Sunday, February 12, 2012

URGENT... STOP BLACK HILLS LOGGING>>> READ & pass on, please. (fwd) !!


Hello Defenders,

This is an urgent message as emailed comments are due by Monday, Feb.
13, 2010, to help protect the small, last wilderness area in the Black

The US Forest Service is planning on logging and-or burning 43,516
acres in the Hell Canyon Ranger District under a project called the
Vestal Project. Sixty percent of the area is National Forest acres and
and almost all of that area will be logged. More detailed information
is available at the Friends of the Norbeck website: FotN VESTAL
Project Webpage

The Project is being done under the "Healthy Forests" Act, which
greatly rushes and simplifies the environmental analysis and public
participation process. In this project, the rush is due to the alleged
need to reduce and preclude impacts from mountain pine beetles. The
reason given is to stop wildfires in the Forest. However, a recent
scientific look at all the data for the last 100 years shows that the
mountain pine beetles are not the cause of wildfires. For that
complete report, go to Friends of the Norbeck at

Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Study are due this Monday,
February 13, 2012, and can be emailed to:

Email your comment with "Vestal Project" in subject line.
Some of the following points that can be used in your comments are:

1) The northeast portion of the Project Area (north of US Highway 16A
and east of US Highway 16) should be analyzed under a separate EIS
that explores designation of this area as part of the Okawita Paha
National Monument.

2) This northeast portion of the Project Area contains critical
habitat for the Bear and Needles mountain goat groups, and corridors
for the sensitive pine marten, a small little bird, must be protected
not logged or burned.

3) This northeast portion of the Project Area has been proposed for
sacred landscape designation and management under the Okawita Paha
National Monument. The proposed logging and burning would desecrate
this sacred landscape, which is sacred to many Native American nations
across North America.

4) More than half of the Vestal Project Area under federal law is
supposed to have wildlife (big game winter range) or recreation
(Buckhorn Mountain limited motorized use area) objectives. Logging
every acre in these forest management areas will prevent achievement
of these objectives to the detriment of wildlife.

5) The rational used by the Forest Service that there is a "mountain
pine beetle epidemic occurring within the project area" calls the
proposed actions into question. Logging and burning could intensify
the insect outbreaks, rather than contain them. See Pine Beetles and Fire Hazard in the Black Hills for more information.

6) The Project relies on a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for
Custer, SD, that may not have been properly adopted. Ask the question:
was a valid Community Wildfire Protection Plan the underlying reason
for this project, and not the protection of the Forest and all the
species living there, and not the protection of all the sacred places
in the proposed area?

Please pass this Alert on to others as this is a National Forest and
all people throughout the United States should be concerned and

If you live close to the Black Hills, take a drive on the highway
behind Mount Rushmore to see the logging devastation that has already
occurred there, in a supposedly protected Wild Life Area.

Also, please consider the sacredness of this area. The destruction and
desecration of sacred sites must be stopped.

Forty comments could make this a "major public controversy" subject to
more in-depth review. Please, send your comment now so a more in-depth
study can be started, not the speedy process that is currently

Thank you.

Charmaine White Face, Coordinator
Defenders of the Black Hills
PO Box 2003
Rapid City, SD 57709

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