WFLC Files IATC & Save Squak Comments in Opposition to Erickson Clearcut Plan

The Washington Forest Law Center (WFLC), representing the Issaquah Alps Trail Club (IATC) and grassroots citizens activist group Save Squak, on May 23, 2013 filed a comment letter with the Washington Department of Natural Resources in opposition to the newest Erickson Logging permit application. Erickson’s new application attempts to use a legal sleight-of-hand to avoid regulatory oversight by transferring ownership of the forest parcels to a newly formed limited liability corporation (LLC) that he claims is not an industrial logging operation.

This is a clear end run around the protections in the law and forest management regulations since Erickson is the sole owner of the new LLC and there is no real difference between it and his existing industrial logging operation. He now claims to be a “small forest landowner” under the guise of the this new company and thus exempt from regulatory protections of the endangered marbled murrelet habitat.

Click here to download our full comment letter along with all exhibits and maps.

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WFLC Comment Letter on Behalf of IATC & Save Squak

IATC & Save Squak Urge King County to Acquire Squak Mtn Parcels

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club and Save Squak sent a joint letter on Friday, April 19, 2013, to the King County Conservation Futures Citizens Oversight Committee encouraging it to include acquisition of the proposed logging area on Squak Mountain in its planning.

Click to download the letter here

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IATC & Save Squak Letter to King County Conservation Futures Citizens Oversight Committee

King County Reiterates Opposition to Erickson Application in Letter to DNR

The King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review reiterated its opposition to Erickson Logging’s application for a permit to clear cut Squak Mountain. In a letter to the Washington Department of Natural Resources on April 16, King County formally commented on the second permit application and strongly opposed DNR approval, noting the significant flooding problem currently suffered by May Valley will be exacerbated by denuding the mountain.

Click to download the King County letter to DNR.

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King County Letter to DNR Opposing Erickson Clear Cut

Issaquah Alps Trail Club & Save Squak Formally Oppose New Erickson Permit in DNR Filing by Washington Forest Law Center

The Washington Forest Law Center, which represents the Issaquah Alps Trail Club and Save Squak, filed our formal opposition to the new Erickson logging permit with the Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday. The WFLC is a non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to providing legal services to organizations that monitor and protect the Pacific Northwest’s private and state-owned forest lands.

In addition to incorporating our original letter in opposition, the latest filing with DNR outlines the significant issues still on the table that have not been addressed by Erickson Logging. These include:

  • Flooding of May Valley through excessive run-off
  • Soil instability due to road construction to access the timber
  • Erickson’s failure to conduct proper studies of stream flows and fish habitat
  • Impact on at risk and endangered wildlife including proximity to Marbled Murrelet critical habitat and possible nesting areas
  • Adverse impact to Hwy 900, a major transportation corridor that already suffers from closures to due flooding, that could also affect emergency services

In our opposition, we also note that the parcels for the proposed clear cutting should be reclassified due to a current permit pending for subdivision development and Erickson’s own statements that he may develop the property after logging. This is grounds for moving oversight of the property from DNR to King County.

We have the letter and supporting exhibits here online. Both are available in PDF format and available for reading online here.

Download WFLC’s Comment Letter on behalf of IATC & Save Squak to DNR

Read the first March 11 comment letter and exhibits in opposition here.

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WFLC Comment Letter to DNR in Opposition to New Erickson Logging Permit

Erickson Logging Files for New Permit

A New Clear Cut Permit has been filed by Erickson Logging for 95 acres on Squak Mountain. Possible habitat for the Marbled Murrelet and other land conditions seem to have spared much of the 216 acres for now. However, this new application includes 95 acres. Significant steep slopes and areas alongside streams are included in this planned harvest which would be conducted along SR 900 in Issaquah.

Our position is unchanged. These parcels are not suitable for a clear cut timber harvest based on their topography and their geology. They are not suitable due to their proximity to major population centers, major transportation routes (SR 900), key wildlife corridors, and existing State and regional park spaces. Soil erosion possibly leading to landslides after heavy rains would impact travel on State Route 900. Heavy equipment and log hauling trucks entering and exiting SR 900 (Renton Issaquah Road) would certainly congest traffic (grumble, grumble). Flooding concerns for May Valley are not diminished by this planned 95 acre clear cut.

Bottom line. The logger wants to sell this land and King County has expressed their interest in buying it for public parks. Let’s continue to raise public support and enlist conservation groups like Mountains to Sound and Forterra to get this deal done quickly. This could be a “Win Win” deal.

It doesn’t look like we have much time as the deadline for comments appears as of now to be Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Start writing now!

Click to download a copy of the new Erickson permit application to clear cut Squak Mountain.

King County Dept of Natural Resources & Parks Raises Issues With WA DNR On Logging Permit

The King County Water and Land Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Parks has sent a letter to the Washington Department of Natural Resources expressing its serious concerns about the Erickson Logging permit to clear cut portions of Squak Mountain.

King County called the proposed clear cut area exhibits slope instability and called it a sensitive area. The county asked for a complete geotechnical review and convening an interdisciplinary team with community representation.

Download King County Letter to Washington DNR

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King County Letter to DNR

Washington Forest Law Center Represents Issaquah Alps Trails Club & Save Squak in Opposing Logging Permit

The Washington Forest Law Center, a non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to providing legal services to organizations that monitor and protect the Pacific Northwest’s private and state-owned forest lands, has stepped forward to represent the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and grassroots citizen group, Save Squak.

On Monday, March 11, 2013, the Washington Forest Law Center sent a letter to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources strongly opposing the proposed permit by Erickson Logging to clear cut portions of Squak Mountain at the headwaters of May Creek.

We have the letter and supporting exhibits here online. Both are available in PDF format and available for reading online here.

Download WFLC’s Letter to DNR

Download Exhibits to the Letter

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WFLC Letter to DNR

WFLC Exhibits to DNR Letter

King County DDES Raises Concerns with State About Proposed Squak Mtn Logging

The King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review sent a letter on March 11, 2013, to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources expressing its concern about the environmental impact of the proposed logging of Squak Mountain.

DDES pointed out to DNR the historical flooding problems in May Creek and called for a thorough evaluation of the proposed logging project prior to granting the permit.

Download the King County Letter to DNR

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Urgent action needed!

To review the loggers application for a permit from The Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Click here: Erickson Logging FPA Application. The application was submitted February 26, 2013:

A CLEAR-CUT LOGGING PERMIT HAS BEEN FILED, requesting a 95% timber harvest on 195 of the 216 acres on Issaquah’s Squak Mountain. The DNR regulations are quite complex and how the 5% retention figure is calculated has to be one of the more complex issues. There are two classes of retained trees, “green wood” and “wildlife”. There are size requirements and some trees in buffer areas can be double counted. We hope to provide more details on forest practices regulations.  Squak Mountain is a serene urban forest in the Greater Seattle area, most of which has not seen logging for perhaps 100 years, or more. Washington State DNR Forest Practices confirmed the State’s acceptance of the application as complete when it was filed on February 26th.  The permit is now in the 30 day review process, and with approval logging can begin as soon as March 27th.

PUBLIC COMMENTS are being accepted during this review and may be submitted by emailing BRUCE.McDONALD@dnr.wa.gov and JAMES.HEURING@dnr.wa.gov. You may also reach them by phone at 360-825-1631. Emails or letters are preferred to ensure all comments become part of the public record.  You may refer to record permit number 2415960, OR you may reference the Erickson Logging parcels formerly owned by the Issaquah Highlands, LLC. The usual comment period is 14 days but we have been advised that the State DNR expects to accept comments thru the end of the 30 day review period, which ends on March 27th. We need your voices! HELP!

Additional elected officials that need to be contacted can be found here: 
http://savesquak.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/May-Creek-Flyer-How-Can-You-Help.pdf

Parcels To Be LoggedHM log map

Welcome to the Save Squak Website

A website created to share information about proposed logging and development of Squak Mountain in Issaquah, Washington. Please post your comments, concerns and questions! Also, ‘like’ our page at Facebook.com/SaveSquak and follow us on Twitter.com/SaveSquak.