This shouldn't be happening in 20013. This tree is one of five old-growth trees and known nesting habitat of the marbled murrelet illegally felled in April by the U.S. Forest Service.
The trees stood in the six-site Sunshine Bar campground within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near Port Orford, Oregon.
The Forest Service did not have the required permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fell or even trim one, let alone five trees, which were known nesting habitat for the endangered seabird, the marbled murrelet. What seems to have happened is that the removal of one "hazard" tree turned into a training exercise for fallers who needed practice cutting down big trees. Five trees were cut, one of them 238 feet tall.
The Forest Service had little to say to explain itself--little that was credible anyway--when the U.S. Fish and Widlife Service found out about the logging in July. It's all hush-hush at these two agencies as they scramble to figure out why such a thing could happen. The marbled murrelet has been on the list of federally threatened and endangered species since 1992. You think the agencies could have figured this out by now. Perhaps they have, but just feel the need to play by the rules.
The illegal cutting was done last April, but the news just broke thanks to the volunteer environmental group Friends of the Elk River, which reported the habitat removal to the USFWS in July. The story was first reported on August 11th. Read the story here.
The Friends of Elk River's founder, Jim Rogers, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a February 7 correspondence between Forest Service staff about the need for a refresher class for fallers who cut big trees. Sunshine Bar campground was mentioned as was the potential for a reaction from the Friends of Elk River. Clearly, the Forest Service (the Powers Ranger District specifically) knew it was in the wrong. Yet it proceeded, presumably hoping to not get caught. Which they did.
Who will be fined or fired? Whose wrist will be slapped? Who has egg on their face?
I fear the answer is nobody.
Reflecting on our path bent toward small- and large-scale destruction of the planet, author Derrick Jensen, writes this:
It is not possible to survive in the long run by taking from your surroundings more than you give back, in other words, one cannot survive in the long run through the domination of one's surroundings. It is quite clearly in the interest of a bear to make sure tha the salmon return and that the berries ripen. They can eat them, but they cannot hyperexploit them and still expect to survive.