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Scoping period opens for timber harvest posted on 01/01/2020

The official scoping period opened for the Zigzag Integrated Resource Project, consisting of two timber harvests in the Mount Hood National Forest (MHNF) scheduled to take place in 2020, was expected to begin in the first or second week of January, according to Zigzag Ranger District Ranger Bill Westbrook.

Westbrook noted that he received requests for the scoping period to be extended, including one from the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization, citing concerns over winter access to the locations where the harvests will take place. But he added that while he was considering extending the scoping period to 60 days, it was most likely this opportunity for public comments would last 30 days.

However, the scoping period is just one opportunity for the public to offer comments, and there will be others as the process moves forward.

“We do want to hear any concerns; input from the public is ongoing,” Westbrook said. “We just have to continue to work through the process. As we receive info we can incorporate it into the documents.”

The two harvests are slated for the Mud Creek Loop area and the Horseshoe area up Lolo Pass, which will help fulfil a quota of 35 million board feet for the 2020 fiscal year in the MHNF. The last sales in the area date to the early 1990s, thanks to much of the acreage in the forest designated as wilderness or recreation areas, or as part of the Bull Run watershed.

Two other areas were considered, USFS land around Government Camp and the Linney Creek Area.

All four areas contain tree stands that were previously managed, such as old clearcuts or stands planted after fires. Linney Creek area was dropped because the trees aren’t ready for harvest, while Government Camp will be considered in a separate effort with an eye towards fire mitigation.

Westbrook expects more information and an electronic-based storyboard on the project to be available through the MHNF website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/mthood/

By Garth Guibord/MT

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