A Week in the Life of ANN

For folks unfamiliar with what ANN does week to week on behalf of the forests and wildlands of the Applegate, check out our schedule for just this coming week alone! Every week ANN works hard to defend the places we live near and care deeply about in the Applegate.

Monday, December 5, 2016

  • Grant deadline coming soon! ANN is constantly working to secure grant funding to keep our work going. Grant writing is time consuming and not always rewarding — the competition for limited environmental foundations and funders is fierce.
  • Work on scoping comments for the Gap Fire Salvage on the Siskiyou Crest. The Klamath National Forest wants to log high elevation forests burned in the 2016 Gap Fire. Red fir, white fir and hemlock forests are at risk on the Siskiyou Crest near Condrey Mountain!
  • Work on scoping comments for the East Applegate Ridge Trail EA. Our member organization, the Applegate Trails Association, has proposed this six-mile trail section from Sterling Creek Rd. to Highway 238 near Ruch. Once completed it will be the first section in the much-anticipated Applegate Ridge Trail that will extend from Sterling Creek to Grants Pass along the Applegate foothills. 
Bald Mountain Unit in the Nedsbar Timber Sale

Bald Mountain Unit in the Nedsbar Timber Sale

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

  • Meeting with the BLM regarding Nedsbar. The Nedsbar Timber Sale is not over yet! The BLM is promising to restructure and resell the Nedsbar Timber Sale, and it is likely that much of the same proposed environmental impacts will be included in the "repackaged" sale. ANN requested a meeting with the BLM in order to keep the ecological concerns of the Applegate community at the forefront. ANN will advocate for implementation of the Nedsbar Community Alternative or we will keep working to cancel the sale.
An already fire-adapted forest in Rocky Gulch off North Applegate Road — burned in the 1987 Savage Creek Fire — slated for logging for supposed "fire resilency" in the Pickett West Timber Sale proposed by the Grants Pass BLM Resource Area. 

An already fire-adapted forest in Rocky Gulch off North Applegate Road — burned in the 1987 Savage Creek Fire — slated for logging for supposed "fire resilency" in the Pickett West Timber Sale proposed by the Grants Pass BLM Resource Area. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

  • Continue working on scoping comments for the Gap Fire Salvage Timber Sale and the East Applegate Ridge Trail EA.
  • Field work: Ground-truth the Pickett West Timber Sale. This massive timber sale includes many units in the western part of the Applegate Valley. The Grants Pass Resource Area has been unwilling to engage the Applegate Community through the AMA process for this timber sale and is ignoring the AMA mandates laid out in their 1994 RMP (Resource Management Plan), the RMP that they are planning the sale under.
  • Monthly ANN steering committee meeting at 6pm. Monthly ANN general meeting at 7pm at the Applegate Library. There's always lots to talk about! The many environmental threats facing the Applegate Valley provide plenty of topics for conversation.
This off-road vehicle track within the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area is creating major resource damage in an area known for its outstanding biological and botanical diversity.

This off-road vehicle track within the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area is creating major resource damage in an area known for its outstanding biological and botanical diversity.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

  • Morning phone call with an environmental attorney regarding issues in the Applegate.
  • Midday meeting in Ashland with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Klamath National Forest regarding OHV issues and trail management on the Siskiyou Crest to address long-standing ecological damage. Many of the areas experiencing major OHV damage on the Siskiyou Crest are at the headwaters of the Applegate Valley, and within the Applegate River watershed.
  • Evening Applegate Trails Association board meeting. ATA is a member organization of ANN currently working on the Applegate Ridge Trail. 
Public input during field trips into proposed logging units is a crucial way to engage in local land management issues in the Applegate.

Public input during field trips into proposed logging units is a crucial way to engage in local land management issues in the Applegate.

Friday, December 9, 2016

  • Public field trip hosted by the Forest Service to look at proposed commercial logging units in the "Demo Projects" approved under the Upper Applegate Roads Project. From 9am-1pm the Forest Service and community members will walk the units and discuss the different "treatments" proposed for these demonstration logging units. The Forest Service is proposing four different "treatments" in order to demonstrate the pros and cons of different techniques, including a "no action" control unit. ANN will be there to push for more ecologically appropriate action.
  • 6 PM film showing presented by the Applegate Trails Association: Walking the Wild Applegate. This documentary film highlights the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail and Jack-Ash Trail connecting the towns of Ashland, Jacksonville and Grants Pass, Oregon. The film follows the first thru-hike of the trail corridor, beautifully depicting the diversity and scenery of the Applegate Valley and the vibrancy of our community. This casual event will be at the Ruch Fire Station Public Meeting Room. 
Walking the Wild Applegate is a documentary film following the first thru-hike of the Jack-Ash and Applegate Ridge Trails, from Ashland to Grants Pass, OR

Walking the Wild Applegate is a documentary film following the first thru-hike of the Jack-Ash and Applegate Ridge Trails, from Ashland to Grants Pass, OR

A Year in Review: 2016

Applegate Neighborhood Network: The Year in Review

Unit 28-22 of the Nedsbar Timber Sale was canceled due to the work of ANN and the SIskiyou Crest Blog. The unit is located near the confluence of Yale Creek and the Little Applegate River and is one of the Little Applegate area's most intact, fire adapted stands.

Unit 28-22 of the Nedsbar Timber Sale was canceled due to the work of ANN and the SIskiyou Crest Blog. The unit is located near the confluence of Yale Creek and the Little Applegate River and is one of the Little Applegate area's most intact, fire adapted stands.

Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) is a conservation and community organization consisting of non-profit groups, local Applegate Valley residents and friends of the Applegate Valley. We believe that by joining together to achieve shared goals, we can amplify our voice and generate positive results for the Applegate Valley community and its environment. We work to advocate for community and conservation values in the Applegate Valley through collaboration, community activism, on-the-ground monitoring, education and advocacy. Whether you live, work or play in the Applegate Valley we encourage you to join us. We need your help to continue making a difference for this vibrant community and beautiful landscape. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to ANN. We can only continue this work with your generous support.

 2016 Achievements:

 Nedsbar Timber Sale:

Unit 33-20 was canceled from the Nedsbar Timber Sale following input from ANN and the the Siskiyou Crest Blog. The unit is located on the high divide between Yale Creek and the Little Applegate River.

Unit 33-20 was canceled from the Nedsbar Timber Sale following input from ANN and the the Siskiyou Crest Blog. The unit is located on the high divide between Yale Creek and the Little Applegate River.

 During 2016 ANN was instrumental in achieving withdrawal of numerous old-growth or roadless area units in the Nedsbar Timber Sale and one-mile of new road construction proposed in the Trillium Mountain Roadless Area. These are tangible victories and should be celebrated, but more work needs to be done in 2017.  

ANN has worked extensively on the Nedsbar Timber Sale taking the lead in opposing the BLM’s proposal. We have supported the Nedsbar Community Alternative, led public hikes, organized public protest, engaged collaboratively with the BLM and advocated for conservation. ANN also conducted extensive unit monitoring, publicizing our results on the Siskiyou Crest Blog. ANN also submitted a 100 page public comment and an administrative protest to the Decision Record.

Following citizen protests, administrative appeals and public outrage, the Nedsbar Timber Sale failed to sell at auction; receiving no bids from the timber industry. The BLM intends to “re-package” the Nedsbar Timber Sale to make the sale more financially attractive to potential buyers. We will continue to work on the Nedsbar Timber Sale in 2017 advocating for the Community Alternative and working to oppose the BLM’s Alternative 4.

 Applegate Adaptive Management Area:

ANN has worked through the Applegate Adaptive Management Area to support conservation and community values in the public land management planning process. The BLM and Forest Service have identified the Upper Applegate Valley as the Planning Area for a joint AMA project. The BLM’s Grants Pass Resource Area has also proposed the massive Pickett West Timber Sale with units in North Applegate, around Murphy, Oregon and Wilderville, Oregon.

We are advocating for the protection of roadless areas, wildlife, rare plants and pollinators. We support appropriate recreation and non-motorized trail development, judicious thinning, the use of prescribed fire and community collaboration. We are attending public meetings and monitoring the proposed AMA projects; identifying issues of concern, potential solutions and strategies that maximize environmental benefits.

 Timber Sale Monitoring:

ANN has been working to monitor BLM timber sales across the Applegate Valley. Documenting the impacts and actual results of commercial logging on BLM lands. We are conducting long-term monitoring projects to document the cumulative impact of timber harvest activity on fire risks, fuel hazards, forest health, northern spotted owl habitat and bark beetle mortality. We incorporate the results of our monitoring into our advocacy, public comments and the land management planning process. This is what true adaptive management looks like.

 OHV Monitoring:

ANN worked to successfully secure a motorized vehicle closure in these large meadows on China Gulch near Ruch, Oregon. The meadows was being badly damaged by uunauthorized OHV use.

ANN worked to successfully secure a motorized vehicle closure in these large meadows on China Gulch near Ruch, Oregon. The meadows was being badly damaged by uunauthorized OHV use.

ANN has helped to secure the closure of numerous environmentally damaging and unauthorized Off-Road Vehicle (OHV) trails near Ruch, on Anderson Butte and on the Siskiyou Crest near Big Red Mountain. ANN has been working to monitor OHV impacts across the Applegate Valley on both BLM and Forest Service land. We are documenting the impact of OHV use in the Applegate Valley and advocate for non-motorized trails, the closure of user-created OHV trails, and quiet recreational opportunities.

 Non-motorized Trail Advocacy:

The Jack-Ash Trail, proposed by ANN non-profit member, the Siskiyou Upland Trail Association, would extend from Jacksonville to Ashland, Oregon. Phase one of the long distance trail was recently approved by the BLM and trail construction has begun.

The Applegate Ridge Trail, proposed by ANN member, the Applegate Trails Association is currently undergoing Environmental Assessment for six miles of new trail near Ruch, Oregon. When completed the Applegate Ridge Trail will extend from Grants Pass to Jacksonville, Oregon. 

ANN has worked to support both the proposed Jack-Ash and Applegate Ridge Trail. We are also working to identify new non-motorized trail opportunities in the Upper Applegate Valley during the AMA planning process.

 Pollinator Conservation:

In 2016 ANN collaborated with the Forest Service to restore and protect important pollinator and monarch butterfly habitat on the Applegate River. The project was initiated through ANN advocacy, the first phase of the project consisted of closing a small riverside meadow to OHV use and was implement in 2016. The closure will protect the locally uncommon, heart-leaf milkweed, one of the monarch butterflies only native host plants.

ANN is working collaboratively with the Forest Service to design numerous pollinator/native plant restoration projects and interpretative trails in the Upper Applegate Valley.

Place-Based Environmental Education:

In 2016, ANN hosted numerous public hikes, field trips, public presentations and community events supporting environmental education, conservation and community involvement in the federal land management planning process.

A public hike in the Trillium Mountain Roadless area to view proposed units 26-20, 27-20 & over a mile of new road construction in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Both units and the road proposed to access them were canceled due to ANN input and public organizing.

A public hike in the Trillium Mountain Roadless area to view proposed units 26-20, 27-20 & over a mile of new road construction in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Both units and the road proposed to access them were canceled due to ANN input and public organizing.

Consider making a tax-deductible donation to ANN. Your funds will directly benefit the community and conservation values of the Applegate Valley. Please help us continue our work.

Thank you for your continued support. We are only as strong as the community that supports us.

ANN

BLM Shelves the Nedsbar Timber Sale — For Now!

Local residents protest the Nedsbar Timber Sale auction on September 22, 2016. Photo credit: www.timdawphotography.com

Local residents protest the Nedsbar Timber Sale auction on September 22, 2016.
Photo credit: www.timdawphotography.com

Last week the Medford District BLM proposed to sell the Nedsbar Timber Sale to the highest bidder, offering some of the last roadless forests in the Applegate Valley to private timber interests for $68 per thousand board feet. The agency was offering 3.4 million board feet of public forest for a minimum bid of $231,014.60.

The community of the Applegate Valley believes these intact forests are priceless, and in response organized a large protest at the timber sale auction on Thursday, September 22, 2016. 

With resistance to the sale growing, 75 residents of the Rogue and Applegate Valleys attended the rally, advocating that the BLM withdraw the sale and protect the area's important biological and recreational values.

www.timdawphotography.com

www.timdawphotography.com

Protestors held signs, sang songs, held mock timber auctions, shared information about the timber sale, spoke with media and advocated for protection of the area's ecology and recreation-based economy. Some in attendance wanted to witness the process of the auction and tried to enter the auction. These residents were denied access and public timber was auctioned to private interests behind closed doors. 

Residents expressed their concerns about the timber sale and the lack of meaningful collaboration that led to its approval, airing their concerns with BLM officials and filling the lobby of the Medford District BLM Office. Protestors also spread out across the parking lot and along the main street bordering the BLM office, receiving many honks and cheers of approval from passing motorists.  

www.timdawphotography.com

www.timdawphotography.com

Following the protest and timber auction, BLM announced that the Nedsbar Timber Sale received no bidders. Having failed to sell, the BLM announced it would re-offer the Nedsbar Timber Sale under a 30-day sealed bidding process, allowing the industry yet another chance to purchase our public forests for private gain.

Within days of this announcement the BLM reevaluated the situation and has now removed the sale from the sealed bidding process. "We're going to pull it back and see if we can work on the economics of it. We'll look at everything to see if there's some tweeks or changes to improve this sale," said BLM spokesperson, Jim Whittington, to the Medford Mail Tribune. 

The timber industry wants a more economical sale and is pressing the agency to repackage Nedsbar into a sale that includes only the most economical units. 

"I don't see anyone coming up and grabbing it the way it is," said Andy Geissler to the Medford Mail Tribune. Andy Geissler is a timber industry lobbyist from the American Forest Resource Council. "Its good to hear it's getting a makeover," he said.

The "makeover" the timber industry is hoping for will likely include either lowering the minimum bid price or reducing the cost of logging by dropping units with low volume per acre. This would leave only the units with the highest timber volumes and largest trees included in the sale. 

The industry would also like to see prescriptions rely less on helicopter logging which is expensive to implement, Geissler said.  

Local residents are also hoping many of the helicopter logging units will be dropped, especially those in roadless areas or fire resilient, late seral stands. Numerous units on Bald Mountain, in the Little Appleagate River canyon, at the head of Grouse Creek and on Boaz Mountain should be removed from the timber sale.

The BLM is analyzing the administrative "protest letters" they received from the Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) and others. We hope this analysis will allow the BLM to amend the Decision Record, withdraw the currently approved Nedsbar Timber Sale and implement the Community Alternative, Alternative 5 through a series of stewardship contracts. The Community Alternative will protect the area's important natural values while reducing fuels, increasing forest health, enhancing our local economy and producing a sustainable supply of timber. 

The BLM has indicated that if the sale undergoes substantial changes during this reevalutation process a new public comment period would be necessary. They have indicated that no work will proceed until next spring or summer.

This is a victory for now, but it is clear that much more work is ahead of us as we urge the BLM to do the right thing and truly listen to and collaborate with local residents opposed to the Nedsbar Timber Sale. 

A community in action: Stop Nedsbar Rally Slideshow!

All photos courtesy: www.timdawphotography.com