Forest Service shelves Utah roadless-area timber harvest

By Marc Heller | 07/08/2024 01:32 PM EDT

The agency said it’s reassessing an aspen restoration project at the Ashley National Forest that would have included logging in some areas covered by the roadless area conservation rule.

An aspen grove in the Ashley National Forest.

An aspen grove in the Ashley National Forest. Louis Haynes/Intermountain Forest Service/USDA/Flickr

The Forest Service is backing off a plan to thin and log tens of thousands of acres in areas of a Utah national forest protected by roadless-area regulations.

In a Wednesday decision, the agency said it’s withdrawing an aspen restoration project in the 1.3 million-acre Ashley National Forest, where the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups had asked a federal court to stop the pending work.

Forest Supervisor Kristy Groves announced the decision in a memo, pledging to review the agency’s analysis. Any new decision will be consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act and provide for public involvement, Groves said.


Groves didn’t address the merits of the project in the decision, adding that Forest Service Chief Randy Moore had granted the forest supervisor authority in June to withdraw the final decision that had given a go-ahead to the project. The Forest Service had issued a final decision in October 2023 to move forward with the proposal.