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Wild Olympics report shows no impact to current timber jobs

October 31, 2012

A new report, commissioned by the Wild Olympics campaign and researched by Stewardship Forestry, focuses on the impact of the Wild Olympics Plan on the Olympic National Forest timber supply. Over the past 3 years, the report shows that the plan has been adjusted and concludes that “the proposed wilderness within the Wild Olympics legislation will not limit timber supply under the current management policy framework, and thus should not result in reduced harvesting or job losses.”

Stewardship Forestry’s Derek Churchill, who has worked with ONF staff on designing and reviewing timber sales in the past, concluded that less than 1 percent of the proposed 126,000-acre wilderness is harvestable under the current management policies of the Olympic National Forest. Earlier drafts of the proposal had contained nearly five times that amount. The study showed more than 99 percent of the wilderness proposed in the final legislation is already out of the timber base either because of current Forest Service administrative protections, or other factors. The proposed wilderness designation would make current administrative protections permanent. In addition, the report confirmed that the Wild and Scenic River designations proposed in the legislation will have no impact on ONF timber production.

The report concludes that 190,000 acres of available timber harvest capacity exists on the Olympic National Forest that would be unaffected by the proposed designations in the legislation. Because the current rate of harvest averages only 1,350 acres annually, the report concludes that the Olympic National Forest could significantly accelerate its current rate of harvest for 50 years or more.

The full Stewardhip Forestry report can be downloaded at http://www.wildolympics.org.

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