field trip

Northeast Washington Forest Coalition members take a field trip with U.S. Forest Service staff.

COLVILLE – The Northeast Washington Forest Coalition has filed an objection to the San Poil project on the Colville National Forest.

It is the coalition’s first objection in its 18-year history.

The group said it is dissatisfied with the U.S. Forest Service’s collaboration on the project. Maps provided to the public were not user-friendly and hampered the coalition’s ability to field-verify treatments and potential impacts.

Of particular concern is violation of the group’s longstanding collaborative agreement with the Forest Service not to operate in roadless areas, especially is proposed treatments preclude the land from being included in the wilderness preservation system.

Concerns include:

-Adequate public information was not provided.

-The project “does not sufficiently trend toward landscape resiliency.”

-Shaded fuel breaks would be used inappropriately in and adjacent to inventoried roadless areas and recommended wilderness.

-The proposal insufficiently analyzes unauthorized road impacts and wildlife viability.

-Scenic integrity near trails and within inventoried roadless areas would be inadequately preserved.

“The objection aims to find a resolution to these issues without legal action and to improve project quality,” said the coalition.

“While we like many aspects of the San Poil project, there are portions that go against our longstanding collaborative agreements,” said coalition president Matt Scott, also the Vaagen Brothers Timber Inc. representative on the coalition board.

“We aim to help the Colville National Forest create the best possible project that promotes science-based ecological restoration for our forest and aquatic habitats, and preserves wilderness qualities in appropriate areas,” said Tiana Luke, a board member and Conservation Northwest’s northeast Washington conservation associate.

The coalition, formed 2002, said it works in concert with the national forest to promote ecological forest restoration, aquatic restoration, wildland protection, recreation and economic stability in the community.

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