BARK (organization)

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Formation 1999; 19 years ago (1999)
Founder Greg Dyson;
John "Lenny" Rancher
Type NGO
Legal status Non-profit, 501c3
Purpose Watchdog, educational
Headquarters Portland, Oregon, United States
Official language
Executive Director
Alex P. Brown
Staff Attorney
Brenna Bell
Development Assistant
Christine Toth
Amy Harwood
Candace Larson
Board members:
Chet Lee;
Courtney Johnson;
Jim Lockhart;
Joy Keen;
Kristen Robison;
Mark Des Marets;
Sarah Wald;

BARK is an Oregon, United States, non-profit organization that was created to combat logging, clear-cutting, deforestation and projects members say create "commercial destruction"[1] in Oregon forests, specifically those of the Mt. Hood National Forest.


In 1993, Greg Dyson and John "Lenny" Rancher began a "call to action" when they noticed clear-cutting happening on Mt. Hood, a stratovolcano in northern Oregon that is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc. Upset with the old growth logging and the environmental impact of clear-cutting, Dyson and Rancher began training volunteers to bring attention to the logging practices.[2] The two began to hike to each timber site on the mountain and noted the discrepancy between agency documents and actual actions taken in the forest. After training their "groundtruthers", as BARK calls its members, the group began its foray into research and activism with many members canvassing the area.[3] Since its formation, BARK has trained hundreds of volunteers.[4]

Mission statement[edit]

BARK's mission statement is "to transform Mt. Hood National Forest into a place where natural processes prevail, where wildlife thrives and where local communities have a social, cultural, and economic investment in its restoration and preservation."[5]

The goals of the group from their website include:
1. BARK will be a transparent, inclusive, enduring and tenacious advocate for Mt. Hood National Forest
2. BARK will empower and assist activist communities in all four counties surrounding Mt. Hood National Forest
3. BARK will protect Mt. Hood National Forest from commercial destruction
4. BARK will establish Mt. Hood National Forest as a national model for wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and quiet recreation


BARK uses a watchdog and educational style of operation to try and protect Mt. Hood National Forest and its surrounding regions. Members utilize the media to spread awareness about projects that are happening they deem destructive.[6][7] BARK has also brought lawsuits against the Forest Service to stop projects when public pressure is not enough.[8]

The group often partners with other conservationist organizations, including the Pacific Rivers Council.[9] They are supported by the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, Bullitt Foundation, Burning Foundation, Charlotte Martin Foundation, EarthShare Oregon, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, The Wilderness Society and many other foundations and businesses.[10]

As of 2014, BARK was still battling with the state and Nestlé to prevent a bottling plant at the Cascade Locks that Nestlé proposes building.[11] BARK's position is that the $50-million, 250,000-square-foot water bottling plant would take public water and give it to a private corporation. BARK testified before the state with their concerns, with State Representative Mark Johnson calling their arguments "weak".[12]

BARK v. United States Forest Service[edit]

In 2014, BARK brought a lawsuit against the United States Forest Service in which it challenged the Forest Service issuing special use permits and that the issuance of those permits allowed concessionaires to charge restricted fees which were in violation of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. The judge ruled that the limit on fees does not apply to third-party concessionaires.[13] This meant that parks could continue charging fees above what the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act allowed, and that BARK lost its case.

Of the decision, Board of Directors President Amy Harwood stated, "There’s a lot of people who will pay it. (Concessionaires) are not going to charge it if people aren’t willing to pay it. But the question is, who’s paying it? You end up changing the demographic of the people who are able to use that public land. That’s just wrong to me. I think national forests are something that make even the most broke person among us feel rich.”[1]

Jazz timber sale[edit]

In 2011, the Forest Service announced its intention to log parts of Mt. Hood on the Collawash River Watershed in the southern end of the Mt. Hood National Forest. According to the Forest Service, "The purpose of this project is to thin second-growth plantations to achieve multiple objectives. Thinning would occur in matrix, late-successional reserves and riparian reserves."[14] The Jazz Sale proposed to log about 2,000 acres and rebuild 12 miles of decommissioned roads. In July 2013, BARK filed a lawsuit challenging the Forest Service that they did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Forest Management Act (NFMA) with its decision to log this geologically unstable watershed.[15] BARK argued that the 12 miles of temporary roads would reactive large-scale soil shifts called "earthflows" and that the logging was not in the best interest of the forest but rather for the timber profit.[16]

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that, contrary to BARK's claim, the Forest Service did study alternative methods of extracting trees, including helicopter logging. The Forest Service did acknowledge during the argument that an additional 19 tons of sediment would be deposited into streams around the area.[17] BARK program director Russ Plaeger stated "This Collawash River is a critical habitat for threatened Coho salmon" and that the sediment from the logging would be detrimental for them. In April 2014, Judge Hernandez agreed with the Forest Service that any environmental impact would be inconsequential and ruled that logging could begin.[18]

Board of directors[edit]

The Board of directors, as of May 2014, consists of members:[19]

  • President Amy Harwood. Harwood also works with the Center for Biological Diversity[20] and was a co-founder of the non-profit Signal Fire.[21] Harwood frequently writes op-eds engendering conservationism and habitat protection.[22][23]
  • Secretary Candace Larson. Larson is a Portland Audubon School of Birding graduate and continues to work with the Portland Audubon Society giving tours at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. She is also a volunteer at Metro, an organization that helps people connect with green spaces.[24]
  • Board members
    • Chet Lee. Lee is a member of the Oregon Mycological Society[25] and a fungal field guide for Lewis and Clark College and the Tillamook State Forest.
    • Courtney Johnson. Johnson works for the Crag Law Center focusing on protecting the PacNW's environment, and graduated from Lewis and Clark College.[26]
    • Jim Lockhart. Lockhart is a video producer and active in the Indymedia Collective in Portland.[27]
    • Joy Keen. Keen has worked with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club and has been one of the lead volunteers on the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition.
    • Kristen Robison. Robison is a graduate of the University of Oregon and focused on women's studies and environmental politics.
    • Mark Des Marets. Des Marets is a member of Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering and a hike leader for BARK.
    • Sarah Wald. Wald is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.[28]


  1. ^ a b Sandsberry, Scott (9 Apr 2014). "Rising fees on public lands taking a toll". Yakima Herald. Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 29 Apr 2014. 
  2. ^ "Battling the Giant Over Water Rights". Southeast Examiner. 1 Jan 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "FOREST ECOLOGY". Social Change. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Icon Tattoo of Portland, OR Holds Fundraiser in Support of BARK Organization on Sunday, November 22nd". PR. 28 Oct 2009. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "ABOUT BARK". BARK. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  6. ^ OPB (17 Jan 2011). "Open House Tuesday For Bagby Hot Springs Plan". OPB. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Bjornsen, Kristin (Aug 2008). "Road Warriors: Hikers Versus ATVs". Backpacker. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Case 1:12-vc-01505-RC" (PDF). United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Protecting Freshwater Resources On Mount Hood Nation Forest". Pacific Rivers Council. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Major Contributors". BARK. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Mitchell, Ben (17 Dec 2013). "Ruling brings Nestlé closer to CL". Hood River News. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Mitchell, Ben (10 Sep 2013). "State hears testimony on Nestlé". Hood River News. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "BARK v. United States Forest Service". The Environmental Law Reporter. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Jazz Thin". United States Forest Service. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jazz Timber Sale". BARK. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Perkowski, Mateusz (15 Apr 2014). "Judge sides with Forest Service on timber sale". Capital Press. Retrieved 29 Apr 2014. 
  17. ^ "Judge Sides With Forest Service On Oregon Thinning Project". Timber Harvesting. 18 Apr 2014. Retrieved 29 Apr 2014. 
  18. ^ Becker, Tim (15 Apr 2014). "Lawsuit fails to prevent Jazz Timber Sale". KOIN. Retrieved 29 Apr 2014. 
  19. ^ "Board and Staff". Bark. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "100,000 Endangered Species Condoms Shipped to 50 States". Center for Biological Diversity. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "SIGNAL FIRE ORGANIZERS". Signal Fire. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Harwood, Amy (25 Mar 2013). "Guest Opinion: The case against the Timberline MTB park". Bike Portland. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Bagby Hot Springs". Walkie Talkie. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Spring bird walk at Smith and Bybee Wetlands". Metro. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Spore Prints" (PDF). Portland Mycological Society. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Courtney Johnson - Staff Attorney". Crag Law Center. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "TV Series". Philosophers Seed. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "2013 Honors Theses" (PDF). Drew University. Retrieved 7 May 2014.