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

A Sad Day: DNR Approves Erickson Logging Permit

On Friday morning, May 3, The Washington State Department of Natural Resources approved Erickson Logging’s permit to clear cut Squak Mountain. This is a sad day for residents of Squak Mountain and May Valley, as well as the citizens of King County as a special urban forest seems destined to be felled by chain saws.

Save Squak and the Issaquah Alps Trail Club will continue the fight to save Squak Mountain, working with King County to purchase and protect this unique area for future generations as well as head off the flooding and property destruction in May Valley that would follow a clear cut.

Click to download the DNR’s decision granting the permit.

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Forest Practices Application/Notification Notice of Decision

King County Citizens Advisory Committee & Councilman Reagan Dunn Hike Squak Mountain

Early Saturday morning, April 27, members of the King County Conservation Futures Citizen’s Committee were joined by King County Councilman Reagan Dunn for an on-site briefing of the proposed Squak Mountain logging area and a discussion of how King County might purchase the land through the parks fund to preserve it.

A representative of Trust for Public Land was also on hand to view the property and consider possible participation as an intermediary to facilitate the county purchase.

Our own Dave Kappler led Councilman Dunn on a hike through the proposed clear cut area where one couldn’t help but marvel at the grand stands of trees nestled in an urban area — a refuge for endangered wildlife and place for citizens to experience the marvel of the unspoiled outdoors.

There was considerable discussion about the head waters of May Creek and how the forest land helps control run off. The proposed clear cut would severely impact May Creek which already suffers from flooding a good bit of the year.

Councilman Dunn expressed his support of the effort to Save Squak and vowed to do whatever he could do to accomplish it.

Members of the King County Conservation Futures Citizen’s Committee are briefed on the property and proposed logging area

Members of the King County Conservation Futures Citizen’s Committee are briefed on the property and proposed logging area

Councilman Dunn is accompanied to the top of the ridge above the proposed logging area

Councilman Dunn is accompanied to the top of the ridge above the proposed logging area

Councilman Dunn views the proposed logging area

Councilman Dunn views the proposed logging area

IATC President and Save Squak leader Dave Kappler joins Councilman Dunn on the ridge to inspect the logging area

IATC President and Save Squak leader Dave Kappler joins Councilman Dunn on the ridge to inspect the logging area

Dave Kappler points out sensitive areas as he guides Councilman Dunn on a hike through the forest area

Dave Kappler points out sensitive areas as he guides Councilman Dunn on a hike through the forest area

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

Issaquah Reporter: “Erickson files for new logging permit on Squak Mountain”

Apr 8, 2013, Issaquah Reporter: “Erickson files for new logging permit on Squak Mountain”

Issaquah Reporter’s Linda Ball has a great article in Monday’s issue about Erickson Logging’s resubmission of a permit to clear cut part of Squak Mountain. She brings new information to light:

  • Erickson intends to file another permit later to clear cut the remaining parcels
  • Erickson concedes he will need to do a study to determine if the endangered Marbled Murrelet is present since a DNR review has revealed the proposed logging area is a potential nesting area
  • The DNR will extend the public comment period to 30 days from the filing of the permit application instead of the 15 days stated in the application

Save Squak’s own Helen Farrington was quoted in the article, noting that this past weekend’s heavy rains caused May Creek to rise one and a half feet, much of it due to run off from the proposed logging area.

Click here to read the full story in the Issaquah Reporter.

 

Issaquah Press: “Logging company files new application for Squak Mountain”

Apr 5, 2013, Issaquah Press: “Logging company files new application for Squak Mountain”

The refilling for a clear cut logging permit on Squak Mountain was the subject of a front page article in the Issaquah Press in the Friday, April 5 issue.

Our own Dave Kappler was quoted extensively in the article:

“I’m sure they’ve been working with the WSDNR,” he said of the new application. “It’s definitely less than before, but of the 95 acres, they still plan to clear cut 95 percent of it.”

Click to read the full article in the Issaquah Press.

 

Issaquah Reporter: “Plot thickens on Squak”

Mar 20, 2013, Issaquah Reporter: “Plot thickens on Squak”

Issaquah Reporter’s Linda Ball has a front-page story on the Squak Mountain logging permit application in Wednesday’s issue. The article features an interview with our own Cathy Brandt who stressed the importance of long-term planning instead of short-term gain.

Erickson Logging says it intends to refile the application for a logging permit.

The effort to Save Squak from clear cutting is not over.

Click here to read Linda Ball’s full article in the Issaquah Reporter.

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