Public comment invited

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to address diseased trees in the Indian Henry Campground area. The site is in a 'laminated root rot pocket'- a disease that kills trees such as the Douglas Fir pictured above. The proposal calls for wide-scale felling of Douglas Fir and western hemlock trees near the campground in an effort to remove trees susceptible to the disease. Under the proposal, the area would be replanted with more disease-resistant tree species.As widespread disease and other health problems continue to plague trees in the Indian Henry Campground, the U.S. Forest Service has developed a proposal to address the safety issue of falling trees, renovate the site and make it possible to reopen previously closed areas.

Officials are seeking public input on the proposal.

Many local residents fondly recall spending time at the Indian Henry Campground, located southeast of Estacada on the Mt. Hood National Forest.

But access to some of the campsite’s amenities has been limited for the past couple of years.

The site’s location is within a pocket of laminated root rot that has forced officials to close parts of the campground because of the danger of falling dead or diseased trees.

The forest surrounding the site consists largely of old-growth Douglas fir and western hemlock trees. Those trees happen to be susceptible to phellinus weirii and armillaria solidipes, which are causing the root rot.

The Forest Service proposes a large scale felling of these species in a 25.6 acre area in and around the Indian Henry campsites and replanting with seedlings of disease-resistant species such as Western Red Cedar and hardwoods.

The felling would be done with ground-based logging equipment or through hand felling.

The proposal stipulates that some trees will remain on site or will be placed nearby in Whale Creek and the Clackamas River riparian areas or in other streamside fish and

wildlife restoration areas in the Mt. Hood National Forest in an effort to leave large woody debris on the forest floor, part of a healthy ecosystem.

In addition, the proposal states that some trees may be topped at 10-20 feet to provide for woodpecker and bat habitat.

Trees may be sold as firewood or to a log purchaser in order to balance project costs.

Proposed infrastructure improvements include replacing the old septic system with “a simpler and more cost-efficient system” and decommissioning the flush toilet buildings and septic tanks.

Under the proposal, parking pads will be replaced and expanded and, when necessary, picnic tables and fire rings will be replaced in open campsites and campsites that will be reopened.

A summary of the proposal, a map of the project area and documents required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) are available online at

Forest Service Officials hope to elicit public opinion on the proposed actions by June 23.

There will be another opportunity for public feedback on the Preliminary Environmental Assessment once it is complete.

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