The McKenzie River Ranger District is seeking public input on the Revised Trapper Project, which is located north of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest near McKenzie Bridge, OR. This project is a revision of the original Trapper Project, which was part of a 1997 study that was designed to use timber harvest and prescribed fire to emulate natural disturbance processes.
The revision is the result of a court directive in 2011 to the Forest Service to review the Trapper Project and determine impacts to the Northern Spotted Owls and the learning value of the project, as well as to bring the project up to changing standards for environmental review. Under this revision, there will be significant changes.
“The main difference between the original and revised project is the reduction of harvest from 149 acres to 44 acres,” said Terry Baker, the McKenzie River District Ranger. “Additionally, impacts to Northern Spotted Owls will be significantly less than in the previous project and we expect there will be no adverse effects to water quality or fish habitat.”
The Forest Service is proposing to complete this portion of the project in order to respect the contractual commitments with the sale purchaser, while still protecting sensitive species habitat. The reduction in the acres between the two projects is largely due to changes in data collected for sensitive species.
The original idea of the project was to explore new management ideas and provide both quality long term wildlife habitat and timber products. The original Trapper Project proposed to harvest 149 acres, removing approximately 50% of the trees through a timber sale, followed by a prescribed burn intending to kill many of the remaining live trees—ultimately reducing the stands to a 15% canopy cover. The result would be a stand with an overstory of large live and dead standing trees, similar to what would be seen following a high-severity wildfire.
The Revised Trapper Project proposes to harvest approximately 75% of the standing trees on approximately 44 acres and use prescribed fire to underburn approximately 36 of those 44 acres.
To review the project, go to www.fs.usda.gov/willamette and click on Trapper. Comments are due March 11, 2013 and should be submitted to Trapper@fs.fed.us. A public meeting will be held to explain the project in early March.
Background: The original Trapper Project was sold to Seneca Jones Timber Company in 2003. Seneca filed paperwork to initiate harvest in August 2010. On-going studies found spotted owl nest sites had changed, prompting the Forest Service to suspend operations. Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit to halt the sale and the judge then ordered a revision of the project. The Revised Trapper Project is the product of that revision.
Source: Willamette National Forest