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Breaking: The Power Plant timber sale has been cancelled by the WA DNR!

Zoom in on the interactive Google Map to see where the DNR plans to log around the Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT).

Please help us save the Elwha River Watershed from more extractive logging!

The proposed DNR timber sales named “Power Plant” and “TCB23” will log approximately 172 acres near the Elwha River and Highway 112, and popular recreation areas, such as the Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT)

Power Plant borders the Elwha River and TCB23 is on the hillside overlooking the former Lake Aldwell site on the Elwha River. Both are part of the Elwha River watershed.

The timber sale for “Power Plant” has now been canceled by the DNR and 69 acres of it proposed for inclusion in the Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) program. See the DNR Press Release and Map and the Clallam County Board of County Commissioners draft response to the DNR. Also see the Seattle Times article and the Peninsula Daily News article.

TCB23 contains a globally critically imperiled plant community (see here for more details), but has been auctioned to a timber company (Murphy), but Public Lands Commissioner (and WA gubernatorial candidate) Hilary Franz can still CANCEL the sale and SAVE these forests. Please tell her to cancel “TCB23” NOW – (360) 902-1000 or hilary.franz@dnr.wa.gov!

Quick Links:

  • Donate to the Elwha Forest Fund – Your tax deductible donation will go directly to protect legacy forests within the Elwha River Watershed. Earth Law Center manages the fund. 
  • Read the Port Angeles City Councils letter supporting a pause
  • Urge the Clallam County Commissioners and DNR to pause by sending a letter!

Elwha River Watershed

With the removal of the 2 dams on the Elwha River, there’s over a $320 million dollar effort to restore the Elwha watershed. This includes work to restore salmon access up the Elwha and its tributaries. The Power Plant and TCB23 forests are part of the watershed that feeds directly into the Elwha River.

Legacy forests play a crucial role in protecting water quality. Trees in these forests act as natural filters, removing pollutants and contaminants from the water before it reaches streams, rivers, and lakes. They also help to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, which can clog water sources and decrease their quality. Additionally, the root systems of trees in legacy forests help to regulate water flow and reduce the risk of flooding. Cutting down these forests would impact the quality of water sources in the area.

The Elwha River is the sole water supply for the City of Port Angeles and also a key source of salmon for the critically endangered southern resident orcas.

Graphic showing some of the upcoming legacy forest timber sales in the Elwha Watershed, as seen from Aldwell Unit 3.

TCB23

Ironically named for the endangered Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly

The TCB23 timber sale, ironically named for the endangered Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly which has habitat in the area, will log 46 acres of beautiful legacy forest. This name hints at DNR’s plan to convert 7 acres of that forest into a potentially permanent clear-cut for their habitat.

​Read the Olympic Forest Coalition’s TCB23 SEPA comments, which includes an explanation of TCB habitat and how this area’s location was never habitat for them. We agree with their comment that creating this artificial habitat is poor reasoning for logging a complex legacy forest.

Also see:

TCB23 was found to contain a global and state critically imperiled plant community – Thuja plicata – Abies grandis / Polystichum munitum Forest (G1/S1) – the highest level of imperiled, one step above extinct. It was discovered by Center for Responsible Forestry surveyors and then surveyed by the Washington Natural Heritage Program, at the request of the DNR Olympic Region Manager. We hope DNR will do the right thing and cancel the clear cutting of this imperiled forest.

In addition to logging the Olympic Adventure Trail, there are also popular mountain biking trails just adjacent to TCB23, like “Catfish Taco” and “Pop Vulture”. These trails will be closed during the logging and won’t be the same after.

Logging it will create a scar on the landscape for a decade or more and will affect local businesses, like eco-tourism companies Magic Forest Tours and Adventures Through Kayaking, which all earn money through eco-tourism on the Olympic Adventure Trail.

Power Plant

Next to the Elwha River

The Power Plant timber sale will log 126 acres of forest across 4 units, two of which straddle the Olympic Adventure Route, the third at the Colville Mountain Bike Trails and the final unit next to Highway 112. Power Plant was sold at timber auction on July 26, 2023. Logging could start as early as August 2023 and it is in urgent need of protection!

​Power Plant contains an unusually high number of older large trees among younger ones because it was last logged using the shelterwood silvicultural method. DNR should manage this forest to increase its structural complexity so that it will eventually become an old growth stand, while retaining all other legacy forests in the Elwha River Watershed, including those with the sale names, “Parched”, “Tree Well”, “Alley Cat” and “Salt and Pepper” (now “Shore Thing”?).

In harvesting the older trees, DNR will destroy the younger regenerating forest which can only be used for pulp that will, in turn, quickly release carbon back into the atmosphere.

This image shows a culturally modified tree in Power Plant, which is from traditional cultural resource use of cedar, the indigenous practice of cedar stripping. The tape indicates it will not be cut, but it will become a vulnerable and stand-alone tree after harvest.

Trails through Power Plant are used to get to the old Elwha dam site and rock climbing areas and a portion of the Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT) will be turned into a new logging road, on the south side of where it crosses the power line clearing. This will close access to the OAT from Highway 112, while the logging is ongoing.

See the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) review comments from Earth Law Center and Center for Whale Research.

Climate Change

Conserving mature and old-growth forests is one of the most affordable and effective tools for fighting climate change. No human-made technology can match big trees for removing and storing climate pollution. If they are logged, most of that pollution is quickly released into the atmosphere and it takes many decades or centuries for younger trees to recapture it.
We have lost most of our mature and old-growth forests across the country due to past logging. This is a serious problem because healthy mature and old-growth forests provide drinking water to communities, protect fish and wildlife, and absorb and store vast amounts of climate pollution. To protect what we have left and recover what has been lost, it is critical that we protect both mature and old-growth forests from being cut down in the future.
See the declaration from Dr. Dominick DellaSala (Chief Scientist at Wild Heritage) regarding climate aspects associated with logging on lands managed by the WA State DNR.

What can we do?

Take Action!

1. Contact your Representatives

Use the Action Network form to create an email to the DNR and the Clallam County Commissioners.

Add any of your own words & personal details to your email to make it even more effective!

2. Speak or Comment at the next Clallam County Commissioners Meeting

When: Every Tuesday @  10 am – 11:30 am 

Where: The Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E 4th St. in person OR on Zoom.

  • Use this Comment Guide
  • Enter the door with the large community kiosk in front of it. Once inside, take a left. Walk down the hallway until you get to the meeting room on your left.
  • Find zoom information in the meeting agenda here.

3. Volunteer to protect our Elwha and Legacy Forests

4. Spread the Word

  • Host a presentation in the community
  • Tell 5 friends/neighbors about the Power Plant and TCB23 timber sales & pass on the actions info
  • Email olympic@c4rf.org if you want to help spread the word!

5. Donate

  • Donate to the Elwha Forest Fund – Your tax deductible donation will go directly to stop the “Power Plant” timber sale or to otherwise protect forests within the Elwha River Watershed. Earth Law Center manages the fund. 
6. As a bonus action, let your State and Federal representatives know that you support preserving our older forests:
State legislative representatives:
Federal legislative representatives: