Last month Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild launched well-publicized attacks against the Bureau of Land Management’s “Pedal Power” timber sale, near Springfield and Willamalane Park and Recreation District’s Thurston Hills Natural Area. You may be curious about what this manufactured controversy is all about. Here are three things you should know:
Pedal Power was carefully designed
The BLM crafted a plan for the timber harvest that includes areas of riparian reserve around streams, late-successional reserve around an older stand, dozens of wildlife trees left throughout the harvest, and an untouched buffer area near a neighboring property. Of the 394 acres in the sale, only 92 acres will be harvested in patches dispersed throughout the project area.
It will expand public access and recreation opportunities
Once the timber harvest is complete in 2021, the BLM in partnership with Willamalane, Disciples of Dirt mountain biking club, and other organizations in the community will extend the trail system that already exists on Willamalane’s property onto the BLM’s Pedal Power site to create almost nine miles of new trails through the dynamic landscape for hikers, mountain bikers and the community as a whole.
The timber was purchased locally and will benefit local communities
Seneca in Eugene paid a little over $1 million for the timber from the sale. Half of that payment will be transferred from the federal government to western Oregon counties for essential public services like sheriff patrols, libraries, and mental health. The harvest itself will create jobs in the community and provide revenue in the local economy.
The “Pedal Power” timber sale protects streams, old-growth and nearby properties. It gives local residents better access to public lands, benefits the economy and helps sustain local services. We need more, not less, of this kind of active forest management on Western Oregon’s BLM lands.