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Timber Wars

Author: Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Description

It’s the 1990s in the Pacific Northwest. A march of chainsaws clear-cuts the country’s last available ancient forests. Protesters bury themselves in front of bulldozers and spend months sitting in the tallest trees in the world. And at the center, the Northern Spotted Owl becomes the most controversial bird in the country. The "Timber Wars" podcast tells the story of how this conflict reshaped the Northwest and the nation as a whole, in ways we’re dealing with still.

For more, sign up for OPB’s newsletter that combines the podcast with further reporting to take readers through the history of this epic battle in stories, images, videos and more: www.opb.org/timber-wars-newsletter
10 Episodes
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Timber Wars Trailer

Timber Wars Trailer

2020-08-2801:54

It’s the 1990s in the Pacific Northwest. A march of chainsaws clear-cuts the country’s last available ancient forests. Protesters bury themselves in front of bulldozers and spend months sitting in the tallest trees in the world. And at the center, the northern spotted owl becomes the most controversial bird in the country.The "Timber Wars" podcast tells the story of how this conflict redefined how we see the forest and reshaped the Northwest and the nation as a whole, in ways we’re dealing with still. Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Ep 1: The Last Stand

Ep 1: The Last Stand

2020-09-2130:411

When loggers headed into the forest on Easter Sunday in 1989, they found a line of protesters blocking the road. The ensuing battle would help catapult old-growth forests into a national issue, and become known as the “Easter Massacre.”
For most of America’s history, trees were seen as crops, and the plan was to log the country’s last virgin forests and make them de facto tree farms. We see forests very differently today. How did things change so quickly?
Ep 3: The Owl

Ep 3: The Owl

2020-09-2133:032

Depending on who you are, the northern spotted owl is either the hero of this story, or the villain. And the Endangered Species Act is either an incredible conservation tool, or a hammer that smashes rural economies. But those beliefs miss the fact that it was a single sentence in an entirely different law that locked up the forests. How a reclusive bird halted the march of chainsaws.
Ep 4: Mill City

Ep 4: Mill City

2020-09-2133:07

Mill City was one of dozens of flourishing timber towns, where a job in the woods or at the local sawmill could support a good life. But protests and court cases upended that, leaving locals to ask: are owls more endangered than loggers?
Ep 5: The Plan

Ep 5: The Plan

2020-09-2138:091

The Timber Wars grew so hot that one of President Clinton’s first acts in office was to fly half his cabinet to Portland to resolve the conflict. The result was the Northwest Forest Plan, the most sweeping conservation plan in U.S. history. But it might never have happened if not for some behind-the-scenes dramas that played out in a Capitol Hill bathroom-turned-office and a presidential lunch buffet.
Ep 6: The Backlash

Ep 6: The Backlash

2020-09-2233:181

Before the Northwest Forest Plan had a chance to succeed, Congress seized upon the threat of wildfires to create a loophole and throw the plan out the window. With old growth once again being logged, the fight to defend it grew both more mainstream and more violent, seeding the tactics for many conflicts to come, from environmental to anti-capitalist movements.
Ep 7: A Way Forward

Ep 7: A Way Forward

2020-10-0338:301

Is the Northwest fatally divided, or can we overcome our differences and work together? We tell the story of one group of loggers and environmentalists who have found some semblance of common ground. But it didn’t come easy. And no one knows how long it’ll last.
In 'Timber Wars,' we've talked about how the northern spotted owl took the blame for a lot of other things that cost jobs and hurt timber-dependent towns, like automation and international competition. Well, there was another huge thing the owl took the fall for—something that cost timber towns even more money than locking up the national forests, at least in Oregon. In a year-long investigation, OPB, the Oregonian, and ProPublica explored how Wall Street real estate trusts and other investors gained control of the state’s private forestlands—and how they’ve profited at the expense of rural communities.
Guest Episode: Grouse

Guest Episode: Grouse

2020-11-2119:02

If you’ve been enjoying Timber Wars, there’s a new show you should check out. It’s about a weird and wonderful bird: the greater sage-grouse. You’ll find these creatures in wide open sagebrush country, trying to hang on alongside oil and gas drilling, recreational activity, development and ranching, which puts them right in the center of a controversy that has a lot in common with the fight over the spotted owl.The host, Ashley Ahearn, recently moved to sagebrush country to try to better understand rural America and what this weird, troubled bird can tell us about ourselves and our relationship with the natural world, and we wanted to bring you her first episode. You can find the rest of the series by searching "Grouse" in your favorite podcast app.
Comments (3)

al_the_pal0311

This is such a great well done podcast.

Oct 7th
Reply

Robert Wasson

a fantastic series. well done, researched, organized, and edited. balanced & thought provoking, this triggered so many memories from those days. thank you for all you do!

Oct 5th
Reply

Rich Hendricks

This podcast is extremely well done. It is almost like a thriller.

Oct 1st
Reply
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