Judge Stops Logging Projects, Pending Review

Four Southeast Alaska logging projects are on hold after a judge found the U.S. Forest Service didn’t fully comply with a prior court order.

Conservationists who sued to stop the Scott Peak, Overlook, Traitors Creek and Soda Nick projects raised concerns with the model for determining sufficiency of deer habitat.

An appeals court in 2011 ordered an explanation for how the models supported decisions to move ahead with the projects. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline said Friday that the Forest Service failed to comply with that order.

The management plan for the Tongass National Forest was updated in 2008. Beistline said the agency can provide deer modeling analyses based on the 1997 plan under which the projects were approved or revise the approval decisions to apply the 2008 plan.