The Forest Service is moving forward with their intent to log in the Cayuse and Kelly Creek drainages on the Clearwater National Forest. The East Saddle Integrated Restoration Project would log approximately 400-acres near the Toboggan Ridge Rd. and treat another 3,500-acres in the area with prescribed burning. All of this could negatively affect the character of three roadless wildlands: Moose Mountain, Kelly Creek and Weitas Creek.
FOC has a number of concerns with the proposal. Below are talking points to consider in your comment.
- The timber sale could affect Cayuse and Kelly Creeks, which deliver some of the coldest and cleanest water to the North Fork Clearwater. Cayuse and Kelly Creeks also provide crucial habitat for Westslope-cutthroat and Bull trout.
- The proposal aims to improve “forest health,” despite the fact that it would largely occur in roadless areas shaped by natural conditions. How can temporary road building, thinning, commercial logging and prescribed fire improve a mostly intact landscape?
- The proposal could affect roadless character. It is unclear whether or not “mechanical methods” (additional logging?) would occur inside the three roadless areas or whether there would only be mechanical (helicopter?) ignition of fires.
- The Forest Service has already completed past prescribed burns in the area. The agency also has a fire management plan to allow natural fires to burn in the same area. This project seems redundant and unnecessary.
- The project claims to meet “desired conditions” under the current Forest Plan, yet, the conditions do not match those in the current plan.
- The proposal claims to offer potential positive economic impacts to the region, despite this project being proposed in a remote backcountry setting. If the logs were sold they would most likely go to mills in Montana not Idaho.
- Toboggan Ridge Rd #581 has frequent washouts, and should be considered for decommissioning in full or part, instead of being used to haul logs.
The public comment deadline for the East Saddle Restoration Project has been extended and is now March 26. Comments can be mailed to: Amy Boykin, North Fork Ranger District, 12740 HWY 12, Orofino, Idaho 83544. They can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit your comments via our comment form by clicking here.