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USDA Forest Service Resumes Select Timber Management Activities in Tonto National Forest

Mexican Spotted Owl. Courtesy Photo.

Court approves stipulation modifying the injunction for certain activities in Arizona and New Mexico 

Today, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona issued an order allowing select timber management activities to resume in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona as well as five national forests in New Mexico.

Regional Forester Cal Joyner said, “We continue to extend our gratitude to our state and federal partners and countless community leaders for their continued support. We are committed to being as open and transparent as possible in notifying interested groups and individuals when we take steps aimed at alleviating the stressors of the recent court-ordered injunction.”

Activities to resume include cutting the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, personal Christmas tree cutting, the cutting of personal use forest products such as vigas and latillas, special product collection by tribes for ceremonial purposes and the cutting of certain hazard trees.

Certain projects entirely outside of Mexican spotted owl Protected Activity Centers critical and recovery habitat will resume along with prescribed burning projects within certain limitations listed in the order.

Certain commercial firewood gathering projects are also allowed to resume with restrictions, as specified in the court’s order. Cutting firewood for personal use will continue to be allowed.

Other timber management activities not listed in the court’s orders are still restricted.

The national forests affected by the court’s order remain open to the public for recreation and other activities.

In September, the court ordered the USDA Forest Service to cease its  “timber management” actions pending formal consultation about potential effects to the Mexican spotted owl.

On Oct. 21,  the plaintiff and the Forest Service submitted a stipulation modifying the injunction for certain activities, which the court has now approved.

For the most up to date information from the Forest Service, along with copies of the court documents, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r3/mso.

 

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