The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mollie Matteson, Center for Biological Diversity, (802) 434-2388 (office); (802) 318-1487 (cell)

More Clearcutting Slated for White Mountain National Forest Roadless Areas

Nationwide Call for Roadless Area Protection Ignored


The Forest Service issued a decision this week approving its fifth
timber sale within an Inventoried Roadless Area on the White Mountain
National Forest in New Hampshire. The Stevens Brook timber sale would
log 157 acres in the South Carr Mountain roadless area; 43 acres would
be clearcut.

The Center for Biological Diversity
submitted comments opposing the Forest Service's plan last August,
citing the rarity and high ecological values of intact roadless areas;
impacts of logging on global warming and the need to protect forests
for species stressed by changing climate; and the cumulative impacts of
the project on bat populations severely reduced by white-nose syndrome.

"The White Mountain National Forest is fixated on logging roadless
areas in defiance of conservation science and the public will," says
Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological
Diversity. "Roadless areas are critical ecological havens in an era of
global warming. Plans to clearcut them demonstrate very acutely the
need for strong, nationally consistent protection for all roadless

The Stevens Brook timber sale follows on
the heels of timber sales planned over the past couple of years in the
Wild River Roadless Area near Jackson, New Hampshire, the Sandwich 4
Roadless Area along the Kancamagus National Scenic Byway, the Kilkenny
Roadless Area northwest of Berlin, and an earlier timber sale in the
South Carr Mountain area, a few miles north of Stevens Brook. The
Forest Service has not finalized plans for a sixth timber sale, the
Four Ponds Project in western Maine, but conservationists are wary that
it, too, will include part of a roadless area.

latest plan emerges as the Obama administration is being urged to take
a "time out" on logging in all national forest roadless areas, until
Congress and the courts can sort out the contradictory policies and
judicial decisions tied to the Bush administration's eight-year attack
on roadless area protection.

"The Forest Service is
in desperate need of leadership from the Obama administration," said
Matteson. "These new clearcuts will be on their watch."

A May 7 editorial in the New York Times
called on President Obama to follow through on his past support for
roadless areas; he co-sponsored a bill to codify the Roadless Rule when
he was a senator. The editorial cited "commercial logging projects in
Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, and the White Mountains in New Hampshire" as
lending urgency to the need for immediate, interim protection for the
nation's roadless areas.

The Forest Service
announced that it had finalized its decision on Stevens Brook on
Friday, May 15, but the actual decision and the final project documents
were not released until they were posted online yesterday.

The Center has posted a video of clearcutting last fall in the South Carr Mountain roadless area on its Web site.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252