Conservation groups file lawsuit against Bybee Timber Sale in Oregon's Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, claim environmental analysis was prepared before presence of endangered gray wolf and pups was confirmed

EUGENE, Oregon , June 18, 2014 (press release) – Conservationists take legal action to protect wilderness and to ensure a proposed logging project will not harm wolf OR-7’s newly discovered pups

As Oregonians celebrate the recent discovery that wolf OR-7 has found a mate and sired pups in southwest Oregon, conservationists today took legal action to halt a reckless logging project that would destroy a potential wilderness area near Crater Lake National Park and may harm the new wolf family.

The Bybee Timber Sale is located on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, adjacent to Crater Lake National Park in the southern Oregon Cascade mountain range. With the Bybee sale, the U.S. Forest Service proposes to build roads and log more than 2,000 acres, much of it pristine forest that has never been logged. The project’s scope includes more than 800 acres of roadless and potential wilderness areas, which provide important habitat for imperiled species such as the northern spotted owl. The road construction and logging would preclude this area from being designated as Wilderness by Congress.

“Given its proximity to Crater Lake National Park, the Bybee Timber Sale was an ill-advised plan to begin with,” said John Mellgren, a staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center, who represents the plaintiff in the litigation. “The discovery of Oregon’s newest wolf family nearby is just one more reason why the Forest Service must go back to the drawing board to ensure that its timber harvest operations do not harm our treasured natural resources.”

The Bybee Project’s environmental analysis was prepared well before the confirmed presence of wolf OR-7 and his new family on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the vicinity of the project. Gray wolves in western Oregon are protected as endangered species under federal law.

“Oregon Wild has long advocated for additional protection for the unroaded areas adjacent to Crater Lake,” said Doug Heiken, Conservation and Restoration Coordinator for Oregon Wild. “We have also supported active forest restoration on other portions of the landscape. Unfortunately, the Bybee Project goes too far, and fails to protect critical unroaded areas on the National Forest, to the detriment of imperiled species, pristine water quality, and unparalleled recreational opportunities. We hope that we are able to work with the Forest Service to craft a project that can both restore the forest and protect this special place.”

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