Brakes put on Osborne Hill logging project | TheUnion.com
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Brakes put on Osborne Hill logging project

A logging project in the Osborne Hill area adjacent to Empire Mine State Park is on hold after developers of the property agreed to withdraw their timber harvest plan.

Removing trees on 152 acres of forested property has drawn the ire of neighbors and trail users who sent more than a 100 letters of protest to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. State agency foresters recommended that the plan be withdrawn because of misinformation and a lack of disclosure on trails and toxic mine tailings.

“Based on some comments from (the state), the public and concerns of our own, we agreed to withdraw the document,” said Jon Blinder project manager of Osborne Hill Partners. The developers sent letters notifying neighbors in the area of the change in plans.



The property is considered unique because of a number of toxic mine tailings left behind from the days when Newmont Mining Corp. owned the land. Numerous trails used for horseback riding, mountain biking, running, hiking and motorcycle riding snake the property and were omitted from the timber harvest plan.

“I think honestly this was a half baked idea,” said John Gardiner, who lives across the street from the proposed logging site and regularly uses the trails.




The county is reviewing the environmental impact a 76 home development will have on the area. Developers never intended to log the property until the environmental review process was complete, Blinder said.

A fuel management plan in partnership with local and state fire agencies is still in the works, Blinder said.

“We hope it’s not a timber harvest plan in disguise,” said Laurie Oberholtzer, land use projects director for the Rural Quality Coalition.

The group has formed an alliance with Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) and two property owner associations. The groups say the withdrawal of the timber harvest plan was a small victory but plans to continue to fight the development they consider too large for the site.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@the union.com or call 477-4231.


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