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White Pine News

StarTribune March 15, 1997

More logging sites will be reassessed
In wake of Little Alfie controversy

Associated Press
Minneapolis - The U.S. Forest Service plans to review 38 sites in the Superior National Forest it sold for logging because previous assessments apparently didn't comply with federal environmental law.

The Forest Service sold the tracts, which average 23 acres, to logging companies. Most trees are aspen, white a few have stands of more scarce red and white pines.

The agency looked at 500 tracts it had sold after a flap over its sale of old pines on the Little Alfie site near Cook. That site is being reviewed again for environmental impact before logging will start.

During its review of the 500 tracts, the Forest Service found 38 tracts that need to be assessed again, said Deputy Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson. Companies that bought trees on those sites have agreed to delay logging until that is done.

"The timber industry has been fantastic to work with," said Dewey Hanson, natural resources team leader with Superior National Forest. "They have agreed to delay entry into some of these sites until we could come up with some answers."

Lynn Rogers, an environmentalist who seeks to restrict logging in the Superior Forest, praised the decision. "This shows that Little Alfie was just the tip of the iceberg." said Rogers, a former Forest Service wildlife biologist who lives in Ely. "Little Alfie prompted them to try to do a better job."

In December, an environmental group sued the Forest Service, saying it hadn't done an adequate environmental assessment on the Little Alfie site. The agency suspended logging indefinitely.

"We believe we needed to go back and review those timber sale." Thompson said. "It's not just a legal obligation; it's a moral obligation."