Lynx stops timber sale

  The Canada lynx - proposed but not yet listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act - has stopped a controversial timber sale in southern Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest.

Deputy Regional Forester Tom Thompson overturned an earlier decision to allow the 1,473-acre Tie Camp timber sale within a dense forest of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, high in the Sierra Madre Range, just south of Encampment, Wyo. Thompson said the sale's environmental review didn't analyze the area's potential as habitat for the wildcat, which may be reintroduced in Wyoming.

The reversal came in response to an appeal launched by Biodiversity Associates/

Friends of the Bow and 46 other groups and individuals. But the Laramie-based organization has mixed emotions about the decision.

"We'll take it," says staffer Jeff Kessler, "but it's likely to be a hollow victory." Kessler said the deputy regional forester threw out his group's most crucial claim: that the Medicine Bow is already overcut and that the sale would have entered a roadless area. District Ranger Don Carroll says that once the lynx studies are completed, which might be as soon as late December, the sale will be back.

Kessler also worries about justifying decisions to log an area on the basis of a single species' health. He likens it to the spotted owl debate, where one bird got all the attention, while the real issue was protecting an ecosystem. The Biodiversity Associates staffer laments, "They're blowing off all the other issues."

*Stanley Yung

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