Lone Rock Timber Management Company has started work on the 1,440-foot-long road through forested land east of Roseburg in order to access its own plantation.
Conservationists have expressed disapproval of the logging that the road entails, as the area is home to old-growth timber and, according to a Bureau of Land Management wildlife report, is a potential habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl.
Christopher Pond of Dillard called the logging the worst abuse of a right-of-way agreement that he has seen.
“You cannot grow back 400-year-old trees on a 40- to 100-year rotation or the creation of a permanent road,” Pond said.
Cheyne Rossbach, a spokesman for the Roseburg BLM, said that all of the trees BLM had marked with wildlife tags are still standing and have not been cut as of Wednesday.
The O&C Logging Road Right-of-Way Agreement was set up in the 1960s to allow landowners to cross each others’ land to get to their own. In this case, Lone Rock is acting in accordance with the agreement with the construction of the road through public land in the Susan Creek area managed by the Roseburg Bureau of Land Management, according to Rossbach.
According to a contract, Lone Rock harvested more than 130 thousand board feet of timber on the BLM land and paid the BLM nearly $67,400.
Toby Luther, CEO of Lone Rock Timber, declined to say how many board feet of timber Lone Rock plans to harvest from its own plantation.
According to call logs posted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, an unidentified caller said a group of people threatened to burn Lone Rock to the ground in response to the logging Thursday evening.
Luther said right-of-way projects like this are very routine and allow landowners to safely access their properties, so he doesn’t see why this project is getting attention.
“The path across the BLM land is quite clear and our team worked with the agency to design a road that leaves the least amount of impact to resources,” Luther said. “That’s something that is very important to us as good stewards and neighbors.”
The company began logging trees in the area on May 4, and Luther said he expects work on the road will continue for a few more weeks.
“Since Lone Rock doesn’t operate a sawmill, the wood will, in turn, be sold to a mill at fair market value as well,” Luther said. “What that means is that there is no real economic benefit nor incentive to our company to harvest and sell any more logs than necessary to build the road.”
Conservationists have expressed outrage over a proposed access road to be constructed on pub…
Pond said he doesn’t believe Lone Rock’s statements made previously to The News-Review about avoiding the cutting of old-growth trees where possible. Pond said he took photos of large trees that were cut down for the road.
“They knew exactly what they were cutting and used gates and secrecy in hopes of keeping the public in the dark,” Pond said.
In order to access the BLM-managed property, the public needs to get permission to go through a gate owned by Lone Rock.
Pond said despite misconceptions, he and the other conservationists who are against the road do not want to lock up old growth and walk away.
“Active forest management can promote old-growth ecosystems and allow them to flourish, just not when they are cutting down the existing old trees,” Pond said. “A little transparency would be nice too.”