The U.S. Forest Service is trying to allow private timber companies to log in parts of Los Padres National Forest burned in last summer’s Day Fire.

Timber companies would be allowed to take 774,000 board feet from more than 1,000 acres of the forest, including Alamo Mountain and Grade Valley Road, two scenic areas in northern Ventura County much used by campers and hikers.

Logging trucks would cross Piru Creek, which has been recommended for protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The Forest Service itself, in an economic assessment, found that the costs of the project would likely exceed the revenue received from the logging companies.

The agency says that the main purpose of the project is to maintain safety for visitors. Los Padres ForestWatch, however, has visited the areas slated for logging, and found many healthy trees that did not fit the Forest Service’s definition of “hazardous,” but were nevertheless marked for cutting.

ForestWatch sent a letter to the Forest Service, making these points:

1. The forest needs time to recover. The Day Fire happened only a year ago. Allowing heavy logging equipment onto soils stripped by the fire will lead to erosion, and sediment will wash into Piru Creek. In addition, wildlife needs to recover. This would be hindered by taking out standing and fallen dead trees that wildlife needs for habitat.

2. The Forest Service should conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA) before allowing the project to go forward. An EA looks at the environmental effects of a proposed project, as well as describing less damaging alternatives. The agency says it doesn’t need an EA on this project, but ForestWatch thinks that pushing the salvage logging project ahead without one would violate the National Environmental Policy Act.

3. The project would cut too many trees, and take healthy trees as well as dying ones. The ForestWatch visit to the proposed logging site turned up trees that did not match the Forest Service’s criteria for fire-damaged trees that may be logged in a salvage project. Some of the trees marked to be cut were large trees, important to the health of the forest, that had been only moderately damaged by the fire.

4. The ForestWatch team noticed illegal off-road vehicle trails in the area, and fears that the logging project will make it even easier for off-roaders to access the area.


ForestWatch is calling for the Forest Service to not allow commercial logging in Los Padres, and asking that the agency reconsider the trees it has marked for removal. The group suggests that the Forest Service remove truly hazardous trees near trails and campgrounds itself to ensure visitor safety. ForestWatch recommends that the agency fell hazardous trees to block illegal off-road trails.

You can use these talking points in your message. Send your email to Forest Supervisor Ken Heffner at


The official deadline for comments is Wednesday, Aug,. 8, but the Forest Service has said it will consider any comments that come in before its final decision is made sometime in mid-August.

For more information on Los Padres National Forest, visit Los Padres ForestWatch at http://www.lpfw.org


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places