A contested timber sale and forest restoration project on the Colville National Forest can procede, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
A three-member panel of the court denied a preliminary injunction sought by the Alliance of the Wild Rockies on part of the A to Z sale earlier this month. The project targets 12,000 acres of national forest for thinning.
The court said the project complied with federal environmental laws and didn’t harm the viability of habitat for two sensitive wildlife species - pine martens and fishers.
In a pilot project that has attracted national attention – and some controversy – the Colville National Forest has turned to a timber company for help with thinning and restoration across 54,000 acres of the 1.1 million-acre forest.
The 10-year A to Z sale includes selective logging, controlled burns, stream restoration and road maintenance work. Some of the logs will be turned into lumber at Vaagen Brothers’ Washington sawmills in Colville and Usk. Other logs will be chipped and burned for wood-fired electricity.
The A to Z sale was the result of years of collaborative work among elected officials, environmental groups, tribes, the timber industry and community groups. The project has support from the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition and Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.