The U.S. Forest Service, in a written statement released on Wednesday (1-12-21), announced that it was abandoning its plan to log along the more than 400 miles of roads in burnt areas of the Willamette National Forest. The Forest Service plan was created following the Beachie Creek, Lionshead, and Holiday Farm fires of 2020. The purpose was to remove roadside trees killed or injured in the fires posed a safety risk to recreators and motorists.
The plan drew court challenges from environmental groups, and mounting legal costs were among reasons cited by Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack for withdrawing the plan.
Warnack went onto say, “Our work to safely restore public access to areas burned in the 2020 Labor Day fires continues to be top priority. Upon withdrawal of this decision, my staff will conduct another review of the purpose and need of this project and will consider a new approach to addressing this important issue.”
As a result of the change in plans, the areas within the Willamette National Forest that burned in recent wildfires — such as the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Opal Creek, and Breitenbush — will remain closed to the public until further notice while the Forest Service develops a new plan.
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Forest Service scraps post-fire logging plan in Willamette National Forest