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 National Forest Logging in Colorado Stopped: Lynx, Soils and Water Safe for Now

Dear Guardian, 

Nearly 3,500 acres of Rocky Mountain spruce-fir forests near the headwaters of the Rio Grande will be spared the chainsaw as a result of a precedent-setting legal victory from WildEarth Guardians.

Our hard-fought lawsuit, which comes after three years of legal battles, halts a massive logging project on Handkerchief Mesa within the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado. The court order puts a stop to logging 8.3 million board feet of timber — or about 2,075 log trucks full — and the reconstruction of nearly 11 miles of roads in a highly sensitive watershed feeding the iconic Rio Grande.

On February 9th, the United States District Court in Denver agreed with WildEarth Guardians that the Forest Service had failed to ensure protection of soils and forests already suffering a pest infestation.

The lawsuit is noteworthy because it forces the Forest Service to account for changes in forest ecology and health from insects that occur not only due to the agencies’ own actions but that also result from climate change.

It’s no longer business as usual for the government agency known for money-losing timber sales. WildEarth Guardians and its colleagues are watching closely. Students at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law Environmental Law Clinic argued the case for WildEarth Guardians and Rocky Mountain Wild.

Handkerchief Mesa is near Wolf Creek Pass in Southern Colorado and is still recovering from vast clear cuts and scorched-earth logging in the latter half of the 20th century. The soils in the Handkerchief Mesa area are severely prone to erosion and landslides, and as a result, the area’s streams continue to be poisoned with sediment. The spruce-fir and glorious aspen forests are home to the elusive Canada lynx, which now has one more forest refuge. Now we need to ensure this place is safe from the chainsaws forever.

Help us leverage this legal victory by supporting our  Southwestern National Forests protection campaign. Please give generously today and we promise to do our part to ensure these forests survive and recover from a century of abuses. 


For Wild Forests,
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Bryan Bird Staff Photo

Bryan Bird
Wild Places Program Director
WildEarth Guardians
bbird@wildearthguardians.org

Rio Grande National Forest pc Bryan Bird

Guardians has won a legal suit to protect the Rio Grande National Forest from destructive logging.
 

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Read more about our victory on eNews Park Forest.


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