Saturday, December 3, 2022

Protests in Jackson Demonstration State Forest Escalate in the Face of Unsafe Logging, Threats of Violence, and Harassment of Tribal leaders


The following is a press release issued by Redwood Nation Earth First! Mama Tree Network:

On Tuesday, Oct 5, Coyote Valley Tribal Chairman Michael Hunter was on the Soda Gulch site to investigate the veracity of statements made by California Secretary for Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot, to Hunter and some thirty members of the Association of Tribal Council Chairpersons at a recent meeting in Sacramento, that “no logging is taking place” in Jackson. (See story

Captured on video and audio recordings, Chairman Hunter shows that, in fact, logging is taking place, and documents the death threats and intimidation tactics aimed at him that day. When Hunter asked a nearby faller to please not kill him “accidentally” the man replied “It wouldn’t be accidental.” When a Leer Assets Management security guard hired as a ‘safety officer’ demanded identification of Hunter and told him to leave the property, Chairman Hunter responded, “Who are you to ask me to leave? I’m Pomo. This is my ancestral land”.

Protests in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) were met with increasingly dangerous responses this week as loggers threatened nonviolent activists trying to prevent what they see as further destruction of public land. Citizen monitors are hiking miles into the woods to discover and confront active tree falling and yarding operations still taking place on the steep slopes of Soda Gulch timber harvest plan (THP) 1-20-00041 MEN.

Until recently, loggers had stopped falling trees when protestors were present. This week, loggers are instead being told by supervising Registered Professional Forester (RPF) Jason Cerna, to continue falling trees near activists, putting both activists and loggers in danger. Although Calfire has law enforcement power, it has so far declined to arrest any protestors on State property during the protests. Instead, Calfire has hired individuals from Lear Asset Management Security Company who have menaced, harassed and verbally threatened activists, while refusing to identify themselves. On Wednesday, Cerna ordered these so-called “safety officers’ to cut down numerous mature oak trees not marked for cut, in order to block a trail used by activists to reach the logging site.

Loggers have cut wedges out of some trunks but left the trees standing. Some trees have been cut almost clear through from both sides, balancing on a pencil point in the center and creating a hazard to anyone present.

The 440 acre Soda Gulch plan calls for cutting second growth Redwood and Douglas Fir that scientists say are worth more standing as carbon sinks and hedges against climate change than as board feet for private profit. They point out that forest recreation brings in six times more revenue to perennially cash-strapped Mendocino County. Visitors are shocked to learn that clearcuts lie just beyond locked gates along the many foot and bicycle trails in Jackson Forest.

The Soda Gulch plan also calls for herbicides to kill 90% of mostly small and some large Tanoaks across 115 acres of the plan, to be replaced by commercially lucrative Redwood and Douglas Fir. However, the presence of such a large area of tan oak, as shown in 1947 aerial photos, indicate it may be an historic Native orchard. Acorns were planted by Native people as a staple food source that sustained large Indigenous populations and are still vital for cultural restoration and healthy wildlife.

Soda Gulch is one of six THPs being monitored daily by forest protectors. The Coalition to Save Jackson Forest is calling for a moratorium so that JDSF’s out-of-date Management Plan can updated to reflect current conditions of climate change and the Mission Statement reoriented towards Indigenous co-management.



  1. When will we white people just go away. We’ve done enough harm to this world. Was murdering millions of native american families, centuries ago, not enough? Staying out of what’s left of their forests, is the least we can do. Reparations are so very long overdue.

    • “When will we white people just go away?” Is your house made of lumber? Do you request paper bags at the grocery store? Do you write on paper? Shame on you for using things made of wood.

  2. Here we go chasing more jobs out of California and raising the cost to live even further in this crumbling state.

  3. We are all indigenous to this sacred planet Earth. Our one & only Earth. We all need clean water, air & foods to live. It is essential to work together to prevent further distruction of our forests, waters, mountains & skies. Those trees in Jackson Forest, & all the life in, around & beneath them, should be protected from futher distruction. Now is the time to speak up for our more than human kin & work together. If you disagree: i still wish you & your family good health & peace. Working together is key now. Water is life.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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