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