A recently proposed 210 acre even-aged logging and thinning project right between the current Apple Orchard Special Management Area (SMA) and Thunder Ridge Wilderness. Several of the cutting units are located along scenic Rt. 812 (Warbler Rd.) just below Sunset Fields. The project is located in the Peaks of Otter salamander conservation area, part of a small area that is habitat for one of the rarest salamanders in North America. The cutting units are at the headwaters of North Creek and include portions of several stands over 100 yrs. old and includes FS identified old growth.
This project is the reincarnation of an unwise logging proposal that the FS has been unsuccessfully pushing (in several forms) for over 12 years. Ten years ago, a state fisheries biologist cautioned the FS against logging this area because of its location at the sensitive headwaters of a trout stream (North Creek). And twelve years ago, during the North Creek Opportunity Area Analysis twelve years ago, the Sierra Club wrote the Forest Service asking them to consider importance of the area between Apple Orchard SMA and Thunder Ridge Wilderness Area as a wildlife movement corridor. Twelve years later, the Forest Service is still trying to push this project through.
Upper Pedlar Timber Sale – Proposed 108 acres of even aged logging and 1.4 miles of road building near the Pedlar River and in the Big Branch area southeast of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Older forests could be targeted. The Glenwood-Pedlar RD has been fast-tracking timber sales in the last year or two, and, consequently, short-cutting its environmental analysis. If not for the vigilance of citizens, the Upper Pedlar area could soon be the Forest Service’s next victim. The initial comment period for this project has ended. The FS will release an environmental assessment, and provide further opportunities to comment on the project later.
Arnold Valley Timber Sale – New timber sale proposed in a wide valley known for its rich forests and tall oak trees. One of many timber sales that have been proposed in this area below Thunder Ridge Wilderness and James River Face Wilderness areas. The Forest Service is expected to be taking initial comments on this proposal in the near future.
Shady Mountain Timber Sale – A 127 acre logging project in the Pedlar RD, south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, that could affect rare mussels like the James spiny mussel and green floater. This timber sale was planned near trout waters and camping areas along Little Irish Cr. The FS dismissed impacts to the nearby Appalachian Trail offhand by saying the logging would not be apparent to “casual and inattentive hikers,” ignoring altogether the many serious or attentive hikers that use this world-class trail. Older forests would also be especially hard hit by this logging project – according to FS data, only 10% of forests in the project area are older forest groves over 130 yrs., but the FS plans to log 1/5 of these remaining older forests in the area. Virginia Forest Watch appealed this project in May 2003.
McJennings Timber Sale – This 179 acre logging project in the Glenwood RD just to the north of the Peaks of Otter was approved by the FS in September 2001. One of three destructive logging projects in the Harkening Hill area over the last decade. Wildlaw opposed this project for Virginia Forest Watch and other groups in the courts.