Playing with fire in the Columbia River Gorge

By Steve Duin
The Oregonian
October 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In his latest prescription for healthy forests, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is surgical in his approach. Surgical in his language, his timing, and his determination to derail second opinions and judicial review. …His bill would grease “salvage” logging and reforestation projects in the Gorge and any other National Scenic Area following a “natural disaster.” …Walden believes the way to restore the charred edge of the Columbia Gorge, home to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Area, is to fill it with logging trucks. The sooner the better. As soon as a fire or other disaster is “contained,” he argues, the Forest Service is on the clock to license a timber salvage operation.  …And get this: Once that frenzied charade shuts down, Walden’s bill prohibits any legal challenge to the log-a-palooza. …Unfortunately, salvage logging can’t be conducted with similar surgical precision, especially on the dense slopes of the Gorge.

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