The task at hand
On June 26th, 2012 farmers, homesteaders and committed neighbors stopped a savage 110 acre cut of second growth Siskiyou mountain trees. Of the 110 acres that commercial timber came to take, they ran saw in only 10. As citizens of this planet, we (you and I) have the opportunity to turn the remaining 100 acres of beautiful, high country Oregon land into a combination restoration project/preserve. 110 acres for $156,000, of which we have raised already over $54,000.
If Speak for the Trees is unable to raise these funds, the land will be sold to a larger timber company, Plum Creek Logging, who plan to clearcut the remaining trees. Our goal is to take this land out of the aggressive harvest of timbers, that the dogwood, the pine martin and the spotted owl might continue to flourish in and above this healthy, diverse forest. We will replant the 10 acres that have been cut, and will put the whole lot in the hands of Speak for the Trees nonprofit, under a conservation easement as a preserve, never to be logged again!
The task ahead of us is the purchasing and placement into trust the 110 acres. Can you help? The Applegate Partnership Watershed Council has agreed to hold the funds as a nonprofit, 501(c)3, making all donations tax deductible. With your help Speak for the Trees can take 110 acres of high mountain Siskiyou forest, the habit that it provides, and the water that it filters out of the cycle of industrial logging, placing it into the hands of a non-profit with a diverse board of directors, of which you will be an integral part. In the name of all who come next, animals, trees, humans, fish, birds wind and water, FOREVER WILD, FOREVER FREE!!
How we got to here
Spalding Timber began to fell 110 acres of second growth trees in Crepsi Gulch on May 11th, 2012.
In the following week a well-coordinated community responded by holding commercial logging responsible for its negative impact on the land. As millions of dollars of heavy machinery began to crush the hillside, hundreds of calls and letters began to flood the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, and the Water Resource Department of Jackson county.
The first victory required Spalding Timber and the contracted logging company, Rick Robertson Inc., to preform dust abatement on Yale Creek, spraying water on 6 miles of dirt road daily. The Oregon Forest Practices Act requires dust abatement during timber harvests, but as Otis Blankenship at the Forest Service said to Jonathan Major a resident of Yale Creek, "We have caved in to the residents demands, now we must concede to timber." Otis' concession to timber was that, without proper multi agency approval Spalding and Rick Robertson Logging Inc. would be able to punch a road through protected owl corridor along the creeks in order to siphon water. In this scenario a national forest creek will be drained to keep costs down on the harvest and marketing of a private entity. In the words of Mr. Blankenship, this was “protocol!”
Not so fast, dude! In the days to follow, farmers and homesteaders with deeded water rights on Yale Creek got in contact with the Water Resource Department. On Tuesday, June 26th, a representative of the Water Master visited Yale Creek, and informed Spalding and company that they were indeed siphoning water illegally. Spalding would now be required to bring water from Medford, 25 miles away, for dust abatement in order to legally move 600,000 board feet of Crepsi timber from the hill to the mill, a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.
That same day Lydia Doleman, another Yale Creek resident, documented and presented a power point presentation to Bob Marku at ODF regarding turbidity in Crepsi Creek as a result of logging equipment routinely driving directly through an "F" class fish-bearing stream, in deference to the timber harvest plan. Turns out that after 20 years with the forest service Bob Marku had become pretty close with the Spalding operator, and in lieu of citing Spalding for an obvious breech of contract, ODF required that Spalding bring 2 more dump loads of rock to line the creek. Things were beginning to add up for Spalding. At a paltry of 500 dollars per thousand board feet of lumber this job was not panning out. Protest banners were beginning to adorn the roadways, the neighborhood promising that the local population would not pay to finance any part of this operation.
On June 27th Spalding offered to sell 110 acres of mature forest adjacent to the Siskiyou Crest for $156,000, and one week later they withdrew from the property, having harvested a painful 10 acres, while leaving a breathtaking 100 acres intact, full of life, fertility and wild song.
How are donations spent?
On a project –per-project basis donations are spent on the acquisition of properties in the Applegate watershed. Volunteers organize community fundraisers and negotiate with timberland holders, be they private individuals or commercial entities for a price and terms.
Once purchased, SFTT holds title to the property and implements a forest management plan on each property.