Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 92° Clear

Hungry Ridge forest project near Grangeville gets green light

By Eric Barker The Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – A large restoration and timber project on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest southeast of Grangeville is moving forward.

“The main focus is trying to restore forest health on the landscape,” said Jeff Shinn, ranger of the forest’s Salmon River Ranger District.

The area suffers from poor forest health that is largely the result of decades of successful fire suppression.

That has led to overstocked forests, where insects and disease are more prevalent. Tree species more resilient to fires, like ponderosa pine and western larch, are being crowded by shade-tolerant species like grand fir and Douglas fir.

The logging will include some clearcuts, and a forest plan amendment will allow logging in old-growth stands. But the harvest will target young trees growing beneath the old growth.

In addition to logging, the project includes about 12,300 acres of prescribed fire.

“This will take us back to a more natural state,” Shinn said.

To carry out the work, about 9 miles of permanent road and 23 miles of temporary roads will be constructed.

The project has its critics, which includes the Moscow-based environmental group Friends of the Clearwater.

Gary Macfarlane, ecosystem defense director for the group, said he is considering challenging the project in court.

Among his concerns are the large scale of the project and its potential impact on water quality, protected fish species like bull trout and steelhead, old-growth forests and its proximity to the End of the World Project, another Forest Service restoration effort that includes logging.

“It’s big and it’s bad, and we are consulting with some folks about potential litigation,” he said.

Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert signed a final record of decision for the Hungry Ridge Restoration Project recently. The work sandwiched between Mill Creek and Johns Creek south of the South Fork of the Clearwater River will include more than 7,000 acres of commercial timber harvest that will produce about 173 million board feet of timber.

Shinn said the harvest is an outgrowth of restoration work aimed at multiple objectives.

That includes reducing fire danger in thick stands of timber, protecting adjacent private property from fire, increasing natural disturbance patterns and improving water quality and wildlife habitat.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.