Conservation nonprofits Greater Hells Canyon Council and Oregon Wild say they will appeal the latest ruling in the Lostine corridor management suit they filed in 2017.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon recently ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service. The conservation groups filed a Notice of Appeal with the court Sept. 4.
Though billed as a public safety project, the project is largely composed of commercial logging and will remove four million board feet from 2,100 acres, the groups contend. The commercial units follow 11 miles of road along the Wild and Scenic Lostine River to its termination at Two Pan trailhead and extend to the boundary of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
“We believe our case is strong and remain committed to protecting the Wild and Scenic Lostine River Canyon,” said Darilyn Parry Brown, Executive Director of the council. “We have never opposed the true public safety aspects of this project. But the heavy industrial logging will not improve public safety in the Lostine.”
The project was designed through a Categorical Exclusion, which exempts the Forest Service from performing selected analysis of the environmental impacts of the logging, including the impacts to rare and sensitive species known to reside in the canyon.
Both groups contend that any logging within a Wild and Scenic River canyon surrounded by wilderness deserves a rigorous environmental analysis before logging occurs.
“Go visit the Lostine Canyon now,” said Parry Brown. “Go into one of the marked units. Almost everything except the few trees with orange paint will be removed. If this logging moves forward, the forest will be irreversibly damaged.”