To Chair Franz and the Board of Natural Resources:
The undersigned urge you to cancel DNR's "South Paw" timber sale, located in Tiger Mountain State Forest.
Almost all of the old growth forests that once dominated the Puget Sound region have been logged. It is important to protect the few remaining lowland"legacy" forests that remain. These forests are an important part of our natural heritage, and may function as ecological "lifeboats" for a wide variety of plant and wildlife species, and hundreds of lesser-known species of insects, lichens, bryophytes, mushrooms, and other fungi.
Natural legacy forests like those found in the "South Paw" timber sale are different from other managed (or planted) forests in a number of ways. The most obvious difference is that the trees are much larger than in managed forests. Many of the dominant trees in this timber sale are well over 160 feet tall. Because these forests were often selectively logged or "high-graded" in the early 1900's, and allowed to grow back on their own, they are also much more structurally and biologically diverse, and retain functional, biological, structural "legacies" of the forests they replaced.
Walk through these forests, and you will find they contain multiple canopy layers, composed of a wide variety of trees of different sizes. Gaps in the overstory canopy allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, creating a complex mosaic of different plant communities composed of a diverse array of small trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Standing dead trees and logs provide critical nesting habitat for small mammals, and countless other forms of life.
Older forests like these also absorb more carbon from the atmosphere per acre than any other forests in the world, thus slowing the rate of climate change.
There is no defense for logging this forest. Tiger Mountain is the one of the most popular destinations for mountain biking enthusiasts and other recreational users in King County. Logging this forest will diminish both its ecological and recreational value. DNR argues that this timber sale generates money that is needed to fund public schools in King County, but the revenue from this timber sale represents a tiny and insignificant fraction of King County budget.
There simply is no need to clearcut this forest. To be clear, the decision to prioritize this forest for commercial logging is a choice that was made by DNR, not by the people of King County. DNR is not fulfilling a mandate or following best available science by logging this rare, century-old forest.
Please put a stop to the destruction of these irreplaceable forests and cancel the "South Paw" timber sale.