Home Campaigns Black Hill Logging Forest Service Vandalizes Okawita Paha

Forest Service Vandalizes Okawita Paha

Forest Service Vandalizes Okawita PahaThe Forest Service has begun destruction-by-bulldozer within the Norbeck Preserve in the Palmer Gulch Timber Sale, beginning in the area proposed for Wilderness designation by environmental groups in 1991. The first of 39 miles of unnecessary and destructive temporary haul roads are being created by driving bulldozers over the area east of Willow Creek Horse Camp in the Okawita Paha sacred landscape..

Road work and logging operations in the Palmer Gulch Timber Sale are causing excessive damage to soils, and have obliterated the Willow Creek Trail #8 east of Willow Creek Trailhead for over 1/2 mile, and by feller-bunchers for another 3/4 mile. The bulldozing has completely destroyed Trail #8, as can be seen in the photo above. Five miles of trails are scheduled for such treatment.



This destruction is being inflicted purposefully, and we believe the intention is to damage the area sufficiently to disqualify it for future sacred landscape and National Monument consideration. We note that such bulldozed temporary haul routes are not necessary if the logging is done in winter when the ground is frozen solid, as occurred last December and January in the Sunday Gulch Timber Sale in the Norbeck Preserve. Bulldozers are absolutely unnecessary for execution of the Palmer Gulch Timber Sale, and their use anywhere in Okawita Paha is a desecration.

The public was provided no information about the location of, or need for, these temporary haul roads in the Norbeck Wildlife Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, even though many people requested maps of the intended road works. In addition, no roadwork for these haul roads was indicated in the Palmer Gulch Sale Prospectus maps. No sacred site or burial site inventories were performed.

The soils in virtually the entire Palmer Gulch Sale Area are still too wet to be operated on with logging equipment, let alone bulldozers. Given the excessive rainfall we have had this summer, all intermittent streams throughout the Sale Area are still running strong, and will probably run until winter.

The above photo of this trail destruction clearly shows that the FEIS promise to the public that use of system trails "would need to be converted back to its original (trail) condition post-use" [FEIS at p. 258] was empty rhetoric. Trails bulldozed into muddy messes cannot be restored to "original (trail) condition".

Send comments to the Lynn Kolund, District Ranger of the Forest Service: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Demand of the District Ranger that: To avoid irreversible damage to the Okawita Paha sacred landscape, the Forest Service must shut down the entire Palmer Gulch Timber Sale operation until the ground is completely frozen.


Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests