Forest logging project challenged

Four environmental organizations are among those challenging the Bush administration’s proposal to go ahead with the Than Brook timber sale on land in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.

The Sierra Club and its New Hampshire chapter were joined in the appeal by The Wilderness Society, Forest Watch and Frank Robey. The appeal was filed with the Forest Service’s Eastern Region in Milwaukee, Wis.

The timber sale is the first project proposed in a roadless area in the eastern United States since the administration rescinded the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001 that protected the nation’s last intact forests, according to the environmental organization.

“If we care about the overall health of New Hampshire’s forest landscape, we need to protect the few roadless forest areas that we have left,” said Jim Sconyers, conservation chair of the New Hampshire Sierra Club. “The Than Brook timber sale is completely out of step with science, common sense and the wishes of the citizens of New Hampshire.”

The Than Brook Project, approved by the Forest Service on May 16, would result in the logging of 473 acres of forest and construction of roads in the Wild River Roadless Area of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.

At 71,387 acres, Wild River is the largest national forest roadless area east of the Rocky Mountains, prized in part because it comprises a complete, pristine watershed.

The Than Project is the first of four new commercial logging and road construction proposals within inventoried roadless areas in the White Mountain National Forest. The other three are:

• The Batchelder Brook Timber Sale – 171 acres of commercial logging in the South Carr Mountain Roadless Area .
• The Wildwood Timber Sale – 552 acres of commercial logging in the Jobildunk Roadless Area
• The Mill Brook Timber Sale – 1,796 acres of commercial logging and 0.9 miles of road building in Kilkenny Roadless Area. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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