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form the Vancouver Columbian

Saturday, August 17, 2002
By ERIK ROBINSON, Columbian staff writer

Environmental activists reported Friday that hundreds of spikes have been pounded into trees in a controversial timber sale on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
If true, it is the second tree-spiking in as many years on the Vancouver-based forest.
In an e-mail received by at least one news organization and circulated by the U.S. Forest Service, an unnamed messenger reported that hundreds of metallic and non-metallic spikes have been placed in two logging units near the Dark Divide Roadless Area.
Such tree-spiking is intended to preserve trees by deterring loggers from cutting into them.
The spikes can ruin chain saws and sawmill blades, and hurt or kill workers.
"This action seeks to keep these old growth trees from ever being cut," according to the message. "It is not intended to put any timber workers at risk. This is being sent out before any trees are felled."
No group took responsibility for the action.
Tom Knappenberger, spokesman for the Gifford Pinchot, said he notified law enforcement officers on the forest after receiving the e-mail on Friday. The sale already has been the subject of at least two legal appeals and won't be offered for sale this year, Knappenberger said.
The Kirk Thin sale includes 6.2 million board feet of timber.
Although most of the timber sale area will undergo less-controversial thinning, two eight-acre units are scheduled for heavy cutting. Each parcel includes trees older than 120 years, offered to help the agency meet timber-harvesting targets of the Northwest Forest Plan of 1994.
The sale is located near the Dark Divide, where activists associated with Earth First! gathered early last month for their annual Round River Rendezvous.
In July 2001, the Earth Liberation Front released a statement from a group taking responsibility for spiking trees in another timber sale on the Gifford Pinchot, the Upper Greenhorn near Randle. Knappenberger said that sale also is "a long way from being sold," but he didn't know whether the Forest Service had attempted to remove the spikes.
In that case, as in this week's, the Earth Liberation Front forwarded the communique without specifying where it originated.