Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lawsuit filed to stop logging near Rio Grande headwaters

Environment News Service: Two conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging a logging project on national forest lands in southwestern Colorado that they claim would impact the headwaters of the Rio Grande river. Colorado Wild and WildEarth Guardians filed suit challenging the Handkerchief Mesa timber sale on the Rio Grande National Forest, represented by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

The U.S. Forest Service proposes to manage timber and road resources in the Handkerchief Mesa Landscape, with various treatments including harvesting of 10 to 13 million board feet of timber, prescribed burning, and road management. The area runs from the town of South Fork to the Continental Divide, from Hwy 160 and Wolf Creek Pass on the west to Beaver Mountain, Willow Park and Crystal Lakes on the east.

"This is the headwaters of the Rio Grande and deserves the most cautious management," said Bryan Bird, public lands director at WildEarth Guardians. "Pushing a logging project in the worst lumber market in history is simply foolish, especially when our national forests provide higher value to Americans in clean water, recreation and fighting climate change," said Bird….

The cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon provide a cool shady area at the Rio Grande River contrasting with the blistering desert beyond. Shot by Ultratomio, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License

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