chief Joseph. These lands form an irreplaceable web of habitats and wildlife corridors connecting three giant eco-regions—the Northern Rockies, the Northern Basin and Range, and the Pacific Northwest. Think wolves, lynx, moose, bighorn sheep, sockeye salmon, bull trout, and someday even the magnificent California Condor with its 9-foot wingspan.  Despite this incredible opportunity to safeguard these remaining roadless lands, under the preferred alternative the Forest Service is only willing to recommend roughly 5 percent of lands with Wilderness potential to Congress for Wilderness designation. Five percent is not enough! 

Comments on a draft version of forest plans for the three forests can be submitted through August 15, 2014. 
Electronically at: 
Via Mail: Blue Mountains Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 
Or via Fax: 541-523-6392


By rocco from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 28, 2014.

testing sahring

By renewables from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 24, 2014.

Elegy to Tim Lillebo, by Bill Fleischmann

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 19, 2014.

Somewhere in Oregon there is a corner of an office, a closet or attic space where dozens of cardboard tubes are hidden away. Each tube contains several topographical maps, many with scrawled notes about landscapes that he visited. Most of these landscapes were Roadless Areas in National Forests. On most of these maps are drawn boundaries; lines which hope to protect something precious.

Life has boundaries for all of us. Some are limited by income, others by physical impairments, mental limitations, or simply circumstances. Wilderness must be protected within boundaries because deep inside the DNA structure of all humans there is a primitive desire to greedily consume everything which is balanced by an equally primitive need to know that there are still places on maps where the disease of civilization has not yet infected and sickened the land. He understood this.

Wilderness advocates are an odd lot. We gather together reluctantly to protect the lands we love. In 1975, when a group in Bend first formed to protect Roadless Areas of the Deschutes National Forest, there was a slide show and a lecture scheduled in an auditorium on the campus of Central Oregon Community College. As attendees filtered into the room, most seated themselves as far from others as the space allowed, resulting in an audience that resembled an array of free radicals in a biochemistry graph.

If there can be such a thing as a camaraderie of solitary individuals, this room represented exactly that. Wilderness advocates value our isolation not because we crave loneliness but because we require solitude as a respite from the world of civilized chaos that swirls around us and threatens to devour peace of mind. A love of solitude and a desire to be free from the constraints of society form the basis of a desire to protect wild lands. But few individuals stay true to this cause their entire lives, devoting themselves to it. Poring over maps for forty years with a cigarette and a cup of coffee while Red Garland’s Country Little Shack plays in the background.

Tim Lillebo loved those maps. He loved a good blues tune. He loved good coffee and he loved rolling a cigarette while his eyes followed the well spaced loops in a contour line that represented a seep or a bog where elk could wallow in mud and escape biting deer flies in the middle of summer in a remote canyon near Glacier peak. He loved to follow the tight contours of ridgelines where perhaps the last lone wolverine in Oregon was spotted near Monument Rock. He loved to stand in a forest of old ponderosa pines; he called them pumpkin pines, and gaze into the rich yellow and orange hues of their puzzled barks. He loved wild land enough to devote his entire adult life to it, with little monetary reward. If good coffee and blues and a pouch of roll your own could be acquired, Tim was happy. Saving and protecting wild land kept his soul fed. And Oregon will forever benefit from his efforts.

Over the past 40 years most of us wandered away from the cause, nipping at the edges in our respective habitats by signing a petition here, writing a letter to congress there. We had families to raise, careers to chase, dreams to follow. But Tim stayed at it, working every day to draw some protective boundaries around land that is always threatened. One man’s passing does not stop a cause as deeply rooted in the human psyche as Wilderness advocacy, but it certainly sent a tremor wave throughout this odd camaraderie of solitary souls who still seek the solitude of wild places.

Somewhere, in an office or a closet or an attic are dozens of cardboard tubes of topographical maps which should be protected so that future generations can unroll them and study the work of one man who stood for something greater in a world that seems to only reward wealth and power. We should teach those after us to follow those contour lines. Because land will endure long after human effort passes away.

Big plans for a green spring

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Mar 20, 2014.

Our supporters share their tips for the home and office

Missing Tim Lillebo

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 17, 2014.

Hells Canyon Preservation Council recently lost a great friend when Tim Lillebo passed away.  Tim went out to shovel snow at his home in central Oregon on Saturday, February 8 and apparently died of a heart attack or another sudden critical health problem.  Along with Tim’s family and many friends, we are mourning his loss and celebrating the bright spirit of Tim Lillebo.

In many ways, Tim was a living symbol of the forests of eastern Oregon.  He was born and raised here and he devoted his career to protecting and restoring old growth forests, clean waters, and habitat for fish and wildlife.  Back in the 1970s, Tim was hired by the Oregon Wilderness Coalition which later became Oregon Wild.  He worked there continuously until his recent death.  Tim was a man with strong principles and a deep land ethic.  He also had a unique ability to connect with people and work through difficult issues with people who disagreed with him.  And somehow, he was able pull this off with a twinkle in his eye.

In the early days, Tim successfully worked to gain Wilderness protections for some of the last remaining wild and roadless National Forest lands in eastern Oregon.  He also fought logging projects that were cutting down some of the last remaining old growth trees left on public lands.  Here at the HCPC office, we have a photo of Tim walking around the base of a huge old ponderosa pine tree marked with blue paint, indicating that the tree was marked to be cut.  This pine tree looks to be over five feet across at the base and it would have been centuries old.  I don’t know if Tim was able to save this particular tree, but he loved big old pines with thick, yellow plated bark and he devoted much of his life to saving them.

During the past several years, Tim worked to protect and restore the forests by working with collaborative groups for the National Forests of eastern Oregon.  Membership in these groups includes timber industry, logging interests, and local county commissioners.  As you may imagine, there are significant differences of opinion within these groups, but Tim was exceptional in his ability to sit down and talk respectfully with people of many different viewpoints. 

Tim grew up in John Day and La Grande and his grandfather was a logger.  These experiences helped him relate to people in the collaboratives, but I think that more importantly he was a genuinely caring person.  He worked to find solutions that would truly benefit the forests as well as the people and communities nearby.  He made sure that projects described as forest restoration would in fact restore forest conditions and reverse the effects of past logging and fire-exclusion.  He stuck to his principles but he gave respect to others and he received it in kind.

I really got to know Tim over the past several years while we worked together as members of the collaborative groups for the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.  I’m really grateful for the many conversations that we shared, for the time that we spent together and for the work that we were able to accomplish together in partnership. 

When Tim and I would speak on the phone he would greet me by saying, “How ya doin’, rascal?”  Well, right now, the honest answer is that I miss Tim terribly and it feels like there’s a hole as big as Hells Canyon left behind where he used to be.  Tim had the courage of a bear, a heart the size of a mountain, and the brilliant flash of a red-tailed hawk.  He taught me a lot about conservation work.  He left behind a legacy of accomplishments to benefit the public lands, forests and people of the Blue Mountain region.  All of us here at HCPC will use this legacy as an inspiration to motivate our conservation work into the future.

Tim and I attended a collaborative meeting together on the day before he died.  As I left the meeting and walked across the snowy parking lot, I heard him call my name and I looked over to see him smiling and waving broadly over his head.  I waved back.  Good-bye, Tim.  Well miss you. 

- Brian Kelly, Restoration Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Funding eco-activism like the United Way

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 13, 2014.

Goodbye to a key forest advocate and our friend

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 10, 2014.

The Oregon environmental community lost a true icon this weekend with the untimely death of Oregon Wild’s Tim Lillebo.

Your Comments Needed NOW

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 07, 2014.

Please help protect the Joseph Canyon area--an important part of your National Forest lands and waters. 

You can submit scoping comments on the Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project until Monday, February 10 at 5 PM.

Comments should be sent to John Laurence, Forest Supervisor, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, at comments-pacificnorthwest-wallowa-whitman@fs.fed.uswith reference to Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project.

HCPC has been participating in collaborative groups to encourage the Forest Service to include important protections into the project design.

The Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project has the potential to align with sound forest management principals if important protections are included.

These protections include:

  • Protect all old trees, large trees, old growth forests, and previously un-logged forests from logging.
  • Protect all roadless areas and potential wilderness areas from logging.
  • No construction of new roads or temporary roads should be allowed.
  • Roads that are unneccessary or harmful to fish and wildlife habitat should be closed and restored.
  • Wildlife habitat should be protected and improved.
  • Aquatic restoration projects to improve fish habitat and water quality should be included in the project.
  • Two new Research Natural Areas should be created.

The Forest Service has been receiving comments from people who want to keep ALL of the roads open, want MORE logging, and want MORE roads.

This is your opportunity to comment on behalf of old growth forests and fish and wildlife habitat.

Here is a description of the proposed action
Click here for maps and more information.

Wildlife Watchers Field Report for 2013

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 17, 2014.

From HCPC Restoration Director Brian Kelly:

We were hoping that by the middle of last June that we’d be able to drive up to Dunns Bluff.  The bluff is an impressive rock outcrop near the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  But as we climbed higher and higher on the rough Forest Service road, we found ourselves busting through deeper and deeper snowbanks.  The back of the four-wheel drive pickup truck was loaded with wildlife cameras, meat for bait, trapper’s lure for attracting wildlife, cables, locks, tools and an assortment of hardware.  All of this bounced around in the back of the pickup making enough racket to scare away just about any wild animal within a mile.  At the time, it seemed like a strange way to attract wildlife, but we knew that once things quieted down, we’d get some good wildlife photos.  Finally, we had to accept the fact that there was just too much snow for us to drive to our destination.  And it was too far to walk.  We turned the truck around and retreated for the day with a promise to return.

meat (bait) was placed inside metal cylinders  

Within a week, the weather turned hot and the sun made short work of those persistent snowbanks.  Soon the road was clear and we were able to drive near Dunns Bluff and then hike into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  Before too long, we had installed eleven motion-activated cameras in strategic locations in old growth forests of mountain hemlock, Engelmann spruce, sub-alpine fir, grand fir, lodgepole pine and western larch.

At Hells Canyon Preservation Council, we actively work to protect the important lands and waters of the greater Hells Canyon region.  Fragmentation of habitat from roads and logging can be a significant threat to the connectivity of important habitats such as old-growth forests.  During the past few years, we’ve advocated to protect the habitat of the Castle Ridge area and worked with the US Forest Service to achieve protections for habitat connectivity in this important landscape.  Castle Ridge is an 8,790 acre roadless area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest located between the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Grande Ronde Valley.  Through the Wildlife Watchers program, we collaborate with the US Forest Service to monitor wildlife in important habitats that are essential to the connectivity of the region.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council staff, volunteers from our membership, and Forest Service wildlife specialists work together to accomplish the many tasks that the Wildlife Watchers project entails. 

Volunteer Allan Gorthy sets up trail camera
The first order of business to start the field season was to review the available data and maps for likely habitat.  This was followed by field reconnaissance.  Then we hiked into the backcountry while packing in a variety of equipment and supplies.  When we found a good location for a camera point, we set up the camera, strapped it to a tree and locked it in place.  We set up bait in bear-proof cylinders and we applied lure to attract wildlife close to the cameras.  After installation, the cameras’ sensors snapped photos when wildlife came into view.  The cameras were programmed appropriately for each site and then they were revisited every two weeks for maintenance.  The memory cards were checked, the photos were viewed, stored and filed, and the wildlife species were identified.

The eleven cameras captured photos of northern flying squirrel, bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk, Douglas squirrel, bushy-tailed wood rat and coyote.

 Three wildlife species of particular interest in the Castle Ridge area are the American marten, wolverine, and the wolf.  We were disappointed that we did not capture any photos of these species with our eleven trail cameras during the field season.  However, it’s important to note that the absence of photographs does not necessarily mean that these animals are not present or traveling through the area or utilizing the habitat during certain seasons.  

Wolverines were recently documented in the Eagle Cap Wilderness just to the east of the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  DNA analysis of one of these wolverines showed a genetic relationship to the wolverines of Idaho and we assume that their travel corridor was through the connected habitat of the greater Hells Canyon region.  American martens were also photographed in the Eagle Caps during this recent wolverine research.  The American marten is considered to be a management indicator species because it is associated with old growth forests in northeast Oregon and so it has been a species of particular interest for the Wildlife Watchers program.  Wolves have entered Oregon from Idaho through the Hells Canyon region as well.  Since wolf recovery in Oregon is an important recent development, there is much interest in their whereabouts in the local landscape.

When wildlife travel into the Pacific northwest from the Rocky Mountain region, they often enter through the wild lands of northeast Oregon.  Moose, wolverines, and wolves have all come into Oregon this way over the past few years.  This is not surprising because the Wallowa Mountains, Blue Mountains, Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils are rich with interconnected lands and waters providing an amazing diversity of quality habitat.

The snow returned to Castle Ridge in October.  After hiking in through a few inches of fresh new snow, we removed the cameras for the season.  It had been a successful field season of collaboration with the Forest Service and volunteers.  We collected valuable wildlife information that will be used to inform future decisions that affect the land management of the area.  Through the Wildlife Watchers project, we are connecting people to the land while we work to protect the connections of important habitats across the landscape. 

Hells Canyon Preservation Council appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and of the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank our funding partners—Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Mazamas, and Patagonia.

If you are interested in becoming a Wildlife Watchers volunteer in 2014, please contact HCPC  Restoration Director Brian Kelly at

The Forest Connection

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.

An excerpt from Michael Pollan's  recent New Yorker article "The Intelligent Plant."
The most bracing part of Mancuso’s talk on bioinspiration came when he discussed underground plant networks. Citing the research of Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues, Mancuso showed a slide depicting how trees in a forest organize themselves into far-flung networks, using the underground web of mycorrhizal fungi which connects their roots to exchange information and even goods. This “wood-wide web,” as the title of one paper put it, allows scores of trees in a forest to convey warnings of insect attacks, and also to deliver carbon, nitrogen, and water to trees in need.
When I reached Simard by phone, she described how she and her colleagues track the flow of nutrients and chemical signals through this invisible underground network. They injected fir trees with radioactive carbon isotopes, then followed the spread of the isotopes through the forest community using a variety of sensing methods, including a Geiger counter. Within a few days, stores of radioactive carbon had been routed from tree to tree. Every tree in a plot thirty metres square was connected to the network; the oldest trees functioned as hubs, some with as many as forty-seven connections. The diagram of the forest network resembled an airline route map.
The pattern of nutrient traffic showed how “mother trees” were using the network to nourish shaded seedlings, including their offspring—which the trees can apparently recognize as kin—until they’re tall enough to reach the light. And, in a striking example of interspecies coöperation, Simard found that fir trees were using the fungal web to trade nutrients with paper-bark birch trees over the course of the season. The evergreen species will tide over the deciduous one when it has sugars to spare, and then call in the debt later in the season. For the forest community, the value of this coöperative underground economy appears to be better over-all health, more total photosynthesis, and greater resilience in the face of disturbance.
In his talk, Mancuso juxtaposed a slide of the nodes and links in one of these subterranean forest networks with a diagram of the Internet, and suggested that in some respects the former was superior. “Plants are able to create scalable networks of self-maintaining, self-operating, and self-repairing units,” he said. “Plants.”
As I listened to Mancuso limn the marvels unfolding beneath our feet, it occurred to me that plants do have a secret life, and it is even stranger and more wonderful than the one described by Tompkins and Bird. When most of us think of plants, to the extent that we think about plants at all, we think of them as old—holdovers from a simpler, prehuman evolutionary past. But for Mancuso plants hold the key to a future that will be organized around systems and technologies that are networked, decentralized, modular, reiterated, redundant—and green, able to nourish themselves on light. “Plants are the great symbol of modernity.”

A humbling hike to South Sister

By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 29, 2013.

Nature enthusiast, EarthShare employee and contributor Meghan Humphreys finds danger and gratefulness in the wild.

Big Win for Wildlife

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Sep 25, 2013.

Antelope Ridge Energy Project Has Been Stopped

The proposed Antelope Ridge wind power project has been stopped.  Citing current market conditions, developer EDP Renewables withdrew its application with Oregon Department of Energy to build wind turbines and a new road system in important wildlife habitat adjacent to the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.  

This is very good news for local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council strongly supports energy conservationand responsible renewable energy development.  However, it's essential that renewable energy projects must be located on appropriate sites and that wildlife and their habitat are protected in the process.   

The Antelope Ridge project proposal certainly presented significant threats to local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council actively worked to address these concerns through advocacy, education, and collaboration.  We testified at a public hearing and submitted detailed comments to Oregon Department of Energy on behalf of wildlife and their habitat.  We received sign-on in support for our comments from Oregon Natural Desert Association, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Audubon Society of Portland.  We met with Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Energy, EDP Renewables, and the local grassroots group Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley as part of our efforts to protect wildlife and address the negative impacts of the proposed project.     

EDP Renewables had proposed to build 164 turbines over 47,000 acres of private land in the hills just south of the Grande Ronde Valley.  Antelope Ridge would have been built immediately north of EDP’s existing Elkhorn Valley wind facility where four golden eagles have been found dead since May 2009, presumably killed by wind turbines.  Since Antelope Ridge would be larger and located closer to eagle nesting areas, the likelihood of more golden eagle deaths would be high, according to US Fish & Wildlife Service.

According to comments from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, “The Project is one of the first wind power projects in Oregon proposed to be sited in critical big game winter range and very productive wildlife habitat, resulting in the construction of a large industrial structure that negatively affects Oregon’s wildlife.”

Burrowing owls, Swainson’s hawk, and red-tailed hawks nest within the project area.  Four species of bats were identified within the proposed project area.  A potential sage-grouse lek is located near the southern end of the project.  The sensitive plant species Douglas clover and Oregon semaphore grass grow in the project area as well. 

Antelope Ridge would have been constructed just south of Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, northeast Oregon’s largest remaining wetland.  It would have been built about a dozen miles west of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  Forests, sagebrush /grasslands and wetlands provide key wildlife habitat in the project area.  Wildlife travel through the project area, and it’s an important wildlife connectivity corridor.  In fact, the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group has identified the area as an important habitat link between the essential habitats of the Wallowa Mountains and the Blue Mountains.  A new road system would have fragmented habitat, and birds and bats would have been killed by the blades of the turbines.  Locating a large wind power project in critical big game habitat would be harmful to elk and deer and would set a terrible precedent for future projects.

The Antelope Ridge project has been more or less on hold for the past year.  While the withdrawal of the application is welcome news, it's worth noting the following statement in the letter from the developer:

"Although current market conditions do not allow us to proceed with the application process at this time, we look forward to building upon the strong precedent that has been set in coordination with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Governor’s Office to potentially restart project permitting in the future."

So while the recent withdrawal of the application is very good news, it's possible that a new application may be developed sometime in the future.

For the time being, however, this is very good news for eagles, elk, bats, hawks, owls, deer, and other wildlife species.  It’s also good news for the protection of the Ladd Marsh wetlands and the important wildlife connectivity corridors found within the project area.  And it’s good news for people who care about wildlife.

Renewable energy is a very good thing.  The earth’s future hangs in the balance over how well we are able to conserve energy and develop clean energy production.  However, renewable energy projects must be developed on appropriate sites.   And it’s essential that we protect wildlife and their habitat in the process. 

Story & photo by Brian Kelly,
Restoration Director


By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 13, 2013.

Find and subscribe to green news, events and volunteer opportunities.

Update on Bighorn Protection from Darilyn Parry Brown

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.

Hells Canyon Preservation Council is a member of a regional Bighorn Advocacy Group whose primary aim is to see wild bighorn sheep herds in eastern Idaho, northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington gain the permanent protections they need to thrive in their native habitat.  HCPC has been a key advocate for bighorn herds in the greater Hells Canyon area for nearly a decade.  Though again and again, we’ve won our battles to protect bighorns in the courts, these victories are still not secured.

When I first came on as HCPC’s Executive Director early 2012, I took the lead on HCPC’s work to ensure lasting protections for wild bighorn herds in the Hells Canyon Country.  Most recently these efforts have focused on urging the Forest Service to follow their own Record of Decision released in 2010 that closes certain domestic sheep grazing allotments in the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn herds’ habitats and mandates deliberate risk reduction measures be put in place on open allotments.

Wild bighorn sheep are extremely susceptible to a pathogen carried by domestic sheep. Bighorn sheep die-offs have been on-going in Hells Canyon for over twenty years.  In 1991, the Forest Service publicly acknowledged one of the first documented die-offs in Hells Canyon when ninety percent of the Seven Devils bighorn herd was wiped out.  Other documented die-offs in the region date back even further.  In 1986, a massive bighorn die-off was discovered in the nearby Wallowa Mountains within the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon.  This was not the first die-off, but was the most devastating.  The discovery of the diseased carcass of “Spot,” the largest bighorn ram ever found in the continental United States, and the loss of over two-thirds of the herd (66 animals) to disease in a period of a few weeks, was a tragedy that attracted substantial public attention.  The cause of the die-off was determined to be pneumonia linked to Pasteurellabacteria.  In 1992, there was another massive bighorn die-off, this time in the Hells Canyon NRA in the Sheep Creek drainage on the Idaho side of the Canyon.  The culprit was again verified as pneumonia symptoms tied to Pasteurella bacterial infection.  Other die-offs have followed since, in herds within Hells Canyon as well as other nearby areas. 

Unfortunately, the Forest Service is not implementing or enforcing meaningful risk reduction measures. During the past two grazing seasons there were numerous instances where herders and/or herd dogs were not evidently present with their bands, animals were scattered and not recovered, and observers noted sheep outside allotments - in the areas with the greatest likelihood of domestic sheep and bighorn contact. Scattering events and sheep unaccounted for contribute to increased risk of contact between wild bighorn and domestic sheep. 
In September 2012, a foraying ewe was sighted on three different occasions by hunters on the Grassy Mountain allotment that was just vacated that season due to the 2010 decision to close allotments.  Had we not challenged the Payette National Forests’ interpretation of the Simpson Rider intended to stop the implementation of grazing allotment closures just a few months earlier, there would have been domestic sheep on the allotment where the ewe forayed. This was a very narrow miss that could have proven disastrous to an entire herd of wild bighorn.     
Due to a lack of adequate “contact risk reduction” action on the part of the Payette National Forest, in March HCPC submitted a letter to Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom urging him to adopt recommendations drawn up by the Bighorn Advocacy Group that outlined a realistic set of tools for reducing risk to the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn sheep herds. On June 10th, Supervisor Lannom hosted a meeting in response to ours and other members of the Bighorn Advocate Groups’ letters. However, domestic sheep had already been turned out on the allotments of concern (on June 1st).  Half an hour prior to the meeting, we were provided with a hard copy of the Forests’ Response to our recommendations. 
The Forest chose not to adopt any substantive portion of the recommendations; instead, they chose to use the following rationale to comply with the 2010 ROD: “The Forest Service sets permit requirements and allows the permittee to establish the management context...”  I think it is accurate to say, HCPC and our allies in attendance, which included representatives from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce, Western Watersheds, and The Wilderness Society, are extremely discouraged by the Forest Service’ response.
Bighorn protection is not a popular idea among the small number of permittees who utilize our public lands to support massive domestic sheep operations in Idaho.  These powerful few have lobbied hard and continue to put tremendous pressure on the Forest Service to place their interests above those of threatened bighorn sheep.  Due to this heavy pressure, the victories we’ve worked so hard on over so many years for wild bighorn are not yet fully realized and we know we have to dedicate elevated efforts to the cause. 
Since the June meeting with the Payette, Veronica Warnock, HCPC’s Conservation Director, has taken the point on HCPC’s bighorn work. HCPC remains committed to saving wild bighorn herds.  Veronica and the Bighorn Advocacy Group will keep the pressure on the Payette Forest Service—and the heavily subsidized grazing permittees—as long as it takes to gain lasting protections for these magnificent animals of the canyons.
 - Darilyn Parry Brown
Executive Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Snow Basin Update

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.

HCPC is seeking a Preliminary Injunction to stop the release and logging of two timber sales in the Snow Basin Vegetation Management Project.  The Skull and Empire sale areas within the project contain thousands of old growth trees and Bull trout habitat.  
On July 8th, HCPC Executive Director Darilyn Parry Brown testified in federal court to the fact the Forest Service WILL cut large old-growth trees, particularly on the Skull sale, if an injunction is not awarded.  
HCPC staff and volunteers visited old growth trees and stands in Skull in May and July provided proof the Forest Service is planning to remove many more ancient trees than it originally disclosed through the NEPA process, thus violating many environmental laws and its own decision.  
Judge Hernandez’s decision on the injunction is expected by July 18th when the Skull sale is scheduled to be released.

Humor, Facts, and Fundraising - Tom Lang's books

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 14, 2013.

It was at the Green Action Day in Portland, back in May, when Tom Lang walked up to the HCPC booth and introduced himself to HCPC’s Restoration Director Brian Kelly.  They got to talking, sharing interests in protecting wild places and blues music.  Tom, impressed with HCPC’s accomplishments, came up with a way he could support that work.  As an author, selling his books from his website, he could offer HCPC part of the proceeds of the sales of his books.  Their discussion continued through emails, and came up with a plan. 
Starting July 12th, 20% of the purchase price of books purchased through Tom’s website and entered with the “HCPC” code will help fund HCPC’s work to protect, restore and connect.   

This creative way to help HCPC is part of the funding “patchwork quilt” that keeps HCPC going, along with memberships, monthly River Runner donors, major gifts, bequests, grants, funding through EarthShare, and event income.  Every piece of the quilt is important, and HCPC is delighted to have Tom Lang contributing his piece.

You can read excerpts from Tom’s books below and on his website.  Tom’s personal eye view from the perspective of the animals he writes about includes a generous helping of humor leavened with detailed factual information.  He seems to find the crux of the interaction between people and the wildlife and help us look on both sides of the equation.  Anthropomorphizing? Yes, but with a point – and a very useful one.  Laughter is a way to get us outside our comfort zone – looking at ourselves, looking at others from a different place.  We mammals (and fish J) have more in common than we are usually willing to admit … and the about-face brings us closer to our connections.

Here’s an excerpt from Tom’s book “Bear”, giving us that “about-face” look:
“I’m a big, bad Alaskan brown bear and I get a little angry now and then. So shoot me. I don’t live in a fairy tale world where the worst thing that can happen is a smelly human eats my porridge and sleeps in my bed. I live in the real world. One day you’re walking down a trail smelling the flowers, the next your head’s hanging on a cabin wall and the humans are sitting on your butt in front of the fireplace.” 

Here’s a short excerpt from Tom’s book “Salmon”, showing off his skill for weaving in factual trivia -

“I’ve always been an emotional fish. My friends attribute my moods to my overly sensitive lateral lines, pores that run down my body from head to tail. These pores hook up with a canal under my skin that connects up with my brain, helping me sense minute disturbances and subtle movement. That’s how I can pick the best current, swim through murky water and maintain the tight formation of my school.
But I think my sensitivity has more to do with unresolved issues from my troubled childhood. My mother and father died when I was conceived. I lived under 6 inches of gravel in Chilkat Lake for 6 months before I emerged as a fry. I fought for a year with my 4000 brothers and sisters over cheap crustaceans and microscopic algae slop–green desmids, blue diatoms and blue-green dinoflagellates. I huddled in fear of swim-by killings when the Chars, a crazed fish gang high on zooplankton, would wipe out 90 of my siblings in one swallow.”

For a look at how Tom uses humor with great effect, here’s an excerpt from “Moose”:
“She walked into my office, all 800 pounds of sweet lean Alaskan moose sashaying my way. A light rust tint sparkled off her golden brown hair. She bent over, stripped a willow branch with her mouth and ate slow, like I wasn’t there. She looked up at me. Water lilies danced in the swampy ponds of her eyes.
“I’m Cervida and I’m missing my male.”
“I’ll bet he’s missing you, too.”
“That’s not what I mean. He’s missing. Gone.”
“How long has he been gone?”
“Three days.”
“That’s not long.”
“It is for one of my bulls. I tell my males when it’s time to be missing and when it’s time to be gone.”
“Look, you beautiful cow, you’re not here to give me a physical and this ain’t no restaurant. So, what can I do for you?”
“I hear you’re the best.”
“Best at what?”
“Finding things.”
“I’m not bad.”
“No, you’re not.”
She chewed the leaf slowly as we stood staring at each other.
“Are you free to find my male?”
“I ain’t free and I ain’t cheap.”
“Neither am I,” she said.
I stripped a branch from above me and chewed and stared while she chewed and stared back.
“Sure, Ms. Cervida–”
“Call me Vida.”
“Okay, Vida, I’ll graze around and see what I can find.”
I’m Al Gigas, moose detective. I’ve roamed the mean riverbeds of the Chilkat Valley for ten years and I’ve seen things no creature should ever see and I’ve seen creatures that will never see again. A missing moose is a bad sign but I didn’t mention that to Vida. She wasn’t the first ungulate to walk into my office looking for a loved one. I’ve had brothers looking for brothers, calves for mothers, mothers for calves. I find things, Vida was right about that. But what I find this time of year would be better if it stayed lost.
October was almost here.”

Enjoy a fun read, learn a lot, and support HCPC's work! 
- Danae Yurgel
  HCPC Office Administrator

July 2013 -- The Water Issue

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jul 11, 2013.

Wildlife Watchers Project Begins New Season

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.

Despite the uncertainties of weather and the persistence of lingering snow banks, Hells Canyon Preservation Council’s Wildlife Watchers Program is up and running for the 2013 field season.  

In a partnership with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, we’ve started the third season of documenting wildlife using motion-triggered wildlife cameras.  We are particularly interested in finding the American marten (“pine marten”) which is considered a management indicator species by the Forest Service.  After scouting out a variety of forested areas, we installed cameras in locations showing the best characteristics for marten habitat. To attract martens to the cameras, we apply a smelly, gooey substance known as marten lure.  This year, we are also hoping to entice martens to the cameras by placing chicken meat inside metal tubes cabled to a tree.  The tubes are large enough for a marten to crawl in but too small for bears and ravens to be able to access the bait.

Even though summer is officially here, the snow banks live on in the high country.  Moss Springs is above Cove, Oregon and sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level. When we drove there this year in mid-June, the snow was gone.  But as we drove north from Moss Springs toward Point Prominence and gained a bit of elevation, we soon hit snow.   It was deep enough to warrant turning around the four-wheel drive pickup while we still had the chance.  A week later, about three inches of new snow fell near the 7,000 foot level in the local mountains, just a couple of days before the Summer Solstice. Still, the weather forecasts predict 90 degree days before the end of June.

Welcome to early summer in the Blue Mountains.

After turning back to avoid the snow, we circled back and approached the area from lower elevation in the Indian Creek drainage.  We located suitable spots for the cameras and got them set up to start another season of sampling.

In 2011, the Wildlife Watchers photographed martens in the Elkhorn Mountains and also in the Mount Emily area.  In 2012, we sampled the Castle Ridge area between the Grande Ronde Valley and the Eagle Cap Wilderness boundary.  Surprisingly, we did not capture any photos of American martens there.  Interestingly, however, another old growth associated species, the northern flying squirrel was detected at almost 50% of the camera stations.     

This year, we returned to the Castle Ridge area, and are now sampling in new and different places.  We are also targeting areas where marten tracks were recorded in the past.  We hiked deeper into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area and installed cameras in some forested areas showing habitat characteristics that martens typically utilize.  We are also interested in the possibility that we may catch a photograph of wolverines or wolves moving from the Wilderness into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.

HCPC appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank  our funding partners - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Mazamasand Patagonia. Stay tuned for more reports!   

- Brian Kelly
  HCPC Restoration Director       

June 2013 - "Your Share" E-newsletter

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jun 18, 2013.

Finding Common Ground on Eastern Oregon Forests

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 29, 2013.

The following letter was published as a guest editorial in the La Grande Observer newspaper:
Finding Common Ground On Eastern Oregon Forests

Oregon’s public forests provide an tremendous variety of benefits to our state; they  protect our air and water, provide core habitat for fish and wildlife, offer recreation opportunities, and support the economic health of surrounding communities. Oregon’s forests also provide a special, uniquely Oregon quality of life that we all hope remains intact for generations to come.

Unfortunately, how to best manage these public lands is often a source of conflict.  This is especially true when the Forest Service pursues poorly designed timber sales, like the Snow Basin logging project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon.

After a century of short-sighted management decisions, our east side forests are at a crossroads. Fire suppression and logging practices of the past have created forests significantly removed from what nature intended.  Most of our old growth trees — those most resilient to fire — have already been logged, and a tangle of roads fragment our wildlife habitat.

The good news is conservation groups like Oregon Wild and Hells Canyon Preservation Council are successfully working with other forest stakeholders, including elected officials, landowners and the timber industry, to design logging projects which support rural economies while reducing the risk of fire, and protecting the remaining old trees and un-roaded wildlands on our forests.  This common sense approach of working together to restore forests and watersheds has gained support in recent years, and is leading to enhanced trust and agreement, less controversial projects, and more forest and watershed restoration work getting done.

Unfortunately, the Snow Basin project is an example of a logging sale which fails to build on this common ground.  Instead of focusing on thinning dry forest stands and reducing the risk of fire to homes and communities, the Forest Service has chosen to rush forward with a plan that includes logging in fragile, high elevation moist forests where fire risks are low and science demonstrates intensive logging is not appropriate.  Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

Now is the time to be far-sighted in our actions.  Advancing projects which strengthen local economies and forest health depends on all stakeholders working together and using science as our guide.  We must site logging projects in areas where they do not compromise the forest’s ability to respond to a changing climate, survive high-intensity fires, and support fish and wildlife.  There may be room to increase the pace and scale of restoration-based thinning in east side forests, but we must avoid the mistakes made with Snow Basin.  Any increase in logging must go hand and hand with increased protection for important environmental values.

Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

Veronica Warnock, Conservation Director
Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Steve Pedery, Conservation Director
Oregon Wild

Your phone's last call should be to a recycler

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

The Oregonian covers cell phone recycling. Did you know that EarthShare can help you recycle your cell phones at work? Read on to find out more.

Biophilia: This is Your Brain on Nature

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

Studies and articles abound showing the positive effects of natural settings on the human mind and body.

Your Share - April 2013

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

Burgerville Rocks!, Meet our Newest Charities & More!

Your Share - May 2013

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

Plastic recycling changes in the Metro area, the best hikes & lots of spring inspiration!

Burgerville Employees Pledge $22,000 to EarthShare Member Groups

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 26, 2013.

Burgerville employees give generously to environmental nonprofits during their Spring workplace giving campaign.

News & Press

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

Get the latest updates from EarthShare and our members.

EarthShare Oregon welcomes seven new member groups

By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

Oregon’s environmental federation expands to offer more choices for employee engagement.

Charles Jones Remembers Jack Barry

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 06, 2013.

Dear Conservationists,

On Christmas evening, at his home in La Grande, Jack Barry, 87, died. With him were wife Lois, family and friends.

Jack was among the early HCPC founders, primarily a bunch of Idaho Falls (Arco) nuclear engineers who couldn't abide the thought of the proposed dam in Hells Canyon (Brock can provide more background on Jack's early involvement.)

I met Jack shortly after arriving in La Grande in 1974. He had left the nuclear industry. Lois was hired by Eastern Oregon University becoming a much respected, loved and admired English professor -- one known to never suffer inept administrators gladly.

If anyone embodied a mad-dog environmentalist, it was Jack. He was fearless, persistent, relentless. He brought a much needed brand of obnoxiousness to countless public hearings, often the perfect antidote for public officials cowered by a bunch of burly loggers and industry hacks.

At a Hatfield Senate wilderness hearing in La Grande, Jack, exercising First Amendment rights to the hilt, failed to act with expected propriety to St. Mark. The La Grande police hauled him out of the auditorium, threw him up against the foyer wall, handcuffed him, and hauled him in. Jack (without a lawyer, but with much help from Lois) sued the police and received a very substantial out of court settlement from the city.

Probably a dozen years ago, HCPC honored six venerable NE Oregon conservations, stalwart defenders of our lands and heritage, at a large banquet. Jack, Loren Hughes, Bill Obertauffer, Bill Brown were among them. The speeches on behalf of Jack were the highlight. No one was ever a better recipient of hilarious roasts and toasts as the inimitable Mr. John Barry.

As ferocious (and admittedly, at times, trying) as Jack could be in public hearings or HCPC board meetings, he was absolutely the sweetest and most gracious host or guest in any social gathering or random rendezvous. He was always interested in your doings, your life, and your well-being. He met you with a smile and left you with a laugh. You loved to meet him on the street or in the store. Jack was always interesting. Jack was fun. He was a peach of a guy.

I'm quite sure I will never meet another Jack Barry. That saddens me.

HCPC is proud to have Charles Jones on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors

Green Your Camping Trips!

By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Mar 05, 2013.

Here are our green tips for making the most of your outdoor experience, while taking care to leave a healthy environment when you pack up and head home.

Remembering Beginnings: Brock Evans on HCPC History

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 27, 2013.

My personal recollections are that the HCPC was founded in 1967... same year as I was appointed to be the Sierra Club's and Federation of Western Outdoor Club's Northwest representative (March). I believe my first meeting with them (about September, 1967), referring to their "new" formation, is in my archives at the University of Washington Library.

Although there had certainly been opposition to Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hell's Canyon dams before that time, it was not effective and except for perhaps the Idaho Wildlife Federation, not very well-organized. That doesn't mean that there weren't precursors (in the form of opposition to dams in Hells Canyon); it just means that no such entity as HCPC per se, existed.

So my understanding when I came upon the scene in 1967 was like your own, Charlie -- the dam(n) builders built the easiest Snake River ones first -- easier politically for Idaho Power as a "private company" as well as logistically... it was when they attempted a project that affected three states, that the "public power" people challenged them, here).

Many of our kind of people then were also rightly fearful of the proposed Nez Perce Dam, just a mile or so below the confluence of the Snake and the Salmon -- because it would have drowned out the Lower Salmon gorges too. Somewhere around that time, the two applicants shifted the proposed site to High Mountain Sheep, just upstream of that confluence, I recall.  Anyone who floats down the Snake past that original site now can still see those white-painted initials way way up: "PNPC, Pacific Northwest Power Company" -- the private boys.

Last time I saw that one, coming off the Salmon and floating (with Ric Bailey's crew) out onto the great living Snake, he pointed out those initials to us -- and everyone got goosebumps. My own heart leapt, jumped for joy, that that is all that was left of such a monstrous river-destroying venture -- those initials, 5-600 feet above us.

I imagined then, with a shudder -- if that dam had been built, no one ever again would know what this place was like... instead of the songs of the canyon wrens, the grand play of early-morning
light and shadow on the cliffs, the murmur and tugs of a great living river at our boats, we instead would have all been in diving suits in the gloom of 500 feet of deadness above us. 

Someday, when everything else is safe and saved, I suggest we seek to preserve those initials -- as a kind of National Monument -- a memorial to the love, passion, and courage of our small bands, willing to stand and fight for it all, despite all the money and political power on the other side..

My first connection with the issue came in May 1967, while attending the meeting of the ExCom of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Sierra Club (then comprising all the SC members in the four NW states -- things were so tenuous and so much smaller in those times), on Hood Canal, WA. To this meeting came one Floyd Harvey, river boat operator from Lewiston. He asked the Sierra Club for help, and I was directed -- "look into this Brock," etc.

I was very gloomy because, from my previous law practice, I knew that the legal case -- of WHO got to build the new dam, public or private power, was before the Supreme Court -- and it was the only issue -- who, not whether.  So, what could be done at this late date, when all seemed so, well, impossible? Remember there were no environmental laws at all then, no NEPA, no ESA, no nuthin'.

I have told the story before (in the Falcon, some years back), but I had not yet heard anything about any specific organization like HCPC dedicated to fighting this dam, which may only mean that my information wasn't very good. And I hadn't yet visited Idaho, part of my "territory." I know i would have certainly tried to contact them had I known, even though the legal situation seemed like grasping for straws. Remember, other Idaho stalwarts had just lost the battle over Dworshak Dam on the Clearwater, not to mention Hells Canyon, Oxbow, etc.

In those days, it was dam builder heaven wherever there still existed a free-flowing stretch of river... just as it was logger's heaven, wherever there were big trees.

So I was gloomy, depressed about that directive, to "investigate and do something about it..." Then in early June I noticed a short paragraph in my daily copy of the Lewiston Tribune, to the effect that Justice Wm. O Douglas had somehow persuaded his colleagues that "we cannot decide the issue of who gets to build this proposed dam until we first decide whether it is in the public interest to license any dam at all here..."Or words -- such wonderful words! to that effect.

Heresy! The dam-building juggernaut was in full force across the whole Northwest at the time; the idea of any dammable river being allowed to flow free was utter heresy -- nonsense.

But here was an opportunity, a tiny opening -- for us, at last, to DO something!... and not to belabor the story here, I filed a Petition of Intervention before the Federal Power Commission, and much to the disgust and disdain of the dam builders we were accepted into the case that September. While I was preparing the legal documents (July-August), I tried to find plaintiffs who would have some credibility, both within the court, and also in the public arena -- for we all knew that the legal action was just a precious delay... it was in the public/political forum where we would have to finally save it...  if we could. I couldn't file such a case in my own name.

The problem was that then, in those far-off times, enviro legal actions were little understood. I had to explain to the Presidents of the Sierra Club and FWOC what a plaintiff was! And had to have someone from Idaho, to satisfy the local credibility question.. But that summer, not yet having heard of HCPC, the only group I knew of from the state who would likely respond was the Idaho Alpine Club, based in Idaho Falls. They signed on too, that August.

As things grew more and more serious, and it looked like we just might have a chance to build a real campaign, I thought to myself -- "I'd better get over there and have a look." So I first visited the Canyon in early September, was stunned by the beauty and magnificence of the place. And it was around that time that I believe I met some folks from what they told me was the newly-formed HCPC... probably including Jack, Jim Campbell, Jerry Jayne, Russ Mager, Pete Henault... all of whom, and so many more over the years -- Russ Brown, Boyd Norton, come to mind, Ken Witty... and of course Jack, a lion of a man always out front whenever the issue was raised -- assumed the grassroots political leadership, on the ground, which was so crucial to our final successes in the 70s. Especially re Congressman Al Ullman, Senator Frank Church, and Bob Packwood... and neutralizing Senators Len Jordan and Mark Hatfield.  What a grand bunch of comrades to have by anyone's side, I have always felt. 

Those were very hot and heavy times, especially in Eastern OR, where no one will be surprised to know that dam-building sentiment was higher there than anywhere else. So it took really brave people, like Jack, Ken Witty, Carmelita Holland, bless them every one, to stand up and be counted in those scary times. 

And as it turned out, those same leaders of the Idaho Alpine Club who signed my Petition of Intervention turned out to be the very core, the heart and soul of the HCPC which they had just formed, too! One of the finest and happiest results in all my campaigning experiences.

So that's my recollection of how it all began in my memory. Whatever there may have been before, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council came to be in 1967 as I have always understood it, from working with those on the ground in those times. It's possible that my archives on the Hells Canyon struggle, housed in the University of Washington Library's Special Collections, may shed more light on the matter.

Sorry for such a long tome, but I felt that some of you would enjoy the context.
Best wishes, Brock

HCPC is proud to have Brock Evans on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors

"We all do better when we all do better" - EarthShare Oregon

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 14, 2013.

"We all do better when we all do better."
I love that quote, which I first heard from populist philosopher Jim Hightower. I think of that wisdom when we ask how to be effective in a world with so many challenges. Another way of thinking of it is "How do we love all children, of all species, for all time?" (a quote I heard on the E2 program on OPB).   
One of the great answers to that is beautifully illustrated in the children's book "Swimmy" - a simple idea - join together.
HCPC is proud to be a member of EarthShare Oregon - a joint effort by a broad range of Oregon's environmental groups.  Read about EarthShare Oregon on their website.
You can support HCPC and the other members of EarthShare Oregon by bringing EarthShare into your workplace (see below).
Imagine this beautiful, amazing and awe-inspiring earth we all love singing, in the words of classic R&R "Come together - right now - over me!"

Wishing you all a cozy Valentine's Day
      with lots of togetherness,
Office Administrator
Hells Canyon Preservation Council  

Call on EarthShare for help with your office’s Green Team
 Do you work for a company that has a Green Team or Sustainability Committee?  Many Pacific Northwest employers have these squads of employees who are committed to improving their workplace’s environmental performance, and making the lives of all employees greener.  But once the recycling center is set up, and the copier paper has been switched to a recycled content, what can these groups do to keep sustainability in the forefront?
EarthShare Oregon can help employers with this common problem. Its dozens of local member charities work on everything from bicycle commuting to renewable power generation. Through EarthShare, these nonprofits can help your company’s green team explore new sustainability avenues. 
Contact Meghan Humphreys at EarthShare Oregon (503-223-9015) or to discuss potential topics for your office’s upcoming Green Team meetings.


Jack Barry - Visionary Voice 1925 - 2012

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 04, 2013.

We at HCPC are grieving the loss of one of the visionaries who founded the organization to prevent further damming of the Snake River back in the mid-60s. Jack Barry passed away on Christmas evening following a lovely dinner with family and friends.  We are going to sorely miss his keen insight and wit. 

The obituary below was written by his wife Lois Barry:

John E. (Jack) Barry was born in Boston, 5 March 1925 to Gertrude French Barry and Walter J. Barry. He died suddenly at home on December 25.   During WW II he proudly served in General Patton’s 3rd Army, fighting through France, Germany and Austria til the war’s end. After graduating from Middlebury College, with the remainder of his GI Bill, he enrolled at the University of Innsbruck, Austria where he studied math but “majored in skiing.” Inspired by Richard Halliburton’s Royal Road to Romance, Jack became a life-long adventure traveler. During one spring break he and two friends rode their 3-speed bikes from Innsbruck, to Cairo, Egypt where he climbed the Great Pyramid at Cheops.

Reluctant to leave Europe, Jack worked in Heidelberg, Germany for the U.S. Army Education program, where he met Lois Andrews. They married in Heidelberg in 1953. After their return to the U.S., Jack worked on jet engine noise suppression at Boeing in Seattle, experimental engine programs for Beech Aircraft in Boulder, the earliest satellite communication systems for Telecomputing in Alamogordo and Philco in Palo Alto, and nuclear reactor testing for Phillips outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho where Jack and a small group of fellow scientists  formed the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in 1967 to prevent construction of further dams on the Snake River.

In 1967, never a “company man,” Jack decided to leave industry. With teaching certificates, he and Lois searched the Pacific Northwest for a perfect spot to raise their children. For a poor kid who grew up selling papers on the streets of Boston, purchasing 150 acres on the Morgan Lake Road in La Grande was a dream come true. The family immediately acquired two horses, a pony, three pigs, two steers and a hundred chickens. Soon Jack was active in successful efforts to prevent old-growth logging on the Minam and a proposed dam on Catherine Creek. Eventually Jack purchased and preserved 1,000 beautiful forested acres in Oregon.

After teaching science and math in local schools, it was time for adventure. In 1972, Jack and Lois packed up the family for two years of teaching at the American School in Tehran, Iran. As chair of the math department, Jack arranged for school buses to take students to the opera, “an important part of students’ education.” Ever a gypsy, he drove the family’s VW bus 5,000 miles in the Middle East where they camped out in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Pakistan, then drove and camped from Tehran to Copenhagen and back to Amsterdam for their return to the U.S.

While they were in Iran, a forest fire burned the family home. Using a quick sketch on a piece of notebook paper, Jack and his sons built a new house on the Morgan Lake Road. His mantras, depending on the situation, were “Everything is Transcendental” and “Attitude is Everything.”

Jack never made a reservation, often picking locations because their names (like Krk and Ybbs) interested him. He and Lois enjoyed camping all over the Western United States and Canada, and travels to Nepal, Bali, Egypt, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as frequent trips to visit friends in Europe. They also visited Newfoundland where his mother’s home place at French’s Cove is now a national historic site. There he was pleased to learn that he might be descended from pirates, which explained his love of "messing about in boats."

Jack is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter, Kimberley Barry (Ashland), sons Brian Barry (Bend) and Peter Barry (Joseph), and his very special grandson, Kai Barry (Bend). Jack was a man of strong and consistent opinions. A committed environmentalist and unapologetic Democrat, he liked “old stuff,” especially books, and was ever curious and alive to the world. He never met a dog he didn’t like and --like Mark Twain -- looked forward to meeting his dogs (22 who adopted him over a lifetime) in their heaven. His legacy, joy in the moment and love of the natural world, is shared by his family and friends. A celebration of Jack’s life will be held in mid-June when the wild-flowers are in bloom on the Morgan Lake Road.

The Dawn of Dam Removal

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 06, 2012.

In honor of HCPC's inception, winning the fight to stop the final damming of the Snake River in Hells Canyon, we bring you an essay by former Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbit.

The Dawn of Dam Removal

Bruce Babbitt
Early Fall 2012

When I began considering dam removal, the Elwha River quickly emerged at the top of my list. The river flows through the heart of Olympic National Park. It once hosted the most prolific salmon runs in the Northwest. And the tiny amount of electricity from the dams could easily be replaced from other sources.

I went to the Olympic Peninsula to take a look. Sure enough, it seemed the perfect place to begin. The two dams down near the mouth of the river appeared completely out of place in the splendor of the great old-growth forests. I convened a press conference to announce a new era of dam removal, beginning here at the Elwha River.

And then all hell broke loose. Washington State’s senior senator angrily condemned the idea, vowing, as ranking member of the Department of Interior Appropriations Committee, to put an end to such nonsense. Other members of the congressional delegation chimed in, in opposition. Newspaper editorials ridiculed the plan.

A few weeks later President Clinton took me aside, looking somewhat bemused, and asked, “Bruce, what is all this stuff about tearing down dams?”  His innocent-sounding question was really a cautionary admonition. Our administration was already caught up in a bitter and politically costly controversy over the spotted owl and logging of old-growth forests in the Northwest. Friends reminded me that cabinet secretaries who stir up too much controversy can and do lose their jobs. The Elwha project would have to go on the back burner for a while.

That public opinion was flooding in against us was hardly surprising. Back then, tearing down dams to restore rivers seemed a capricious idea dreamed up by another meddling bureaucrat. Why tear down perfectly good dams?

We quietly set about rebuilding our case. Within the Department of the Interior we began preparing an environmental impact statement loaded with cost estimates, hydrologic computations, sediment studies, fish mortality statistics and regional economic impacts. However, of all the arguments thrown up against dam removal, the most effective was simply, “It won’t work. The salmon have been gone for a hundred years. What makes you think they’ll return?”

Somehow, somewhere, we had to demonstrate that fish do come back. We needed to show and tell – with a small dam, built within recent memory, surrounded by a friendly community that actually remembered the fish runs and their importance to the community.

And finally we found a candidate, at the other end of the country on a little-known river on the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. 

It turned out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was already quietly at work on the Neuse River where a small diversion dam built in 1952 near the mouth had killed off one of the most prolific spawning runs of American shad, herring and stripers on the Atlantic Coast. A power company had built the Quaker Neck Dam to draw water for cooling, and it was perfectly feasible to design an alternate intake method.

On a clear winter day in 1997, we assembled on the river bank. I took a few swings at the concrete with a sledgehammer, and a wrecking ball finished the job. By springtime, fish were swarming up the river, passing through Raleigh 70 miles upstream.

The success at Quaker Neck brought national press and began to turn public opinion. Across the country local communities came up with proposals, and dams began to come down – at Kennebec in Maine, along the Baraboo River in Wisconsin, the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Butte and Clear Creeks in California.
With public opinion now moving our way, nationally and in the Northwest, we ratcheted up our efforts in Congress to finish off the Elwha dams. Slowly, at what seemed a glacial pace, funding started to flow, finally coming to fruition in the Obama administration.

In the space of two decades, dam removal has evolved from a novelty to an accepted means of river restoration. Most importantly, the concept has taken root in hundreds of local communities as residents rediscover their rivers, their history, and the potential not only to restore natural systems, but, in the process, to renew their communities as well.

I am asked, “After Elwha, what is your next priority?” That’s like asking, “What is my favorite national park?” My answer tends to vary depending on what I have been reading and where I have been hiking most recently. But my nomination would be the four dams – Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite – that have transformed the great Snake River in western Washington into a slack-water barge channel, destroying thousands of miles of salmon habitat in the Rocky Mountains and driving four salmon species to the brink of extinction.

Others will have their own compelling priorities – and there are still 75,000 dams for consideration.

Circling back to Wallowa County with HCPC

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 20, 2012.

After three wonderful years in La Grande, I recently moved back to Wallowa County for the summer. Now that I’m back, it’s very rewarding to see the many ways that HCPC’s work, past and present, helps to improve the lives of many people here in Wallowa County.

I recently bumped into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen for about three years on the streets of Joseph. I used to work for him when I was a naturalist/guide for Wallowa Resources Elderhostel program some years back. We were catching up and he told me that he was working as a Wilderness Ranger in the Eagle Cap and was on his way up to check Wilderness signs at a few remote trailheads. I knew that HCPC had been able to direct some money to the Forest Service in order to fund a Wilderness Ranger position in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. If you like that kind of work, it’s hard to find a better job.

There used to be a lot more Wilderness Rangers than there are today and they are sorely needed to help maintain trailheads, clear trails, and to help with restoration and invasive plant removal. HCPC was able to fund this position, with the potential to last for a decade, as a result of our settlement agreement on the Boardman Power Plant. The Boardman Power Plant burns coal and pollutes the skies of the Eagle Cap and Hells Canyon Wilderness areas, not to mention our own communities. I even heard that mercury has been found in the fish in some high elevation Wilderness lakes. HCPC’s work has helped to result in a reduction and eventual stop to this coal-burning plant’s pollution of our environment, while leveraging good jobs in our community.

It’s very inspiring and eye-opening to see how HCPC’s historic work of preventing the damming of Hells Canyon continues to change lives and create new opportunities for people. Some of my neighbors are hard at work this time of year guiding dozens and dozens of people down the areas many beautiful rivers. It amazes me to think of all the sustainable jobs generated through the rafting industry, and all the people that connect with the awesome Hells Canyon ecosystem by floating through it on the Snake River. And the river rafting industry seems more vibrant today than ever, attesting to the sustainability of rafting and the desire of people to be out in nature.

The fundamental accomplishment of saving Hells Canyon forever changed Wallowa County and it’s nowhere more evident than in the composition of the local communities. I know many of these remarkable people would not be in Wallowa County today were it not for the work of HCPC. I am really thankful that they are here.

David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

HCPC welcomes summer intern Joshua Axelrod

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 08, 2012.

My family moved to La Grande in the late summer heat of 1988, rounding the bend out of Ladd Canyon and catching our first glimpse of Mt. Emily’s iconic profile dominating the distance.  Though my parents were moving to take jobs at EOSC, it was our first time in Eastern Oregon, our weary eyes looking out across the Grande Ronde Valley at the end of a cross-country adventure that took us from the rolling, humid hills of Southern Ohio, across the Great Plains, over the Rockies, and into a piece of the world we had yet to know.  Over the next 13 years, I came to know and love the hills and mountains of Eastern Oregon in ways I cannot imagine knowing any other place.  Spring was spent wandering in search of morels, summer was spent discovering the high places deep within the Wallowa Mountains or tramping through the woods in search of the ever-elusive “large” huckleberry, in fall we waited for the snow, and in the winter we slid around on skis through the silent, frozen woods near Spout Springs, around Anthony Lakes, and near Salt Creek Summit.  By the time I graduated from LHS in 2001, Eastern Oregon had left a deep imprint on my understanding and view of the world.  It had instilled in me a deep desire to protect the natural world so that future generations might be able confront it with the same sense of wonder that all of us who grew up with the Blue Mountains out our backdoor were able to do without even realizing what a gift we had so easily within our reach.

Josh (red bandana) and his dad crossing a snow bridge above Hurricane Creek, July 2011.
After high school, I spent four formative years at Middlebury College in central Vermont.  There, surrounded by the entirely different beauty of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks looming just across Lake Champlain, my feelings about the importance of preserving the few remaining wild places left in this world occupied more and more of my thinking. Since that time, life has taken me back to Oregon where I lived and worked in Portland for two years, back across the country to Boston where I lived and worked for three years, and finally, south to Washington, DC where my wife and I decided to take the graduate school plunge together.

Josh (right), his younger brother Ezra, and his dad in the hills above La Grande, Christmas 2011.
At the Washington College of Law at American University, I am trying my best to honor my rationale for returning to school to pursue my legal degree.  I am a member of the editorial board of the Sustainable Development Law and Policy publication, a member of the Environmental Law Society, and hope to continue to focus my studies on environmental law and policy.  It is hard to believe that my legal pursuits have brought me back to Eastern Oregon to spend the summer as a legal intern with the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, but I suppose life is full of these wonderfully unexpected twists and turns.  This is the first professional experience I have ever had in a place that I feel a passionate connection to, and I hope that in the next two months I am able to make a positive and substantial contribution to HCPC’s ongoing conservation efforts in what is truly one of the most remarkable corners of the world.

HCPC and Allies Await Approval for a Settlement Agreement Requiring DEQ to Re-Examine Controversial Mining Practice

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 25, 2012.

In the spring of 2010, we urged our members to comment on the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) new draft permit for regulating suction dredge mining throughout Oregon (the "700PM permit"). A suction dredge is a gasoline-powered vacuum attached to a floating sluice box. Miners use the vacuum to suck up the bottom of streams and rivers and run sediment through the sluice to filter out gold and then dump the sediment back into the stream.

Fishermen and clean water advocates are concerned about the negative effects suction dredge mining can have on fish and aquatic habitat quality.  This mining practice kills fish eggs and offspring thereby reducing fish spawning success, deposits fine sediment on stream bottoms, mobilizes toxic heavy metals and harms macro-invertebrate communities that are an essential part of the aquatic food web.

Because of these negative impacts, HCPC joined a coalition of other conservation groups in January 2011 to challenge DEQ's final 700PM permit in state court for violating state and federal water quality laws.  Over the past several months, however, our coalition has been working to secure a settlement agreement with DEQ that would allow us to dismiss our lawsuit by requiring the agency to re-open the discussion about this controversial mining practice to the public. 
Last week we reached such an agreement.  If approved by the Court, our settlement would require DEQ to robustly examine ways to revise the 700PM permit to ensure compliance with water quality laws and adequately protect fish and their habitat.  Unfortunately, the Eastern Oregon Miners' Association, which intervened as a party to the lawsuit, filed questionable motions that are delaying and threaten to interfere with the Court's approval of our agreement.  We're hopeful these motions can be resolved shortly so we can continue moving forward.

Oregon’s statewide Clean Water Act permits are usually renewed on a five-year basis. The next version of the suction dredging permit should be finalized by July 2014. The settlement agreement outlines a stakeholder process beginning in December 2012 to initiate the next permit renewal.  Based on the settlement, the permit renewal process will consider prohibited areas based on water pollution, fish habitat and specially designated areas, whether to require annual reports and the cost of this activity to the state, among other items. 

The number of suction dredges in Oregon has increased dramatically in recent years.  Permits from the Department of State Lands (DSL) have increased nearly 300% from 656 in 2007 to 2,209 in 2011. DEQ permit registrations in the last two years also show that nearly 30% of suction dredge miners are coming from other states to mine Oregon’s streams and rivers.  This likely includes a sizable number of out-of-state miners that used to go to California to dredge before our neighboring state put a dredging moratorium in place until 2016.  This trend is a serious threat to our streams, rivers and fisheries.

Plaintiffs in this case were represented by the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center ("PEAC").  HCPC's co-plaintiffs include the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Rogue Riverkeeper, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Oregon Coast Alliance and Oregon Wild.

Of Killdeer, Camas, and the Travel Management Plan

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 21, 2012.

I recently worked with a volunteer from the Birdathon, printing small photos of habitat for kids to use in one of the hands-on learning projects Birdathon volunteers offer.  I started thinking about habitat - that conjunction of space/food/water/shelter/structure that allows a species to live there.

It's hard not to notice the killdeer trying to occupy the gravel right-of-way along a back road.  They can't nest there, between the tires and the cats and dogs and horses and bicycles.  The seasonally scrubbed gravel beds along and in the river are mostly gone.  I sometimes fantasize that we could take all the flat roofs on the downtown buildings, add a shallow gravel layer with a little silt for occasional native grasses, and create some of the nesting area that is now subdivisions and streets and straight narrow ditches.  It would take creativity and commitment and a great deal of buy-in from people who probably mostly don't care about the nesting needs of killdeer. 

It would have been so much easier to keep a few gravel ridges and sandbars along the river and major creeks, instead of subverting the natural riverine shapes and patterns to the straight and narrow of the Army Corps of Engineers.  Human convenience, thoughtlessness and arrogance trumped the needs of other species.   It would now take a great deal of money and time and effort to rebuild one gravel ridge or sandbar.  

One of the reasons I support HCPC is that it works to protect the places that do still exist - public lands where wildlife can still find the habitat they need, knowing that it is so much more reasonable (and affordable)  to preserve than to have to rebuild.  And HCPC works to rebuild and restore habitat as well, knowing that we need to repair damage that has been done.  

This is clear in the recent Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  I'm so proud of HCPC advocating for the protection of elk calving grounds from motorized disturbance, for the protection of high wet meadows from destructive and careless cross-country rutting by off-roaders, for the protection of roadless areas from new roads, and for the closure of excess old roads that were supposed to be closed down a decade ago.   

I recently followed the Mt. Emily Road, looking for wildflowers and enjoying the abundance of blooms and silence and birdsong.   It didn't take long though before I saw the terrible damage left by off-road vehicles tearing across a wet meadow.  The ruts were deep, hard set, and showed as dark brown scars bereft of any green in the midst of wildflowers.    In another case the damage went straight up a steep hillside that was now eroding badly.  There were roads around, a LOT of roads - going off both sides from the Mt. Emily road.  There was no need to go where these ruts went, in one case just cutting a corner between the main road and another side road.   

I started thinking about how long it would take for those ruts to heal.  Since we can still see the ruts from wagon wheels over 100 years ago, without our help such wounds last a long time.  Wouldn't it be better not to make them in the first place?     


Wild Places, Roads and Freedom

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 13, 2012.

From the edge of the road:  Looking into the roadless.  Photo by Brian Kelly

It’s been pretty noisy around northeast Oregon lately.  As the US Forest Service tries to deal with motorized use of public lands, objections have been heard from people who have become accustomed to being able to drive just about anywhere they please.  The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has more than nine thousand miles of roads, many of them left over from old logging projects.  Over much of the National Forest, you are currently allowed to drive off the roads and across country if you feel like it.

Some folks seem to view the Forest Service travel planning process as a restriction of their freedom and access to public lands.  Of course, when four-wheel-drive vehicles and ATVs drive unrestricted across the landscape then wildlife habitat is degraded, water quality suffers and weeds spread across the countryside.  The peaceful beauty that people seek on public wild lands can become diminished by the impacts of the users.

What about our freedom?  Well, two of America’s greatest conservationists wrote about freedom in describing their relationship with the natural world.

“What avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?”

Aldo Leopold wrote these powerful words.  While of course we all need roads to access wild places, at a certain point the presence of a road itself diminishes the very character of the wild place that we seek.  The place where the road ends and the blank spot begins is a special place indeed.   You will find wildlife, old forests, and clean waters when you find the blank spots on the map.

Here are the words of John Muir:

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Following his description of freedom in the mountains, John Muir added this next sentence:

“As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.”

It’s striking to me that rather than complaining about not being allowed to drive a Model T Ford across the forest as he grew older, John Muir chose to rejoice in the enjoyment of nature.

He was a very wise man and a free man as well.

~Brian Kelly

Analysis confirms Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan Decision leaves plenty of access

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 07, 2012.

It is very important that we use this pause in the Travel Plan Process to better understand what the now withdrawn Decision would have actually done. One of the most common claims put forth against the Travel Plan Decision was that the Forest Service was taking away access to the Forest. Some even claimed that the Forest Service was using the Travel Plan to “lock them out” of the National Forest.

If there were any truth to these claims, HCPC would be very concerned. How are people supposed to cultivate the life-long connections to the National Forestlands that are ultimately necessary to encourage and advocate for better stewardship of these ecosystems, if people can’t connect with them in the first place? So let’s take a close look and see for ourselves what this Decision would do.

With our partners, we performed a GIS analysis based on the Selected Alternative Layer (i.e. the now withdrawn Decision). All open motor vehicle roads and trails are mapped in red. We put a one-mile buffer around all open motor vehicle roads and trails so we could visually see how many places on the National Forest could be accessed in less than one-miles distance from the nearest road, a modest distance. These areas are mapped in grey. If an area is further than one mile from a road, it is mapped in light green. Wilderness is in dark green.

The results graphically illustrate that outside Wilderness areas, nearly the entire National Forest is within one mile of a road. The few small islands that are further than one-mile from a road are usually inside Inventoried Roadless Areas (mapped in black crosshatch). These are very small islands, and based on a visual assessment, it appears that the Decision would not leave anywhere outside designated Wilderness further than two miles from an open road. It’s important to note that the map does not show the areas within Wilderness areas that are less than one-mile from a road. If it did, you could see that much of the North Fork John Day Wilderness would be grey color, and a surprisingly large part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness as well.

These results clearly show that the Forest Service strived to provide very widespread access to the entire Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in their Travel Plan Decision. In our opinion, the Decision did not go far enough to protect roadless areas, old growth forests, critical elk habitat areas, and fragile aquatic environments from the damages of motorized vehicles. We encourage the Forest Service to use this opportunity to strengthen the Travel Plan in these key natural resource areas.

As HCPC stated in our press release on the withdrawal of the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan, and as is clearly illustrated in the analysis above, there is no validity in the claims that people will no longer have access to the Forest. Moreover, the Travel Plan is not just about access, but also about protection of natural resources and the costs of maintaining the designated road system. As I stated in my editorial
(, what’s really at stake is the quality of the National Forest's we will be accessing.

David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

Of Truth and Boots

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Apr 16, 2012.

Wow. Been a very long week. Hard not to talk about the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan, with all the terrible misinformation going around. Reminds me of the saying that a lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.
Truth and facts seem to be badly outnumbered by imagined outrages and fictional claims.
For the record:
No, logging will not be shut down by the Travel Plan - it will not be hampered by this Decision.
No, the forest will not be locked away - over 4,000 miles of roads will remain open.
No, the process of reaching this Decision did not shut out the public - it involved years of public participation and comments.
No, the process does not ignore different viewpoints - the Travel Plan includes new trails for off road vehicles (as much as I don't want that).
No, not all "locals" are against it. I'm local and I'm for an even stronger Travel Management Plan.
No, the Wallowa-Whitman is not a county or even a state forest - it is a National forest, held in trust not just for us locals, but for the nation; not just for this generation, but for the future as well.

The Travel Plan Decision is a compromise that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders with a moderate response to the need for travel management. It will close down some roads - mostly old, overgrown, eroded, or duplicate roads that would be too expensive to repair. It does include some protection for much-needed wildlife "security habitat" and some protection for streams with runs of native fish.

The Travel Plan doesn't go nearly as far as it needs to for wildlife, fisheries, and native plants. Still, I accept that both science and politics are at play, and the Forest Service has done the best it can to respond to all interests.

What I do not accept is the false portrayals of the issues that I see and hear in almost all venues, from town halls to local papers to neighborhood gossip.

Lies, even unintentional ones, do not make a good basis for decisions.

Now, on to the news that the seasonal progression of wildflowers is starting to unroll, bluebirds are back on Cricket Flats, and a sandhill crane was spotted out in the fields by Indian Creek (south of Elgin). Ospreys are back on the nest by Willow Creek and on Woodell Road, and curlews are in the fields north of La Grande.

Back to enjoying this wonderful place where we live -

Danae Yurgel

The Perverse Logic of Wolf Hunts

By (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 30, 2012.

The Predator Persecution Complex


The hysteria that surrounds wolf management in the Rockies has clouded rational discussion. Wolves are hardly a threat to either hunting opportunity or the livestock industry.


For instance, the Wyoming Fish and Game reports: “The Department continues to manage to reduce Wyoming’s elk numbers. The total population of the herds with estimates increased by 16 percent in 2009 and is now 29 percent above the statewide objective of 83,640 animals.”

Things are similar in Montana. Populations have grown from an estimated 89,000 animals in 1992 prior to wolf recovery to 140,000-150,000 animals in recent years.

In Idaho we find a similar trend. According to the IDFG 23 out of 29 elk units are at and/or above objective. Hunter success in 2011 was 20%: one in five hunters killed an elk.

Wolves are clearly not a threat to the future of hunting in any of these states.


Ranchers are equally irrational. In 2010 Wyoming livestock producers lost 41,000 cattle and calves due to weather, predators, digestive problems, respiratory issues, calving and other problems. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was 26 cattle and 33 sheep!

Last year Montana livestock producers lost more than 140,000 cattle and sheep to all causes. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was less than a hundred animals.

In 2010 Idaho cattle producers lost 93,000 animals to all causes. Respiratory problems were the largest cause accounting for 25.6 percent of the cattle lost. Next came digestive problems, accounting for 13.4 percent of the cattle deaths. Total cattle losses attributed to wolves was 75 animals.

To suggest that wolves are a threat to the livestock industry borders on absurdity.


Worse yet, the persecution of predators does not work to reduce even these minimum conflicts as most proponents of wolf control suggest.

The reason indiscriminate killing does not work is because it ignores the social ecology of predators. Wolves, cougars, and other predators are social animals. As such, any attempt to control them that does not consider their “social ecology” is likely to fail. Look at the century old war on coyotes—we kill them by the hundreds of thousands, yet ranchers continue to complain about how these predators are destroying their industry. And the usual response assumes that if we only kill a few more we’ll finally get the coyote population “under control.”

The problem with indiscriminate killing of predators whether coyotes, wolves, cougars or bears is that it creates social chaos. Wolves, in particular, learn how and where to hunt, and what to hunt from their elders. The older pack members help to raise the young. In heavily hunted (or trapped) wolf populations (or other predators), the average age is skewed towards younger age animals . Young wolves are like teenagers—bold, brash, and inexperienced. Wolf populations with a high percentage of young animals are much more likely to attack easy prey—like livestock and/or venture into places that an older, more experience animal might avoid—like the fringes of a town or someone’s backyard.

Furthermore, wolf packs that are continuously fragmented byhuman-caused mortality are less stable. They are less able to hold on to established territories which means they are often hunting in unfamiliar haunts and thus less able to find natural prey. Result : they are more likely to kill livestock.

Wolf packs that are hunted also tend to have fewer members. With fewer adults to hunt, and fewer adults to guard a recent kill against other scavengers, a small pack must actually kill more prey than a larger pack. Thus hunting wolves actually contributes to a higher net loss of elk and deer than if packs were left alone and more stable.

Finally hunting is just a lousy way to actually deal with individual problematic animals. Most hunting takes place on the large blocks of public land, not on the fringes of towns and/or on private ranches where the majority of conflicts occur. In fact, hunting often removes the very animals that have learned to avoid human conflicts and pose no threat to livestock producers or human safety. By indiscriminately removing such animals which would otherwise maintain the territory, hunting creates a void that, often as not, may be filled by a pack of younger, inexperienced animals that could and do cause conflicts.


We need a different paradigm for predator management than brute force. As Albert Einstein noted, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unfortunately insanity has replaced rational thought when it comes to wolf management.

George Wuerthner is an ecologist with among others, a degree in wildlife biology, and is a former Montana hunting guide. He has published 35 books.


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Publication Date: 
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As important as energy is to our economy and quality of life, it isn't surprising that energy issues are in the news on a daily basis these days. Dependence on foreign energy suppliers and on fossil fuels - which contribute to climate change - is not a strategy that is sustainable for our needs. Ultimately, a clean, secure, homegrown energy future will be needed to revitalize our economy and sustain us for the long-term.
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