Environmentalists say it’s the ultimate irony - road construction is planned in at least 10 national forest areas in Idaho, even though everyone agrees the Forest Service can’t afford to take care of existing roads.
Roads built for these 10 timber sales are the exception, the Forest Service responds. Many of the new roads will be temporary.
“It’s the tired, old no-use agenda,” said Jim Riley, executive vice president of the Intermountain Forest Industry Association, referring to the outcry over logging in question.
One of the proposals, the White Sands timber sale in the Clearwater National Forest, was designed with help from the National Wildlife Federation and the Defenders of Wildlife, Riley said. That collaboration led to a plan to tear out the roads and repair the landscape after logging was done, he said.
Tom France, of the National Wildlife Federation, cites White Sands as an example of industry-environmental group collaboration he’s happy to endorse. The same goes for the equally contentious North Lochsa Face roadless area timber sale, he said.
The marriage between environmental groups and the industry, however, may be more tentative than advertised. Defenders of Wildlife says it never agreed to support White Sands. It also isn’t endorsing the North Lochsa sale on the Clearwater Forest.
Local environmental groups say the White Sands agreement is worthless. The agreement for temporary roads and for only one logging job aren’t written into the final Forest Service plan meaning neither is much of a promise, said Charles Pezeshki of the Clearwater Biodiversity Project.
One of the contentious roadless area sales will take place in the Packsaddle area near Sandpoint. There, the Forest Service is doing some things right, conceded activist Liz Sedler.
The new roads will be temporary and six miles of existing roads will be closed after the logging job is done. But 12 million board feet of timber will be taken from a relatively small area, increasing water flows and potentially sending more sediment into streams important for bull trout, she said.
The other seven timber sales planned in Idaho roadless areas include:
The 5.5 million board foot Wier-Post Office sale near the Lochsa River and the historic Lolo Trail.
Clearcuts on the Rapid River, near Riggins, in the Wild and Scenic River corridor.
The Deadwood sale on the Boise National Forest.
The Rainbow sale on the Boise National Forest.
French Creek-Patrick Butte on the Payette National Forest.
The Secesh sale on the Payette Forest near some of the most productive Chinook salmon habitat in the Columbia River system.
Centennial Range on the Targhee Forest in grizzly and wolf corridors.
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