Siuslaw National Forest Action

Photo by Francis Eatherington

1. Sign Up for Alerts, News & Action

Unless you are on the CRA’s Siuslaw Action List or the CRA’s General News list you won’t know when new information comes out, when a local meeting will occur or when key moments in the planning process occur.

2. Join a Siuslaw National Forest Action Group

We are organizing six Action Groups:

North Group: Hebo, Beaver, Cloverdale, Tierra del Mar, Pacific City, & Neskowin 

North Central Group: Otis, Lincoln City & Lincoln Beach 

Central Group: Newport, Toledo, South Beach, Seal Rock Beaver Creek & Burnt Woods-Eddyville 

South Central Group: Waldport, Tidewater, Five Rivers, Yachats Valley & Searose Beach 

South Group: Florence, Mapleton, Swisshome, Westlake & Reedsport Smith River

Corvallis-Philomath Group

What we are up against:

Changes to the Northwest Forest Plan will effect 23 National Forests across three  states. 

The timber industry will be in high gear to influence the amendment process. We know that several large mills will do everything in their power to open the Siuslaw National Forest to cutting mature  forest.

Federal Forests: Our last big native forests

A pillar of our work for the past 30 years has been to defend the forests, rivers and streams of the Coast Range and Western Oregon. Today, in light of climate warming, it is more important than ever to keep the big trees standing. The Forest Service amendment process may open the door to the loss of protection for streams and mature forest within the Siuslaw National Forest.

The Siuslaw NF in north Lincoln County is surrounded by a sea of clearcut industrial ownerships.

The Amendment Process for the Northwest Forest Plan

In December of 2023, the Forest Service announced their intent to amend the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP). The Forest Service stated five broad reasons for the amendment process. Below are the agency’s official statements (in blue) followed by our concerns (in black):

  1. Improving fire resistance and resilience across the NWFP area. 

This may include the bogus notion of reducing “fuel load” in Coast Range and  Cascade wet forests. The CRA will deliver proper fire ecology information relevant  to the Siuslaw National Forest 

  1. Strengthening the capacity of NWFP ecosystems to adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change. 

This should be good, or it could be rhetoric for cutting forest stands to achieve a timber target. What should be done to protect streams, watersheds and the forest as climate warms?  

  1. Improving conservation and recruitment of mature and old-growth forest conditions, ensuring adequate habitat for species dependent upon mature and old growth ecosystems and supporting regional biodiversity

Great, except if bogus forest inventories are used for where remaining mature and old growth forest exists. The CRA will deliver maps to each Action Group for ground-truthing where mature forest exists. 

  1. Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into planning, project design, and  implementation to achieve forest management goals and meet the agency’s general  trust responsibilities

No one can argue with incorporating indigenous knowledge. Will that include tribal understandings at odds with the agency’s use of main-stream economics based only on exchange value and optimization?

  1. Providing a predictable supply of timber and non-timber products, and other  economic opportunities to support the long-term sustainability of communities  located proximate to National Forest System lands and economically connected to  forest resources

The entire statement is from the timber industry playbook and acts as a self-serving agency agenda. The Forest Service does not owe private business, especially secretly owned businesses, any predictability. At the same time, given that Congress has never reformed the agency’s budget incentives, a timber motivation is built into agency self-interest.  

A bad spin on any reason to amend could prove disastrous for the Siuslaw National Forest.  

Over March, April and May, Coast Range Association staff will work to organize six action groups to defend the Siuslaw National Forest. We will provide important and timely information to each group to understand the amendment process, the NWFP and their local SNF area. Please join your local Action Group.

In June, we will work with each Action Group to understand the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Over the DEIS comment period, we will ensure each Action Group has maximum input into the Forest Service based on the best available science. We will work with each group to challenge bogus or wrong-headed changes to the Northwest Forest Plan. 

After the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is released, we will work with all groups to lodge, if necessary, appropriate protests against the Record of Decision.

A Better World is Possible