Grants Pass, OR -

Conservation groups are challenging U.S. Forest Service plans to log and thin outside Crater Lake National Park in an area that the groups want to see protected as wilderness.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene by the groups Cascadia Wild and Oregon Wild.

They are asking a judge to stop the Loafer timber sale in an area east of Diamond Lake on the Umpqua National Forest.

The lawsuit argues that the Forest Service should more fully examine the project's potential harm to protected species like northern spotted owls and red tree voles.

It adds that the logging requires building a road through two areas of virgin forest, making them ineligible for future wilderness designation.

A Forest Service spokesman said they don't comment on pending litigation.