The following is a press release issued by the Environmental Protection Information Center:
CalFire announced today that logging would resume in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County, previously put on “pause” while negotiations with local tribal nations were underway. CalFire made this announcement without informing the tribes that they have been at the table with for six months.
Michael Hunter, chair of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, said he was “shocked” by the news and raised doubts about the whole effort. “The State did not even bother to notify The Tribe beforehand. The State wants to continue logging our Pomo Homeland—the Jackson Demonstration State Forest—while negotiating a co-management agreement with the Coyote Valley Tribe. This makes me question the State’s seriousness about Co-Managing ancestral lands. The State still does not understand that there is a difference between Co-Management and tribal consultation. Tribes must not be relegated to an advisory role in managing their ancestral lands. For co-management to succeed, it must be a government to government relationship that creates equal decision making powers. I worry that the State does not understand the importance of the words they are using. We must ensure that co-management creates an equal relationship between the State and the Tribes with equal decision-making authority.”
CalFire plans to resume logging four controversial Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) that were halted by protests last year. These THPs were written without community or tribal involvement and directly threaten large second growth coastal redwoods and tribal Sacred Sites. Instead of listening to the community, CalFire has unilaterally made slight adjustments to the plan and is restarting operations.
“CalFire appears intent on burning bridges,” said Matt Simmons, staff attorney at the Environmental Protection Information Center. “The ‘pause’ in operations made community input and tribal negotiations possible. Now, any progress or goodwill has been shattered. We call on CalFire not to resume logging until they have a new Management Plan.”
“Redwood forests have amazing climate mitigation potential and management needs to maximize that potential,” said Sara Rose, a youth activist with Mendocino County Youth for Climate. “My generation will have to live with what the planet becomes if we don’t save it. We have to face the reality of Climate Change.”
Resuming operations also calls into question the new “vision” outlined by CalFire released on August 19th, which among other things, promised tribal co-management of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. That CalFire is considering a new vision at all is the direct result of more than two years of tireless advocacy by a broad community that was appalled by the way the State was managing this forest. Until they were stopped by forest defenders, CalFire was authoring timber harvest plans (THPs) that engaged in climate change denial, logged some of the largest trees in the forest, and damaged Native American Sacred Sites. Many of the changes discussed in CalFire’s vision sound good in theory. The Coalition was initially encouraged that CalFire is discussing co-management and the fact that the forest will no longer be funded entirely by timber sales. However, the announced resumption of logging calls into question whether or not these promises can be successfully implemented and whether co-management would be pursued in good faith.
On Sunday August 28th, from 1-4pm the Mendocino County Youth for Climate are holding a rally at the Caspar Scales in JDSF. The Coalition encourages members of the public who support changing the forest’s mandate and want logging to remain paused to make their voices heard there.