Thursday Dec. 17 at 10 am, a patch of forest outside of Eugene goes to auction. That patch of forest, called the John's Last Stand timber sale by the Bureau of Land Management, is near the Willamette National Forest Hiking Trail and the Hardesty Mountain unroaded area.
Preserving the Hardesty wildlands complex, a little over 20 miles southwest of Eugene, has been a campaign of the Many Rivers Group Sierra Club for several years, and Many Rivers Group is protesting the sale along with Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild.
According to the BLM's sale proposal, John's Last Stand is being sold as a "regeneration harvest." Oregon Wild says the proposal calls for leaving only six to eight trees an acre — essentially a clearcut.
Oregon Wild says the forest is 116 years old and the clearcutting will be "just a stone's throw" from a hiking trail and in a roadless area close to Eugene. The Many Rivers Group says in its campaign to preserver Hardesty as a wild area that, "on the Umpqua side of the Hardesty divide is the headwaters for Cottage Grove's drinking water supply.
In their Dec. 3 protest letter to the Eugene BLM, the three groups write, "A large amount of clearcutting has occurred on private lands in this area in recent years. BLM should no add to the cumulative effects by conducing more regen, harvest which may have significant effects on water quality, wildlife habitat, and scenic values."
The groups have asked members of Oregon's congressional delegation, including Rep. Peter DeFazio, to halt the sale.