Bear Grub is Back! Comment Now!

The trees marked with white paint throughout this blog post would be logged under the Bear Grub Timber Sale. This often includes whole groves of mature trees and some of the largest trees in a stand.

From October 2019 to August 2022, Applegate Siskiyou Alliance and residents across southwestern Oregon opposed the Bear Grub Timber Sale, a large BLM timber sale in the mountains of Sterling Creek and the Little Applegate Valley, along the East Applegate Ridge Trail, in the beloved Wellington Wildlands, and on Woodrat Mountain above Ruch, Oregon.

Much of the timber sale proposes “group selection logging,” a form of staggered clearcut logging that removes whole groves of mature trees up to 36″ in diameter. Implemented only in mature forests, this type of logging “treatment” creates “openings” or “canopy gaps” up to 4 acres in size and across up to 30% of a mature forest stand.

What will be left for future generations?

Group selection logging damages old forest habitat, degrades the climate refugia our wildlife depends on, and releases abundant carbon stored in the old forests and trees this form of logging targets for removal. Additionally, the removal of these large, fire resistant trees combined with increased aridity, stronger winds, and the young, dense, highly flammable growth this type of canopy removal creates has significant impacts to future fire risks. In fact, according to BLM’s own analysis, this form of logging will increase fuel loading, fire intensity, rate of fire spread, and resistance to wildfire control for a minimum of 5 to 20 years, making fires burn hotter, faster and more severely.

Everything goes! The BLM has proposed logging this entire stand of mature, open grown Douglas fir below the East Applegate Ridge Trail.

Yet, despite these implications, BLM approved the project and immediately sold the timber sale to Timber Products company. It also received 18 Administrative Protests from environmental organizations, including Applegate Siskiyou Alliance, and local residents in the Applegate Valley and beyond. These protests officially challenged the projects authorization and questioned the validity of the underlying scientific analysis. In response, the BLM withdrew the timber sale in August 2022, and acknowledged that they had not adequately considered the project’s effects on the Pacific fisher, a rare forest mammal that uses mature and old-growth forests for hunting, denning, and raising their young.

Although we had hoped the Bear Grub Timber Sale would be permanently withdrawn and we would never see these special places proposed for logging again, we also know all to well, unfortunately, that the Medford District BLM has a singular focus on timber production. Rather than shelve this controversial, environmentally damaging, climate change fueling project, the BLM has doubled down and Bear Grub is back. The agency simply changed some of the language in its analysis and re-proposed the Bear Grub Timber Sale in all the same inappropriate locations, in all the same mature and old forest stands, and with the same damaging group selection logging proposal.

Unit 13-6 directly adjacent to the East Applegate Ridge Trail proposes removing whole groves of mature, fire resistant forest.

The Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes logging stands of mature, fire resistant forest dominated by large, old trees directly adjacent to and in the immediate viewshed of the East Applegate Ridge Trail, a spectacular and extremely popular non-motorized trail built by Applegate Trails Association and the local community. It also proposes logging beautiful and spacious old stands of Douglas fir at the headwaters of China Gulch in Wellington Wildlands, a 7,526-acre roadless area located between Humbug Creek and Ruch, Oregon. The Bear Grub Timber Sale would also log the face of Woodrat Mountain, the hills of Sterling Creek, on the flank of Bald Mountain near the headwaters of the Little Applegate River, and in some of the last mature forests in the heavily clearcut mountains above Talent and Phoenix in the Rogue Valley.

Unit 8-2 of the Bear Grub Timber Sale contains open, fire resilient forest proposed for group selection logging at the headwaters of China Gulch in the Wellington Wildlands outside Ruch, Oregon.

Please consider commenting on this project and let BLM know that clearcutting our public forests, under misleading euphemisms like “group selection logging,” is unacceptable. Below are talking points to help inform your comments.

This map show the proposed “group selection openings,” that would be clearcut into mature forest in the Wellington Wildlands at the headwaters of China Gulch under the Bear Grub Timber Sale. The timber sale unit is identified inside the grey polygon and labeled with the unit number and the acres proposed for logging. The staggered clearcuts would be located within the embedded lighter polygons and would constitute a significant portion of each stand.

Additionally, in an attempt to further reduce the voice and involvement of the public, BLM has allowed only 18 days to comment on this controversial old forest logging project. Currently the comment period ends on June 26, 2023. Please contact Medford District Manager, Elizabeth Burghard ( immediately and ask her to encourage public involvement by extending this shortened comment period to at least the customary 30 days or more.

Talking Points

  1. The Bear Grub Timber Sale is inconsistent with the Biden Administrations climate and forest policy (Executive Order 14008 and Executive Order 14072), as well as the recently proposed BLM rulemaking intended to increase conservation “use” on public lands, maximize carbon storage and encourage natural climate solutions such as intact forest habitats.
  2. BLM must withdraw the controversial Bear Grub Timber Sale from further consideration and work with the surrounding communities to address fire risks, increase carbon storage, and protect important mature and old forest habitats.
  3. Cancel all “group selection” logging and maintain all northern spotted owl habitat by retaining at least 60% canopy cover and implementing a 20″ diameter limit across the entire project area.
  4. Cancel all timber sale units within the 7,526 acre citizen-identified Wellington Wildlands. This must include units: 8-1, 8-2, 17-1b and 17-3.
  5. Cancel all timber sale units adjacent to or in the direct viewshed of the East Applegate Ridge trail. This must include units: 13-1, 13-5, 13-6, 13-7, 13-10 and 14-2
  6. Cancel all timber sale units on Bald Mountain including units 27-4 and 27-8. These forests are simply to precious and are among the last mature and old-growth forest habitats remaining in the Wagner Creek drainage.
  7. Build no new roads either “temporary” or permanent.

Comments can also be sent to:  with “Attention: Bear Grub VMP” in the subject line

ASA board member, Marty Paule speaking about the Bear Grub timber sale in his backyard
We’ve been protesting the BLM’s Bear Grub Timber Sale since the pandemic, and since Applegate Siskiyou Alliance was formerly named Applegate Neighborhood Network. It’s been years now!
Wildlife in the Bear Grub Timber Sale
Bear Grub Timber Sale unit 13-6 along the East Applegate Ridge Trail
Bear Grub Timber Sale Auction Rally (Under the revised Bear Grub Timber Sale, if approved, BLM will still award the sale and rights to log these beloved Applegate forests to Timber Products Company, the same company that bought the sale at this auction two years ago!)