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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Way out east

We don't get over to eastern Oregon as much as we should, but in La Grande there's some sort of controversy going on regarding Mount Emily, just north of town. Apparently the county (Union) has a recreation area on or near the mountain, and they're planning to cut and sell a bunch of timber out of there next month. Nearby tree huggers are trying to save the trees by buying them from the county and having them spared the chainsaws. The county and the group Friends of Mount Emily are ready to take donations, but it's going to take about a half million dollars in just a couple of weeks. If they fall short, the trees will come down, but they say the collections will be used to "restore native vegetation."

The website of the private group is here and here; the county resolution on the donations is here. Any further background that readers can share on the story are welcome in the comments to this post.

Comments (7)

Having spent a lot of time over there (being a native eastern Oregonian), I'm hoping that this can be stopped.

This is the kind of environmentalism that even the most staunch of conservatives can get behind.

Don't want the trees cut down? Don't just cry about it - DO SOMETHING and buy the land they're on.

All my hopes for success in this very reasonable approach.

Haven't the Oregon tree-huggers "saved" enough trees already? It isn't as if the state will run out of them anytime soon. Or is somehow better to simply turn the state into some sort of tree-hugger park; where anything other than day hikes for the physically fit are off limits?
And let's not forget that some of these same tree-hugger folks did a bang up job killing the wood products industry in what was once the No. 1 lumber producing state in the nation.

Dave A., You nailed it. Trees grow back, they surely don't make oil slicks on water ways and their utilization can provide family wage jobs. Why tie up more forests; untended, they will die from disease or burn down in the long run anyway.

While I say cut, drill and sell those natural resources, Machinesaidfred said it best.

If greenies are going to stop logging IMO this is the best way to do it.

What doesn't make me happy is they are killing needed jobs in one of the most sustainable business in Oregon.

As a native of La Grande I can give some background on this: at one point the land in question was owned by Boise Cascade and maintained for many as a showpiece property by the company - they left a lot of large trees and used the area for company outings and other recreational uses. Recently Boise Cascade divested itself of all (or most) of its timber holdings in Eastern Oregon with this parcel and others bought by a Timber liquidation company named Forest Capital. Their goal is to maximize their investment by cutting and selling all the marketable trees on the old Boise Cascade property and then selling the remaining property. Union County bought the land in advance but did not buy the trees. Luckily for the forest the recession has stalled the planned log off and local "tree huggers" have used this time to try to save this part of the forest. It's a very worthy cause and I hope everyone who cares about preserving at least some of the mature forests of Oregon takes a look at this.

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