Pickett West Forest Management Project
The Pickett West Forest Management Project is a massive timber sale and fuel reduction project planned by the Grants Pass BLM. The planning area stretches across 200,000 acres, from North Applegate and Murphy, to Wilderville, Selma, and north through the Hellgate Canyon Recreation Area, to Galice and Graves Creek on the Rogue River. Numerous important wildlands are found within the planning area, including Kerby Peak, Round Top Mountain and tributaries of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. A portion of the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail, near Murphy and North Applegate, could be commercially logged in this proposal.
Originally, the BLM identified 12,773 acres for treatment, including 5,980 acres of commercial logging, 2,525 acres of which are located within a Late Successional Reserve designated to support old growth forest characteristics and northern spotted owl habitat. It is possible that these numbers may change in the Environmental Assessment (EA) when it is released this spring.
The BLM is proposing regeneration logging in some areas. Similar to clearcut logging, the purpose of regeneration logging is to remove the current overstory canopy in stands over 150 years old and regenerate a young plantation-like stand. The practice badly damages habitat values while drastically increasing fuel hazards.
The project objectives for Pickett West include “sustained yield” timber production on O&C lands, forest health and fuel reduction. The project is also being implemented partially within the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA), mandating community collaboration and innovation.
ANN has proposed a Community Alternative for the Pickett West Timber Sale. The BLM has announced that our Community Alternative will be analyzed in the Environmental Assessment as one of two action alternatives.
The Pickett West Community Alternative:
- Prohibits new road construction
- Implements a 21″ diameter limit
- Maintains all northern spotted owl habitat designations
- Defers treatment in forested stands over 100 years old
- Focuses commercial logging treatments in plantation stands
We believe the Pickett West Community Alternative will best serve the important natural and community-based values of the Applegate Valley, while restoring forest habitats, reducing fuel loads, protecting intact, fire resilient stands and producing a sustainable supply of timber. The Community Alternative will support the growing recreation economy by protecting the proposed West Applegate Ridge Trail corridor. Our alternative also strives to maintain the high quality of life that we enjoy in the Applegate Valley by encouraging healthy forests, protecting our scenic vistas, clean water, and unique recreational opportunities.
The BLM is scheduled to release the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Pickett West in May of 2017. There will be a public comment period after the release of the EA. Please consider commenting in support of the Pickett West Community Alternative (Alternative 3). ANN will keep you posted on any updates we get regarding the Pickett West project.