|Fire resistant forest on China Gulch marked for removal.|
By removing large overstory trees and whole groves of fire resistant forest, these habitats will be converted into dense, highly flammable patches of young trees and shrubs. This form of forestry and the structural conditions it creates has been shown to increase fire hazards and significantly reduce habitat values for imperiled species like the Northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher.
To make matters worse, the Bear Grub Timber Sale targets some of the most intact, mature to late successional forest in the foothills of the Applegate Valley. In fact, the Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes group selection logging at the headwaters of China Gulch in the Wellington Wildlands, a 7,526-acre roadless area between the hamlets of Ruch and Applegate, Oregon.
|The Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes to remove whole groves of large, old trees on China Gulch. The trees marked with white paint are proposed for removal.|
This non-motorized Applegate Ridge Trail proposal benefits from broad public support, and many believe the region is more valuable for wildlife, biodiversity, recreation, and as a scenic backdrop for the homes, farms, ranches, and vineyards of the Applegate Valley, than as dry, extremely marginal logged over timberland.
Unfortunately, the local community and the BLM have very different plans for the Wellington Wildlands. While the public cherishes this wild and beautiful region, the BLM's Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes to log off this scenic corridor, sacrificing community values, recreational values, and biological values for short-term timber industry profits.
|A group selection clearcut proposed in open, fire resistant forest at the headwaters of China Gulch. Nearly every tree in this photograph has been marked for removal.|
The China Gulch Units
Located in the rainshadow of the Siskiyou Mountains, the forests of the eastern Applegate Valley are the driest in Western Oregon. Surviving on only about 20" of annual precipitation, conifer forests are limited in distribution and survive mostly in protected canyon bottoms and on north- or east-facing slopes. Vast portions of the landscape are too arid to support forested habitats and are instead dominated by oak woodland, grasslands, and chaparral.
Much of the Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes logging in extremely arid, harsh forested habitats and at levels that cannot be sustained into the future. For example, the largest contiguous forest in the China Gulch Watershed (a few hundred acres) has been proposed for group selection logging in the Bear Grub Timber Sale, removing up to 30% of the current forest canopy.
Growing from extremely steep gravelly slopes, this large forested stand consists of predominantly Douglas fir with patches of bigleaf maple lining the dry, gravelly drainages. Much of the forest is open, spacious and dominated by large, old trees. The understory supports low grass and very little fuel loading. Although the trees are generally well spaced, they create an overstory canopy that suppresses understory shrub growth, while allowing enough light for a diversity of native grasses and wildflowers.
Despite the current level of fire resistance and despite the local communities' love for the Wellington Wildlands, BLM has proposed to clearcut patches of mature, closed canopy forest, increasing fire hazards, degrading wildland habitats, and damaging recreational values at the headwaters of China Gulch.
|Forests of Douglas fir and big leaf maple proposed for group selection logging at the headwaters of China Gulch.|
Please help us Stop Bear Grub and Save Wellington Wildlands!
Contact the Medford District BLM and express your concerns. They need to hear from you! Ask them to cancel the Bear Grub Timber Sale and protect the Wellington Wildlands.
Elizabeth Burghard-Medford District BLM, District Manager
Lauren Brown-Medford District BLM , Ashland Resource Area Manager