Conservation group Los Padres ForestWatch has launched a resistance campaign against two proposed commercial logging projects near Mt. Pinos along the Tecuya Ridge and in Cuddy Valley.
The 2,800 acres of forest, activists say, is home to rare animal and plant species, including the endangered California condor. And according to Bryant Baker, conservation director for ForestWatch, the projects will ostensibly be done for fire prevention purposes, but that is not a guaranteed outcome. “That’s just kind of a way to dress these projects up so they can do a logging and subsequent timber sale,” he said.
Baker explained that the projects are exempt from environmental review, meaning there will not be further study of their impact. The categorical exclusion that the Forest Service cited for skipping the review is that the projects could be used for “timber stand improvements,” which could include “thinning or brush control … to reduce fire hazard.”
ForestWatch maintains that commercial logging, if approved, could increase the severity of wildfires. There is currently no estimated timeline for when logging would start or finish. “They provided very little information about this project,” Baker said.
Now may be the only opportunity for the public to weigh in on the proposed projects, according to Baker. Public comment is accepted through April 19 on the Forest Service and ForestWatch websites.