to STOP the Upper Salmon Creek Timber Sale
To Chair Franz and the Board of Natural Resources:
The undersigned urge you to cancel DNR's "Upper Salmon Creek" timber sale, located on the Olympic Peninsula, near Discovery Bay.
Almost all of the natural and old growth forests that once dominated the foothills of the Olympic Mountains have been logged. It is important to protect the few remaining lowland"legacy" forests that remain along the north Olympic coast. 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 "Upper Salmon Creek" 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 close to 200 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. Much of the revenue generated from this timber sale is slated to go to renovate legislative and other state government office buildings in Olympia, including DNR's headquarters. The state government does not need this money, which represents a tiny and insignificant fraction of the state's overall capital budget. In addition, DNR forest inventory records reveal that there are thousands of acres of plantation forests managed by DNR in East Jefferson and Clallum counties that are currently available for harvest. Plantation forests hold more than enough timber to satisfy overall sustainable harvest targets for the current planning decade, and fulfill DNR's current commitments to other beneficiaries, including Clallum County. There is no need to clearcut this forest. To be clear, the decision to prioritize this forest for commercial logging is a choice that is made by the Commissioner and DNR. DNR is not fulfilling a mandate or following best available science by logging this rare, century-old forest.
We are not asking DNR to end logging on state forest lands. We simply asking that you protect the last best remaining lowland legacy forests, which occupy less than ten percent of all state forest lands in East Jefferson and Clallam counties. Please put a stop to the destruction of these irreplaceable forests and cancel the "Upper Salmon Creek" timber sale.