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Stewardship Group gets good look at forestland plans

After an all day trip out to areas around the local Forest Service lands, members of the Lakeview Stewardship Group met at the Lakeview Ministries Gathering Place on Tuesday, Aug. 20.  The group discussed issues ranging from how to get rid of cutting piles around the forest, to new equipment obtained by Collins Companies that allows them to cut timber on steep slopes with less environmental impact.

Fremont Sawmill Mgr. Dee Brown talked about advances that help to keep machines from compacting the ground on slopes greater than 35 percent.  This allows Collins timber operations to harvest in areas they might not have been allowed into before because of concerns over potential damage.

The field trip helped members of the group to see and discuss how much treatment of forestland may be necessary in the near future.  The potential fire risk with many pockets of dying timber remains high.  As well, there is the problem of encroaching juniper in certain areas of Forest Service lands.

Lorene Guffy of the Forest Service presented the final decision on the Barry Point Fire Salvage Project, outlining findings by the Service that supported the project’s continuation.  The Forest Service hopes to have the salvage awarded by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

It is expected, however, that environmental groups will attempt to hinder this through litigation and legal appeals.

Other topics covered included new legislation created by Sen. Ron Wyden that intends to create sustainable forest harvesting on the east side of the state, and Gov. John Kitzhaber’s support of more active forest management.

Anyone interested in information about the Lakeview Stewardship Group can contact Jim Walls at 541-947-5461.

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