Slopes of Mount Walker spared from timber harvest

QUILCENE — Timber won’t be harvested on Mount Walker as part of an upcoming timber sale, an Olympic National Forest Olympic National Forest supervisor said.

Mount Walker timber harvesting was originally proposed as part of the more than 3,000-acre Jackson timber sale, which would include the harvest of second- and old-growth trees, but Olympic National Forest supervisor Dale Hom said Wednesday that Walker would be spared from the sale.

Olympic Forest Coalition activists, who see Mount Walker as a natural icon overlooking the Hood Canal, hailed the decision.

“The big news is they dropped all the old-growth,” said Kevin Geraghty of Seattle, a coalition member along with Quilcene resident Connie Gallant and John Woolley of Sequim.

“We are pleased that we don’t have to appeal it.”

The sale proposed in May 2005 could have generated up to 40 million board-feet of timber.

In his decision to instead thin smaller trees on 1,590 acres of National Forest timberland west of Mount Walker and U.S. Highway 101, Hom cited coalition members’ fears that clear-cut logging and additional logging roads would be harmful to water quality and fish habitat.

Also taken out of the sale were the eastern slopes of Buck Mountain and Mount Turner.

Certain areas in the vicinity of Rocky Brook that sport older forest attributes also were spared.

In the accepted alternative, 3.1 miles of new logging roads would be cut and acreage harvested would be at 60 percent to 90 percent crown closure — which refers to the percentage of ground covered by a vertical projection of the outermost perimeter of tree crowns in a stand.

Geraghty said the Walker and Turner units proposed in the original plan contained some trees older than 115 years.

Gallant, who with others in Quilcene founded www.savemountwalker.com to draw attention to the National Forest’s logging proposal, said Mount Wallker holds “a very, very nice backdrop of maturing trees to nice old growth.”

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