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BLM considers logging in McKenzie River basin

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is considering logging in the McKenzie River basin and is seeking public comment.

VIDA, Ore. (AP) — The federal Bureau of Land Management is considering conducting logging on parts of up to about 2,060 acres of forestland in the McKenzie River basin, in the vicinity of Vida.

The agency is seeking public comment on the preliminary proposal at a meeting on Sept. 26, The Eugene Register-Guard reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/193PFo1).

The agency has not yet decided how much timber it might seek to log, and how much would be through thinning or clearcuts, said Kristine Struck, a planning specialist with the agency’s Springfield headquarters.

The forests in question are regulated under both the 1994 federal Northwest Forest Plan and the 1937 O&C Act, the BLM said.

The Northwest Forest Plan tends to favor environmental protection over logging, and requires federal agencies to protect species, waterways and the environment, and also conduct some logging.

The O&C Act, meanwhile, favors logging, requiring the BLM to carry out permanent timber production to help the local economy, as well as maintain some environmental and recreational values.

Many observers say the Northwest Forest Plan and the O&C Act are fundamentally at odds. Lawmakers, environmental groups, wood products groups and government agencies have been battling for years over which holds the greater legal sway.

Struck said the BLM has a host of issues to take into account on the Vida-area tracts. These include protecting streams, surveying for any protected species, and considering scenic views and the Mc­Kenzie River.

Although the agency is examining more than 2,000 acres, “What we would actually put up as a sale would be substantially smaller than that,” Struck said.

The trees are generally 60 to 120 years old, with the majority likely 70 to 100 years old, she said.

The BLM has sent notices to about 500 nearby property owners along with groups interested in logging and environmental issues, Struck said.



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