BLM’s Bear Grub Timber Sale Proposed near Ruch and Little Applegate — Wellington Wildlands, East ART, Sterling Ditch Trail and Jack-Ash Trails all Threatened!

The headwaters of China Gulch in the Wellington Wildlands. The forested ridge in the background is proposed for “treatment” in the Bear Grub Timber Sale, which could include commercial logging.

In the spring of 2017 the BLM proposed the Middle Applegate Timber Sale. The planning area for the timber sale included the entire Wellington Wildlands, a beautiful roadless area between Ruch and Humbug Creek.

The dry mixed conifer forests at the headwaters of China Gulch and in the Wellington Wildlands are targeted for commercial logging in the Bear Grub Timber Sale.

The Applegate community rallied around the Wellington Wildlands, and asked the BLM to withdraw the area from the timber sale. ANN organized the production of a spectacular film about the area called Saving Wellington. This film highlights the Wellington Wildlands and the threat to the area posed by the Middle Applegate Timber Sale. We organized public film showings and a petition to Save Wellington Wildlands! We spoke with our state senators, met with the BLM and organized with supporters across southwestern Oregon.

In response to significant public opposition, the BLM has canceled the Middle Applegate Timber Sale and withdrawn large portions of the Wellington Wildlands from their new planning area. Unfortunately, the BLM’s new planning area is now being proposed as the Bear Grub Timber Sale. The project’s planning area extends from the mountains above Talent, Oregon in the Bear Creek Valley, to the foothills west of Ruch in the Applegate Valley. The initial Scoping Map published by BLM shows units in the China Gulch portions of the Wellington Wildlands; on the East ART, the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and the Jack-Ash Trail; on Woodrat Mountain; up Sterling Creek from Buncom to the headwaters on Griffin Lane; around Anderson Butte, and into the headwaters of Coleman Creek, Anderson Creek, Yank Gulch and Wagner Creek.

The proposed Bear Grub Vegetation Management Project will be implemented, at least partially, with a commercial timber sale, and will have units extending from near Ruch to Sterling Creek, and over the ridge to the mountains above Phoenix and Talent. The green polygons depict “treatment” units.

Currently the BLM has identified potential “treatment” areas which could be implemented as commercial timber sale units and/or fuel reduction units. The Scoping Notice also identifies the potential for road renovation and new road construction.

The BLM is currently accepting public Scoping Comments on their initial proposal. Please consider providing comments. Speak up for the Wellington Wildlands and the natural and recreational values of the Applegate River Watershed!

Please ask the BLM to:

-Withdraw all units in the 7,527-acre Wellington Wildlands and the 5,811-acre area inventoried by the BLM as the Wellington Butte LWC (Lands with Wilderness Characteristics) in their 2016 Draft Resource Management Plan.

-Provide a half-mile buffer around the East ART Trail, Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and Jack-Ash Trail, where all commercial harvest is deferred in order to protect habitat, recreational and scenic values.

-Protect and maintain all Northern spotted owl habitat in the planning area.

-Do not propose treatments that will increase fuel hazards and fire risks. Retain canopy cover and implement a 21″ diameter limit to retain all large, fire resistant trees.

-Conduct thorough botanical surveys prior to project implementation to document Gentner’s fritillary (Fritillaria gentneri) populations, and provide these rare plants with protection from logging and road construction.

-Build no new roads, temporary or permanent.

-Implement no treatments or road construction in habitat infested with invasive Shiny geranium (Geranium lucidum). This highly invasive plant has been found in the Forest Creek watershed and populations should not be spread or expanded through soil disturbance associated with logging, road building or fuel reduction treatments.

-Conduct full Travel Management Planning in the planning area. Travel Management Planning is an inventory of roads and unauthorized, user created OHV routes. The impact of motorized use in the planning area should be analyzed, damaging routes must be closed, and route designations undertaken as part of the NEPA process.

-Finally, share with the BLM why these forests are special to you.

Submit comments via email at: BLM_OR_AFO_VMP@blm.gov


via the BLM eplanning site at:
https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=200005275

or via snail mail at:
Bureau of Land Management
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, Oregon 97504
Attention: Ashland Planning and Environmental Specialists

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