A ruling last week by a magistrate judge may derail the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to log about 100 acres outside Springfield.
The BLM plans to build a network of mountain bike trails adjacent to the Thurston Hills recreation area and to log 100 acres. Magistrate Judge Mustafa Kasubhai held up a previous decision that the agency failed to set adequate buffers between the trails and timber harvest.
Conservation groups who sued to stop the logging project see this as a win. Nick Cady is Legal Director of Cascadia Wildlands in Eugene.
“We’re just glad that the court stuck to its guns and reaffirmed its prior holding that the BLM has to, within this designated recreation area, protect its trail system,” Cady said.
The judge denied plaintiffs’ demands for mitigation of fire risks associated with the logging project. The original judge in the case, Michael McShane, will review the ruling.
In response to KLCC’s request for comment, a BLM spokesperson replied that they can’t “comment on ongoing Thurston Hills Forestry and Trails Project litigation--which has not concluded with the interim recommendation issued by the Federal Magistrate Judge--I assure you that we remain committed to supporting family wage jobs, promoting healthy forests, and providing quality recreation opportunities on public lands”
A spokesperson for the American Forest Resources Council, an industry group, called the ruling a success for the project to go forward. They sent this statement: “We’re pleased that Judge Kasubhai’s preliminary ruling rejected key claims against this project and look forward to the next step in this process,” said Sara Ghafouri, AFRC staff attorney. “AFRC will continue to support and defend the Pedal Power timber so the Thurston Hills Forestry and Trails Project can be completed for Springfield and all visitors to this recreation area.”
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