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Logging halted at Tahoe Forest

Environmentalists have claimed at least a temporary victory in an effort to block 43,000 acres of salvage logging in burned groves of old-growth in a federal roadless area west of Lake Tahoe.

However, regional Forest Service officials decided in Vallejo today that the Tahoe National Forest can move forward with the logging on about five-thousand acres of national forest land bordering the Duncan Canyon Roadless Area.

Deputy Regional Forester Bernard Weingardt upheld the environmentalists┬┤ administrative appeal challenging the logging in the roadless area, where the agency┬┤s strictest forest protections apply. He rejected their arguments that the logging planned outside the roadless area is illegal as well based in part on a failure to adequately assess the impacts on wildlife, especially birds that are dependent on fire-killed trees.

Environmentalists say they are pleased the roadless area will be spared. They say they are considering filing a lawsuit to halt the rest of the project planned in the aftermath of the Red Star Fire. The fire burned 17,000 acres in September 2001 about 15 miles south of U.S. Interstate 80 and 20 miles west of Lake Tahoe.