Forest Service Moves Forward With Old-growth Logging on Rim of Grand Canyon

By The Center for Biological Diversity

TUCSON, Ariz.— Thousands of trees that have stood on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for more than a century will be cut down later this year as a result of the scheduled “Wild Buck” timber sale today at the North Kaibab Ranger District office of the Kaibab National Forest.

The Center for Biological Diversity has aggressively fought this timber sale for more than a decade, delaying its progress for years. Despite outcry from citizens across the country, the Forest Service is pushing the logging forward under the guise of “forest restoration” and has scheduled a public timber auction where logging companies will bid to log the trees.

“Old-growth ponderosa pine is extremely rare in the Southwest and critically important to the survival of rare animals like northern goshawks and Kaibab squirrels on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon,” said Center Public Lands Campaigner Katie Davis. “While the Forest Service has raised the specter of high-severity fire again and again to justify cutting down old-growth pines in Arizona, any forest ecologist can tell you that big, old ponderosa pines are naturally fire resistant.”

The Center has advocated selective thinning on the Kaibab National Forest that would retain large, old trees, recognizing that decades of fire suppression and livestock grazing have increased the risk of fire on the forest by allowing overcrowding of smaller, younger trees and the spread of flammable invasive grasses. But the Forest Service continues to reject this strategy, opting instead for projects that put more money in the pockets of timber companies.

Logging thousands of majestic old trees from the forest surrounding the Grand Canyon will put the species that depend on these large trees at even greater risk, exacerbating the impacts already being felt due to climate change.

“This destructive and irrational timber sale highlights the need to permanently protect the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from logging and other damaging extractive industries,” said Davis.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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