Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Groups Appeal Salvage Project

Three Santa Fe environmental groups filed an appeal this week in an attempt to halt a salvage-logging project in Santa Fe National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service proposal would allow loggers to cut down blackened trees where the Lakes and BMG fires burned in the Jemez Mountains two summers ago.
"It's like mugging a burn victim for spare change," said Sam Hitt, director of Wild Watershed. "It's the last thing our forests need. Salvage logging has zero ecological benefits."
Wild Watershed, Forest Guardians and Santa Fe Forest Watch say such salvage-logging projects prolong the forest's recovery from fires by creating more erosion in streams, compacting soils with heavy machinery and removing large burned trees that are used by wildlife.
The Forest Service proposal would allow loggers to take up to 4 million board-feet of blackened timber on 890 acres. The Lakes Fire burned 4,600 acres near Seven Springs and Fenton Lake in June 2002. The BMG Fire burned about 500 acres north of Cuba the same month. No new roads would be built, and cutting live trees would not be allowed at either logging site.
Hitt said the groups plan to appeal a similar timber salvage proposed for the burned area of the Borrego Fire, which scorched 13,000 acres of federal and private land near Truchas in 2002...

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