Two conservation groups, Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a logging project outside of Springfield. They say the project will increase fire hazards and harm recreation.
The Pedal Power Timber Sale is on 100 acres of Bureau of Land Management land that abuts the recently opened Thurston Hills Natural Area. Kebrhea Cuellar lives close to the proposed logging site. She says the city and volunteers put a lot of time and money into creating the recreation area.
Cuellar: “Residents are really proud of this and that we actually got this done and to have a clear-cut right next to it is kind of heart-braking and it’s kind of a slap in the face actually. I mean there’s a lot of volunteer hours and time that went into that.”
Cuellar is concerned the logging project will increase fire danger near her home. The BLM says it cannot comment on pending litigation but it calls the sale a Forest and Trails project with plans to build new trails after the logging is done
Michael Wargil is Superintendent of the Bob Keefer Center for Sports and Recreation at Willamalane in Springfield, which manages Thurston Hills Natural Area. In response to a querie from KLCC, he says, "...although we prefer to provide trail and mountain bike rec opportunities in natural areas with the least amount of disruption, we understand that the BLM is obligated to harvest timber crops. We, along with the city, have worked diligently with the BLM to mitigate the impact that a clear cut would have planned development of a new 8.5 mile bike and hike trail system. The new alternative selected by the BLM is more rec-friendly and offers 50-60 acres less of a clear cut and maintains 2 miles of the trails to remain in mature forest. As I mentioned, we are collaborating with the city, school district, the BLM and Seneca, to develop an aspect to the trail development to educate visitors on the history of as well as the importance of proper forest management."
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