Zoom in on the interactive Google Map to see where the DNR plans to log around the Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT).
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.
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.
- The Earth Law Center’s and Center for Whale Research’s comments regarding TCB23 and Power Plant.
- Scott McGee’s comments regarding DNR’s lack of analysis of the climate impacts of the TBC23 timber harvest (based heavily on comments from the Center for Sustainable Economy and Save the Olympic Peninsula on the Wilson timber sale)
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.
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.
What can we do?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help spread the word!
- 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.
- Senator Kevin Van De Wege email@example.com
- Representative Steve Tharinger firstname.lastname@example.org
- Representative Mike Chapman email@example.com
New Trees are No Substitute for Old Trees – Politico article by Dr. Norm Christenson and Dr. Jerry Franklin
- WA State Teacher/Student/Parent Petition to protect Legacy Forests
- Pacific Northwest Forest Climate Alliance – Call to Action
- Olympic Climate Action
- Article: Washington mistakenly relies on logging as a climate solution
- 2022 Presidential Executive Order on preserving mature and old growth forests – Climate Forests Summary
- Climate Forests – Older Forests Factsheet
- Wild Carbon Storage in Old Forests
- Meeting GHG reduction targets requires accounting for all forest sector emissions
All images are ©Forest2Sea unless otherwise noted. Please contact us if you’d like to use any of these images to help save our legacy forests!