For the first time in the history of the Forest Service, the high bidder of a timber sale has no intention of felling the trees. The Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Bellingham, Wash., bid $29,000 for the Thunder Mountain salvage sale, a 275-acre roadless tract in Washington's Okanogan National Forest.
Forest Service may not go through with the sale. Agency sale leader
Don Rose says the sale is part of a Forest Service plan to provide
timber to local mills, and the alliance's bid will probably be
rejected if the group maintains its position of refusing to
"For any high bidder to come in and decide
what to do with the land short-circuits ... the Forest Service
plan," says Rose.
The agency had trouble finding
bidders for the sale, Rose says, but after lowering the price and
the environmental standards for the project it was able to lure two
bidders besides the conservation group.
salvage logging rider prevented the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance
from opposing the sale in other ways, says Evan Frost, ecologist
for the organization, so "one of our few tools is to put our money
where our mouth is."
Although the group knows it
may not win the contract, it is proceeding with a public
"adopt-an-acre" program to raise money to pay for the trees. For
information about the effort, call 800/878-9950.