Untitled Document

GIS Study of the Kelsey Whisky Logging Plan

Matthew Bloch and Jared Chapiewsky


This study evaluates the claim that the BLM’s proposed Kelsey-Whiskey timber sale will adversely affect the scenic value of a nearby recreational area and destroy habitat of threatened or endangered species.


The forests of Oregon are a battleground for conflicts between the logging industry and environmentalists. The logging of old growth trees on federal lands is particularly controversial. one of the most heated disputes of recent years concerns the BLM’s proposed Kelsey Whiskey timber sale. The BLM has proposed a plan to log 1400 acres of old growth and mature forests, including 560 acres of clear-cuts. During a public comment period, some objected that the environmental impact statement prepared by the BLM understated the impact that the logging would have on the scenery of the area as well as on Northern Spotted Owl habitat. This project will determine whether or not the available data support these claims.

Study Area

The area of study comprises the 1400 acres of land that make up the BLM’s proposed Kelsey Whisky timber sale; public access roads with views of the areas slated for clear-cutting; the section of the Rogue River adjacent to the proposed logging site; and trails along this section of river. This stretch of the Rogue River is a popular destination for rafters, kayakers and hikers. The area is hilly and contains large tracts of old growth and mature forests.

Proposed Tasks

In order to evaluate scenic impact, we will use viewshed analysis to determine whether proposed clear cuts are within line of sight of the Rogue River, hiking trails and public access roads. We will construct a viewshed using a digital elevation model, modified as necessary to compensate for tree height, and a set of polygons corresponding to clear cut areas. Visibility will be determined by looking for intersections between the viewshed and roads, trails and the river. Habitat impact will be evaluated by looking for intersections between areas where Northern Spotted Owl activity has been observed and the areas that are slated to be logged.