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.
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
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
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.
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.