Washington: Seattle P-I Blog summarizes & updates Boy Scout logging

Recently the P-I ran a very good investigative series regarding the Boy Scouts of America‘s logging and land-management practices, which was produced by a team of Hearst Newspapers reporters anchored by the P-I’s Lewis Kamb. Among the practices in “Chain Saw Scouting”: Selling off land donated for conservation to be developed instead.

Get full text; support writer, producer of the words: http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/161692.asp

The series was wide-ranging, looking at the Scouts’ land stewardship across the country. But what got my attention most is summed up in this quote from the neighbor of a Seattle-area Boy Scout camp that went on the auction block: I always thought the Boy Scouts were about trying to teach young boys about nature, how to conserve it and make it better. Not logging it and building over it. This week the Washington Department of Natural Resources sent representatives to confer with Christopher Mendoza, a conservation biologist hired by Hearst to evaluate the Scouts’ logging practices. They met at a site where Mendoza said the Scouts appeared to have logged in violation of Washington’s logging rules.

At the site in Southwest Washington logged by the Pacific Harbors Council of the BSA, Mendoza said logging was done in what’s known as a “channel migration zone,” an area where the river is apt to overrun. DNR apparently disagrees. Yesterday both sides went to the site, and they plan a report next week. The location of a CMZ is important because the timber in one has to be left in a streamside no-logging buffer. After all, if the stream could over time — or suddenly — jump into that timber, the trees should be left standing to protect endangered salmon, the state’s logging rules say. It predates the start of Dateline Earth, but this half of the Dateline Earth duo highlighted the problems in determining the location of these CMZs. A related court case led to a two-year effort at rewriting the part of the state’s logging manual on CMZs.

Supposedly this controversy was over. But no. Kamb’s reporting helped highlight how rarely DNR actually goes out into the field to verify what landowners tell the agency about their timber cutting. Peter Goldmark, the newly elected Washington lands commissioner who is head of DNR, made a lot of noise in his campaign about sustainability and the importance of paying heed to science. But he seems to be shying away from a confrontation pitting his lieutenants’ judgment in the former administration against Mendoza’s. Here’s what Goldmark had to say in a news release issued late Friday by DNR: ” When intelligent and well-respected people look at the same site and see two different things, it tells me that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. This review isn’t about who is right or wrong; it is about making sure that forest practice rules are clear, fair, and applied uniformly across the state for all landowners. I want to thank Chris Mendoza for his willingness to work with us on addressing this issue.” Cupla final personal observations: I’m an Eagle Scout. I served as senior patrol leader, was in Order of the Arrow. Some of my fondest memories are the early mornings riding in my scoutmaster’s van on the way to some camping trip or another. My dad had the superhuman patience to oversee our troop for a week at Florida’s Camp Sebring.

Get full text; support writer, producer of the words: http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/161692.asp

Comments (2)

RitaFebruary 19th, 2009 at 10:25 pm


Thanks for linking to this great series. It’s terrible that the Boy Scouts of America would destroy valuable natural lands to make large amounts of money to make up for sagging membership and donations.


Bill BartmannSeptember 2nd, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! :)

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