Published May 3, 2016
SEIAD, CALIFORNIA — Operations in the Westside post-fire “salvage” logging project on the Klamath National Forest were interrupted on Monday (May 2, 2016) morning while tribal members and salmon advocates staged a peaceful protest at the entrance to the Forest Service project near Seiad Valley, California. Large banners read “Karuk Land: Karuk Plan” and are being held by members of the chanting crowd who plan to greet log truck drivers and timber fallers at the gate of a large closed area when they arrive.
The massive Westside Salvage Logging Project is comprised of 14 timber sales that would clear cut more than 5,800 acres on steep slopes above Klamath River tributaries and along 320 miles of roads within Klamath National Forest. Controversial post-fire logging and hauling has begun before the legal claims can be considered in a joint lawsuit led by the Karuk Tribe.
The Karuk Tribe proposed an alternative to Klamath National Forest’s Westside project that would have logged about one third as many acres (2,000 verses 5,800 acres). The “Karuk Alternative” was designed to restore burned areas and protect local communities from future fire events through a series of actions including improved access to ridgetops, natural forest regeneration and the use of controlled burning.
The Tribe and supporters say unlike the Karuk alternative, clear cut logging is planned on steep slopes right above several of the Klamath River’s most important salmon bearing rivers and creeks at a time when returning salmon numbers have reached record lows.