- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A 40-acre grove of cedar trees could be logged next summer to generate extra revenue, Idaho officials say, but they’re facing opposition from nearby residents.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game thinks it could raise several hundred thousand dollars by selling timber from the trees near Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho, The Spokesman-Review reported (https://bit.ly/2hecAN6).

That money would stay in the region and could be tapped for other projects, the agency’s Coeur d’Alene manager, Chip Corsi, said.

But about 50 people who live near the grove have signed a petition asking Fish and Game to reconsider cutting down the cedars, which range from 80 to 120 years old.

“This isn’t what they call ‘old growth,’ but at the same time, these are very mature trees in excellent condition,” said Ali Hakala, who has been working to call attention to the sale.

Jeff Pennick, a retired forester with the U.S. Forest Service who opposes the sale, said the cedars are healthy and would be stable for at least another 200 to 300 years. “This is unique enough that it’s worth preserving,” Pennick said.

The grove is on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Pend Oreille northeast of Sandpoint. Six private property owners, including Hakala, own land that encircles the grove.

Corsi said the lack of public access is one of the reasons the grove is being eyed for a timber sale. Without permission from private landowners, it’s not accessible to the public. The grove has been logged in the past, no rare animals use the parcel and it represents a common forest type in northern Idaho, he said.

“It’s a selective harvest that would leave a lot of big cedars,” Corsi said. “We think we can cut it, and still have a nice stand of timber in there.”

The agency is working with the Idaho Department of Lands on the timber sale. Fish and Game also plans to selectively log 12 acres next to the cedar grove that Corsi said has some big Douglas fir and white pine.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com


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