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Note: This is a case of the theft of selected old growth Juniper trees from a designated Wilderness Study Area, for purposes of sale to the Juniper furniture and architectural wood business.
Although the BLM officials state that this was a simple case of fire wood cutting by anonymous folks, we believe that is not true. (Illegal firewood cutting is not a high priority.)
We can see no evidence of wood cutting for fire wood or fence posts. The selected trees had been cut high in volcanic rock outcroppings, where they had been protected for perhaps hundreds of years from periodic natural fires. They were very tight ringed from very slow growth on top of the rock formations. Easy trees to take for fire wood on the flat, were by-passed to select these trees. There is no evidence of cutting or splitting the wood to short lengths. Very long chain saws were used. The loggers must have used a hoist on their truck to load the heavy logs and huge limbs.
The cut fence along Highway 20 was found and repaired by the BLM without anyone following the tracks to almost 20 old growth tree stumps, only a few of which are pictured above. The stumps were discovered and reported to the BLM by Badlands hikers. The BLM was not aware of the theft before their call on March 16, 2004. We photographed the stumps with the hikers on March 17 and alerted interested parties. We visited the site with ONDA, The Bulletin and the BLM the next day. Read the story.
The Juniper thieves will not be pursued due to
the workload of the under staffed and under funded Prineville office of the BLM
according to BLM officials.
The Badlands Wilderness
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OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions
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