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Clear Cut Logging in Colorado Challenged to Protect Lynx

April 27, 2015
Kevin Mueller (801) 466-4055
In This Release

Monday, April 27, 2015
Clear Cut Logging in Colorado Challenged to Protect Lynx

WildEarth Guardians Lawsuit Contests Forest Service Logging in Scenic Tennessee Pass
Contact: Kevin Mueller (801) 466-4055

Additional Contact:

John Mellgren,Western Environmental Law Center, 541-525-5087

DENVER — Out of concern that logging will spoil some of Colorado’smost scenic landscapes and lynx habitat, WildEarth Guardians, represented bythe Western Environmental Law Center, filed suit in federal court challengingthe “Tennessee Creek Project.” Tennessee Pass and its surrounding is famous as ahistoric World War II training ground for United States Army troops of the 10th Mountain Division. Amemorial to troops of the division is located at the summit of Tennessee pass.Tennessee Pass pc Kevin Mueller WG

“Tennessee Pass is thebest of the Colorado’s Rockies, its scenery, historic status and wildlife areat risk from 20 square miles of logging,” said Kevin Mueller, WildEarthGuardians Utah-Southern Rockies Conservation Manager. “If this forest servicelogging proposal is approved, a patchwork of clear cuts could be visible on allsides of the Turquoise Lake Basin.”

The lawsuit contests the Forest Service environmental assessmentand approval for logging nearly 20 square miles, between Leadville and Aspen. Theproposal includes 2,300 acres of clear-cutting on slopes above Tennessee andHalfmoon Creeks as well as Turquoise Lake west of Leadville, in the headwatersof the Arkansas River.

“This litigation centers on USFS refusal to protect forestedslopes known to represent critical den habitat for threatened lynx,” saidattorney John Mellgren of the Western Environmental Law Center. “Our goal isecologically resilient forests that support healthy wildlife and lynx populations.Clear-cutting would further undermine lynx and other vulnerable species.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first listed lynx as athreatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2000. Lynxhabitat is under threat across the contiguous U.S., where climate change, roadbuilding, motorized recreation, and logging all pose serious threats to keyhabitat.

WildEarth Guardians is alarmed at a new trend: the ForestService approving large-scale logging without identifying exactly whichmountain slopes will be affected.

“The government is legally obligated to look before it leapsand keep the public informed which it clearly is not doing here in TennesseePass,” said Mueller. “We will not simply give the Forest Service a blank slateto log in a manner to be determined at a later date. The public deserves toknow their plans up front.”

WildEarth Guardians is represented by the WesternEnvironmental Law Center. A copy of the complaint is available here.

Tennessee Pass Logging Map

Treatment areas outlined in red.

Other Contact
John Mellgren, Western Environmental Law Center, 541-525-5087
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