Contact Us.  Web site contents copyrighted.  All rights reserved. Made With Serif WebPlus.  Home

Old Growth Western Juniper
Illegal Wood Cutting on the Modoc National Forest.

Wood cutters with a permit from the MNF are allowed to cut only young juniper with a diameter less than or equal to 30 inches at stump height or 12 inches above the ground. Juniper that exhibits at least one old growth characteristic is not allowed to be taken for firewood. They are allowed to drive their vehicles off road at will, in order to access the young juniper. Wood cutters are allowed to cut young juniper anywhere on the MNF except for a few restricted areas. Wood cutters may not cut standing live or dead juniper that exhibit at least one old growth characteristic. Limbs may not be cut on any old growth juniper.

Wood cutting regulations for the Modoc National Forest. What should happen.

What really happens!

Since wood cutters with a permit are allowed to drive off road at will to almost any place on the MNF, they head for the old growth woodlands. There, they cut old growth juniper of all sizes, cut limbs off of old juniper, and cut standing live and dead old juniper. Once cut, if the old juniper wood is a little “punky” in the center, as many are, the wood cutter will  leave the old “punky” juniper lying there and cut another old juniper instead, and so on. Because commercial firewood cutters are also “governed” by the same rules above and the MNF does nothing to enforce those rules, a large number of old growth western junipers are cut for firewood on the Modoc National Forest each year.

These are just a few of the illegal old growth wood cutting sites on the MNF.   The measuring stick has six inch increments.

A very old “punky” juniper on the MNF cut by a wood cutter and left. August 2012

Another “punky” old growth juniper on the MNF, just cut illegally by a firewood cutter and left. October 2012.

A “punky” old juniper over 300 years old just cut illegally and left by a firewood cutter. September 28, 2013.

East of Big Sage Reservoir, October 2, 2013

About five miles east of Big Sage Reservoir and five miles north of Modoc Recreational Estates, we came across seven very old juniper cut for firewood within the past couple of weeks. The ages of these old growth juniper ranged from  about 275 up to about 525 years. The foliage was still pliable and green. This general area was reported to the Modoc National Forest back in 2011 and is still used by wood cutters to access old growth juniper.  Click here for a gallery of the seven old junipers cut .

East of Big Sage Reservoir

East of Big Sage Reservoir and north of Modoc Recreational Estates is an active large old growth wood cutting site. This is probably a commercial firewood site because of the method and volume of old growth taken. Click here for more pictures of this site.

Porcupine Rim west of Big Sage reservoir

This was a brand new old growth woodland wood cutting site in 2011. We took the Forest Supervisor to this site in its early stages of destruction in August 2011. A new road had been developed for about one mile to reach this site. Nothing was done by the Modoc National Forest to stop the illegal cutting of old juniper here. Consequently, both commercial and residential wood cutters destroyed this old growth juniper woodland over the rest of the season into 2012. Click here for more pictures.

Reservoir C campground Modoc National Forest

The Modoc National Forest has several nice public campgrounds. Reservoir C campground also has a great place to go fishing. The campground is situated amongst some fine old growth juniper. By regulation, wood cutters are allowed to cut young juniper within 100 feet of any campground. Since most wood cutters target old growth juniper, this campground is surrounded by the remnants of old juniper, including this one INSIDE the campground. Click here for more pictures.

Powerline Rd, 6 miles west of Crowder Flat Road

This illegal old growth juniper wood cutting area extends for over 2.5 miles along the Powerline Rd. Each year illegal wood cutting takes more old growth juniper from a continuous series of old growth juniper woodlands adjacent to the powerline access. Both commercial and residential wood cutters continue to use this site. Click here for more pictures.

One wood cutter, one day

On a cold November day, we noticed a wood cutter’s tire tracks through the snow heading into an old growth juniper woodland. We took our camera, put on our boots and followed the tire tracks for about 1.5 miles. Along the way, this wood cutter illegally destroyed six old growth juniper trees for one truckload of firewood. As you will see in the photos, commercial wood cutters leave a lot of useable wood behind, increasing the toll on the old juniper. Keep in mind, this is only one wood cutter out of over 600 wood cutting permits sold by the MNF each year. It is even worse than that, because many are commercial cutters like this one. Click here for more pictures. They speak for themselves!

East of Big Sage Porcupine Rim Reservoir C Campground Power Line Rd One Day Wood Cutter

Same wood cutter, different day, different place.

July 16, 2012.

About 4.5 miles NNW of the Modoc National Forest headquarters is an old growth juniper woodland. It sits high on a mesa at about 5000 feet elevation. The commercial wood cutter detailed above, “One wood cutter, one day”, has moved his operations to this new site. His “signature” is still the same. He cuts nothing but old growth. He cut trees on this day, July 16, 2012, that were 280, 375, 280, 260, 320, and one over 380 years old. He also continues to cut just the limbs on some old growth juniper. Take a look at the pictures to see the destruction that one wood cutter can do when there is no enforcement of wood cutting regulations by the MNF.

Same Wood Cutter

West of Logan Slough, October 19, 2012.

Update September 28, 2013

Whittemore Ridge on the Modoc National Forest runs north and south between Crowder Flat Road and Logan Slough. On the eastern flank of Whittemore Ridge, young juniper grow among old growth juniper. Firewood cutters have started to illegally cut the old growth juniper in this area. On October 19, 2012, we documented nine old growth juniper illegally cut by firewood cutters in one day for one truck load. The firewood cutters cut only old growth juniper for this one load. The ages of the old juniper ranged from about 160 years up to 370 on this day.

September 28, 2013. In the same area west of Logan Slough, we found eleven old growth juniper which had been illegally cut within the last month. The ages of these very old juniper ranged from about 325 years old up to about 655 years old. This area was reported to the Modoc National Forest back in October 2012. Click here to see images of many of the old growth juniper illegally cut at this site.

West of Logan Slough,Sept. 2013

Powerline Road, 7.1 miles west of Crowder Flat Rd.

In August of 2011, we took the Modoc National Forest Supervisor on a tour along Powerline Road out six miles west of Crowder Flat Road. Old growth juniper were illegally being cut for firewood in several old growth woodlands adjacent to this road. The Modoc National Forest did nothing to stop the destruction of the protected old growth juniper and the woodlands in which they reside.

One year later, October 2012, old growth juniper is still being illegally cut for firewood along Powerline Road in the exact same areas we pointed out to the Forest Supervisor in 2011. In addition, the firewood cutters have extended their cutting area another mile farther west into previously untouched old growth juniper woodlands. Click here to see the images of 15 old growth juniper illegally cut by firewood cutters about seven miles west along Powerline Road during October 2012.

Power Line Road 7 Miles West of Logan Slough,Sept. 2013 East of Big Sage Reservoir, 2013

Northeast of Timbered Mountain, October 7, 2013

About 0.6 miles north of the intersection of Timbered Mountain road and FS Road 46N12 is an illegal old growth juniper commercial firewood operation. Most of the old growth juniper were cut in the spring and left to dry for a while until being cut up and removed. The site is about 5.5 acres in size. The only legal young juniper that were cut at this site were cut and left in order to gain access to the old juniper. The site is still actively being used with at least two and probably up to four truck loads of old growth juniper removed in a day. Click here for more information and images of this site.

Timbered Mountain October 2013

Commercial wood cutters cut and leave many “punky” old growth juniper. This very old juniper is near Timbered Mountain on the Modoc National Forest.

October 7, 2013