40 years ago, groups fighting for public forest management in the Pacific Northwest to value wildlife and clean water at least as much as corporate timber profits achieved a huge win when the United States Forest Service adopted the Northwest Forest Plan (“Plan”). The Plan tried to strike a balance between allowing logging and protecting habitat and water quality in National Forests across the Pacific Northwest. Since the Plan’s adoption, the Forest Service has made progress to restore some of the damage done by decades of unsustainable logging.

However, the Plan is not perfect. In creating the Plan, the Forest Service failed to adequately consult Tribes and local Indigenous communities. As it was adopted in 1994, the plan understandably did not address the impacts of the climate crisis on communities, forests, wildlife, and water quality. Finally, the Plan does not prohibit logging of our last remaining mature and old-growth forests.

Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape an updated version of the Northwest Forest Plan. Now through this Friday, Feb 2nd, you can submit a public comment to the Forest Service to make it clear: we need a forest plan that centers the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities and environmental justice, that boldly addresses the climate crisis, prioritizes community safety and health, and preserves old-growth and biodiversity.

The science on climate change and forest ecology is clear: we must protect remaining mature and old growth forests in the Cascadia bioregion both as our best safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change, and to protect the myriad of ecosystem benefits they provide for humans and other species.

The updated plan will shape the future of National Forest management in our region for years to come. Please speak up to ensure the updated plan reflects the current threats our forests face in the era of the climate crisis, as well as centering Tribes and BIPOC community voices.

In community,

Brenna Bell, 350PDX Climate Forest Manager