Snags are important wildlife habitat
Did you know that trees can be more important for wildlife dead than alive? When trees die, their wood softens and rots providing places for animals to create cavities that are used as nest and shelter sites. In the northwest, nearly 100 species of wildlife use snags including some of our favorite birds such as bluebirds, owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, ducks, swifts, swallows, and kestrels.
But did you also know that due to outdated policies, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest allows the public to cut down snags? The Okanogan Wenatchee manages nearly 1.5 million acres and some of the most beautiful forests of the eastern Cascade Range. This forest is also home to every at-risk woodpecker species in Washington State, including the Black-backed Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Lewis’ Woodpecker, and American Three-toed Woodpecker. Yet every year, hundreds to thousands of snags in these birds’ home territories are cut down by woodcutters, hunters, and campers.
Join us in a campaign to educate land managers with the Okanogan-Wenatchee to let them know the value of snags in our forests. Let them know that snags are vital components of our forests and snag felling should not be permitted for healthy forest management.
- Nearly every other land management agency in Washington prohibits snag felling because of the value of snags for wildlife. Agencies that prohibit snag felling include Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympic National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, North Cascades
- National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Olympic National Park.
- The Okanogan-Wenatchee allows snag-felling under conditions of a woodcutting permit (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/passes-permits/forestproducts/?cid=fsbdev3_053611). Snag-felling is not regulated, however, leading to over harvest of snags each year. Live trees are also cut, which is a violation of the permit. (Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2)
- Illegal woodcutting is common, including off-road driving Exhibit 3, Exhibit 4), cutting within streams and water (Exhibit 5), improper use of load-tickets, and cutting of snags with White-headed Woodpecker and Black-backed Woodpecker nests (Exhibit 6, Exhibit 7, Exhibit 8).
- Woodcutting is allowed during the sensitive nesting season for birds and woodcutters are allowed to cut snags immediately adjacent to active nest trees. The noise and disturbance caused to nesting birds can be extreme and has led to nest abandonment in Black-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, and bluebirds.
Please sign the on-line petition, which will be delivered to Jim Pena, Director, National Forest Service, Region 6, urging the U. S. Forest Service to ban cutting of snags in our national forests,: click here to go to petition.
If you would like to write an e-mail or a letter about this important topic, here are the people to write to: click here for the addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for Mike Williams, Forest Supervisor, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Kelly Lawrence, District Ranger, Naches Ranger District.
Thank you for your support on this critical matter.