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Dead Laundry timber sale

Dead Laundry: Proposed clearcutting and 150 miles of road work in the remote North Fork Clearwater River!

The Forest Service has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) promoting the Dead Laundry timber sale, proposed for tributaries to Kelly Creek and small streams along the North Fork Clearwater River in the Clearwater National Forest. Friends of the Clearwater opposes this Forest Service plan to log over 4,000 acres of the North Fork Ranger District, which would also involve constructing 68 miles of roads and “reconstruction” of 99 miles of existing roads.

Thank you for those who commented on this project! After issuing a final environmental assessment and decision in December 2021, the Forest Service withdrew its decision in March of 2022. The agency’s information on this project can be found here. The agency indicated it will make another decision at a later date, and we will let you know when that happens.

The Dead Laundry project has the following problems:

  • 3,837 acres of logging would be “regeneration harvest”—a euphemism for clearcuts, or clearcuts modified by leaving a few trees. This totals nearly six square miles of national forest, with eight of the cut areas to exceed 100 acres—one alone would be 460 acres!
  • The Forest Service also proposes to experiment with 196 acres of “old-growth enhancement” which would involve logging trees from existing old-growth forests, many being be 200 years old or older. The Forest Service has no scientific support for this “enhancement” We urge the Forest Service to allow natural processes in old growth to function unimpeded by heavy-handed management. Old growth is not a place for the Forest Service to experiment with logging.
  • All this logging is claimed to be necessary to “restore” the health and “resilience” of the forest, but intensive logging in the form of clearcuts, shelterwood logging, and seed tree cuts do neither. The Forest Service’s real priority, however, is revealed by considering the projected timber volume expected to be stripped from steep mountain slopes—about 40 million board feet, which is enough to fill over 6,500 logging trucks ripping up roads already bleeding sediment into fisheries streams.
  • The timber sale would degrade fish habitat in tributaries to Kelly Creek and the North Fork Clearwater River, including crucial habitat for the westslope cutthroat trout and critical habitat for the Threatened bull trout.
  • The proposal would degrade roadless characteristics by slashing of trees and burning within the Moose Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA). The timber sale would also degrade roadless characteristics by logging 59 acres of forest within an uninventoried roadless area right next to the Hoodoo IRA, in an area with ample Wilderness character but for which the agency refuses to consider for wilderness recommendation, including in the 2020 draft revised forest plan.
  • Wildlife species which have already experienced severe habitat loss in this vicinity, which will see more habitat lost or fragmented by this timber sale, include fisher, marten, wolverine, gray wolf, moose, northern goshawk, pileated and black-backed woodpeckers, and the Threatened Canada lynx. And the industrial treatment of our Forest will harm the prospects of recovery for the Threatened Bitterroot Ecosystem grizzly bear population, as described in our Spring 2021 Clearwater Defender.

Friends of the Clearwater staff traveled to Dead Laundry in 2021 to monitor, and we submitted that report to the Forest Service. You can read our report here:aa_Dead Laundry Monitoring_FOC Sept 8-9_2021

Download the report here.