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E-M:/ Michigan National Forest Issues

Enviro-Mich message from "david zaber" <dzaber@gateway.net>

Hello Michiganders,

As a forest activist who spent many years in Michigan and now lives in
Maryland (a bit too close to D.C. and its air pollution, but we do have
buffers on most of our streams!), I wanted to reiterate the importance of
the Trap Hills Area in the Ottawa National Forest.  Michiganders should
know that the Ottawa is the most mismanaged forest in the Upper Midwest. 
While Minnesota's Superior NF is right there when it comes to violating the
National Forest Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National
Environmental Policy Act, and the Clean Water Act (probobly the Migratory
Bird Treaty Act, as well), the Ottawa is particularly recalcitrant when it
comes to citizen input and resource protection.

Some of the facts:

The Ottawa lost  $1122.00 per acre logged from 1992 to 1995, during which
over 36,000 acres of forest were logged resulting in a removal of nearly
200,000,000 board feet of timber!  Note: this does not mean this logging
was for logs, much of the logging was to cut aspen and other tree species
to make paper.  Next time you use toilet paper, you can think of it as a
trip to the Northwoods!

The Ottawa has failed to survey for most wildlife species in cutting units
since adoption of the 1986 Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP).

The Ottawa NF has clearcut directly on the North Country Scenic Trail.

The Ottawa NF has ignored sound science and public input in a consistent
and deliberate fashion when making decisions.

The Ottawa NF has exceeded its cut level for Northern Hardwoods as
specified in the LRMP.

The Ottawa continues to build roads and conduct logging operations in
Semi-primitive non-motorized areas on the forest.

The Ottawa NF Supervisor has been misleading when discussing how much
forest is cut each year.  In a letter to me, Ottawa Supervisor Phylis Green
indicated that approximately one percent of the forest is logged each year.
 She neglected to say that this means that the entire forest area
considered suitable for timber harvest would be cut in 100 years.  However,
and much more importantly, Ms. Green failed to indicate the the 1% figure
was for the entire land area within the forest boundary, 982,895 acres. 
She neglected to mention that much of that land is in private hands which
results in a public ownership of only 562,000 acres.. So, when excluding
private inholdings within the forest boundary (much of which is being
logged or has already been logged for the second time by major
international corporations such as Mead and Champion), the cut level rises
to approximately 2.6 percent per year. That means the entire forest open to
timber harvest (57% of the NF is in the suitable timber base) would be
logged in 40 years, not 100 years as is implied by the Green letter.

The Ottawa NF has totally failed to inact conservation measures for the
Canada Lynx.  All of the environmental assessment documents coming from the
Ottawa fail to address the lynx in any meaningful way.  Most of the
documentation is simply cut and paste word processing from other documents.
 Take some time to review a couple of the Ottawa's NEPA documents and
anyone can see the shoddy and inaccurate nature of these documents for
yourself.  They are all public information.  Just don't be fooled by the
unsupported assertions of wildlife benefits and minimization of
environmental damage.  The Ottawa has no data to support these claims, no
matter what they say publically.  Ask for their wildlife monitoring data
for the past ten years. Check to see how many areas were properly surveyed,
using appropriate methods at correct times of the year.  Ask them to
estimate the percentage of ground actually covered during their monitoring
procedures.  You may also want to ask about hydrological models for
prediction of logging impacts to rivers and streams used on the Ottawa.  If
they have none, you may want to ask how the Forest can say that no damage
is being done to Michigan rivers, including those designated as National
Wild and Scenic rivers such as the Ontonogan.  You may also want to ask to
see the data on aquatic monitoring in cutting units and throughout the
forest. Be prepared to be met with hedging, excuses, distortions and
misleading explanations of why the Forest cannot seem to properly monitor
their activities.

While the list of problem on the Ottawa NF could continue, ad infinitum,
the primary point of this message is to urge all of Michigan's citizens to
call and write Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman (dont waste too much time
on talking with the Forest Service personnel, they will simply gloss over
their problems, distort the issues and make excuses to continue their
cut-at-any-cost policies) and urge him to protect the Trap Hills area on
the Ottawa NF.  The more land taken out of production on the Ottawa, the
more environmental protection for Michigan's ecosystems.  Unfortunately,
since this directly threatens the government jobs of many, there is
certainly going to be some vehement opposition to these protection efforts.

Other locations to mention: Fibre area on the eastern half of the Hiawatha
NF, Scott's Marsh/Big Island Lake Wilderness area in the Western Hiawatha
NF including the North Branch of Stutt's Creek addition, Smith Creek/Iron
Creek wetlands near Indian Lake in the western Hiawatha.  Also, the Norwich
area of the Ottawa and of course the Trap Hills.

For those of you who want to learn more about he National Forest Management
Act (NFMA) and its wildlife protection provisions, write to Defenders of
Wildlife, 1101 14th Street NW, Suite 1400, Washington, D.C. 20005 or call
202-682-9400 and ask for a copy of "Southern Lessons" a report on the
provisions of NFMA which help forest activists to push the Forest Service
to protect wildlife on the national forests.

Best to All,

904 Glaizewood Court
Takoma Park, MD 20912

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