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E-M:/ Letters Needed to Protect Roadless Areas and Stop Logging of Michigan's Trap Hills

Enviro-Mich message from Doug Cornett <drcornet@up.net>


Please ask the Forest Service to include the Trap Hills and Old M-64
Hardwoods timber sale in the Roadless Area Moratorium.  Roadless area
comments are due December 20, 1999, and can be sent by E-mail to:

A sample letter is found at the bottom of this message.  

Northwoods Wilderness Recovery has been campaigning to save the Trap Hills
since 1997.  Our letters are effective; the High Country portion of the Old
M-64 sale has been postponed to do additional analysis and will require
further public comment, and the Sand Hill Creek portion of the sale was
advertised but didn't receive any bids.  

I encourage you to continue sending letters to the Ottawa Forest Supervisor
Phyllis Green and your federal representatives beyond the December 20
Roadless deadline. 

For the Wild,

Doug Cornett

For more information contact:

Northwoods Wilderness Recovery
PO Box 122 
Marquette, MI 49855
E-mail:  drcornet@up.net



Letters Needed to Stop Logging of Michigan's Trap Hills

A core of mature and old-growth forest - it hasn't seen an ax for over 70
years - is about to fall.  Twenty-eight miles of old logging trails
upgraded to industrial standards are planned.  Eleven-hundred acres will be
cut.  Despite conservationist concerns and public outcry, the Forest
Service intends to log one of the last large pieces of unroaded land in the
Ottawa National Forest.

The Old M-64 Hardwoods timber sale will open access to one of the most
sensitive areas in the Trap Hills.  Gogebic Ridge, the first successful
release site for the Peregrine Falcon in the Upper Peninsula, and home to
numerous other endangered and rare plants and animals, will be permanently
degraded by the sale.  The Forest Service will build roads and log within
300 feet of this fragile cliff.  Opening the unused logging trails will
increase illegal ATV traffic that began when a culvert was constructed over
Sand Hill Creek in 1996. 

Forest Service old-growth designations will do little in protecting older
forest, since much of the designation includes the cliff area where few
trees grow.  Even a large pond and wetland has been designated 
"old-growth."  Big trees are what the Ottawa is after, and most stands with
big trees will be cut, leaving behind land riddled with roads, tree stumps
and silted streams.

The Forest Service has tried to assure the public that logging the Trap
Hills is the right thing to do.  The Ottawa's arguments for logging the
area can be viewed at:  http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/ottawa/ (see Trap Hills
Management Area).  Below is a summary of the Ottawa's rationale for logging
and Northwoods Wilderness Recovery's response.

1.  Most of the area was logged off early in the century, so it should be
logged again for "ecosystem health."

Yes, the area was logged heavily - 70 years or more ago.  Scattered patches
of old-growth forest in a sea of young trees was left behind.  After 70
years, much of the forest here now has attained old-growth characteristics
and is home to species such as the Northern Goshawk and Red-shouldered
Hawk, who prefer to live in old-growth.  The presence of endangered and
rare plants and animals in the Trap Hills is a sign of ecosystem health.
No logging is required to "improve" habitat, and will actually diminish it
because of plans to cut the entire center of the area and fragment the
continuous forest cover that now exists.

2.  The area is covered with roads and Ottawa timber-cutting will close
roads, thus reducing human impacts and creating an environment of solitude.

The roads in question are logging trails left from the 1920's.  Currently,
most trails are grown over and aren't being used by vehicles.  This is
reflected in the Transportation Plan which shows that most roads are
covered in brush and trees 1 to 16 inches in diameter.  There are few, if
any, erosion problems.  Vehicles don't use these roads, and ATV traffic
became a problem only after a the Sand Hill Creek crossing was constructed.
Opening 28 miles of old trails will require bulldozing, culverts and
gravel - creating an immense network of roads and log landings.  This will
increase impacts by making the area more accessible to ATV's, even if gates
and other barricades are constructed.

3.  Sapling and pole sized trees have to be removed to enhance the growth
of the trees left so "old-growth" conditions can be attained faster and
forest "health" improved.

In addition to removing smaller trees, many big trees will be cut, making
the structure of the forest simplified and younger.  The big trees have to
be cut to make the sale attractive to loggers who can't make any money from
pulpwood, which makes up about 80% of the sale.  Roads into the sale will
cause fragmentation of the forest canopy and heavy logging equipment will
compact and rut the fragile clay soils.  The Forest Service has failed to
identify any forest "health" problems and any benefits that may be gained
from cutting small trees will be offset by negative impacts from roads and
heavy equipment.

Ask the Forest Service to cancel plans to log the Old M-64 Hardwoods and
include the area in the roadless moratorium.  Send letters to:

USDA Forest Service, Attn:  Roadless 
PO Box 221090 
Salt Lake City, UT 84122 
FAX:  801-517-1021
E-mail:  roadless/wo_caet-slc@fs.fed.us

Phyllis Green, Forest Supervisor
Ottawa National Forest
E6248 U.S. 2
Ironwood, MI 49938
FAX:  906-932-0122 
E-mail:  pgreen/R9_ottawa@fs.fed.us  

US Representative Dale Kildee
House Of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

YOUR Representative		
US House of Representatives	
Washington, D.C. 20515		

YOUR Senator
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510


USDA Forest Service-CAET
Attn:  Roadless Areas NOI
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

Dear Forest Service:

President Clinton has announced the Forest Service plans to prepare a
roadless area protection policy.  Protect those 60 million acres of
remaining roadless wildlands in all of our National Forests, which provide
excellent recreational opportunities for millions of Americans, habitat for
wildlife, and clean water for communities.

In Michigan, roadless areas are our biological links to the past and hope
for the future.  These last remaining wild places support many important
public values.  Roadless areas provide unique fish and wildlife habitat,
our cleanest drinking water and our last outstanding wilderness
opportunities.  The Trap Hills in the Ottawa National Forest and Scott's
Marsh in the Hiawatha National Forest are prime examples of what should be
protected in Michigan.

There is too little left for future generations. Decades of mining,
logging, grazing, and other development activities have degraded forest
ecosystems, fragmented fish and wildlife habitat, and pushed species such
as Grey Wolf, Indiana Bat, Peregrine Falcon, and the Northern Goshawk
closer to extinction.

I urge you to adopt a policy that:

*Accords roadless areas strong, effective protection from all damaging
activities, including logging, road-building, oil and gas leasing, mining,
grazing, and off-road motorized vehicles.

*Provides immediate and permanent protection for ALL roadless areas 1,000
acres and larger in all National Forests, including the Tongass National
Forest in Alaska.  Protection should also be given to smaller, yet
biologicaly significant areas and areas of outstanding beauty.

*Protection for areas smaller than 1,000 acres should be emphasized in the
eastern portion of the country, as there are very few areas in Michigan
that meet the existing criteria, but are biologically important.

*Does not defer protection of roadless areas to the forest planning process.

Most National Forest land has been dedicated to a single purpose--logging.
Please preserve what few roadless areas we have left as it is obvious that
these areas will be critical for the wilderness and recreational needs of a
growing population.  The long-term economic opportunity for the areas
surrounding priceless, roadless tracts will far outweigh the short-term,
selfish gain from logging them.


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