The following is a press release issued by Redwood Nation Earth First!
At dawn today forest protectors nonviolently blocked loggers from entering the highly contested timber harvest plan (THP) known as Red Tail, halting logging activities in Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF) 6 miles east of Ft. Bragg near the popular Camp One campground. Activists said they are issuing an “Earth First! Stop Work Order” to replace the “pause” CalFire had agreed to during recent on-going talks but appears to have abruptly jettisoned.
Red Tail is one of four plans where Cal Fire has announced they will resume operations, regardless of public outcry and despite being in the midst of Government-to-Government talks and consultations with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians to establish ground rules for a new co-management plan for the publicly-owned 48,000 acre redwood forest.
In a press release issued on Aug. 25, Deputy Director for Resource Management Mathew Reischman unilaterally declared that “Working with local Native American tribes, forest stakeholders, timber operators, conservation organizations and the local community has brought us to a reasonable place for resuming sustainable operations (italics added) in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest.” To the contrary, activists and community members involved in the Campaign to Save Jackson say this is far from the truth.
“Communication is a two-way street,” said forest protector and Jackson Forest neighbor, George Russell, who was arrested in January while protesting in Red Tail. “The community was blindsided by the announcement. What little trust had been developed with CalFire has been shattered.”
In May, CalFire led a walk-around in Red Tail with Coyote Valley Pomo Chairman Hunter and members of the Coalition which generated a letter listing numerous concerns about the plan, including that CalFire, the agency managing Jackson, is not following their own Option A regulations governing how they meet sustainable objectives. The overarching concern is that CalFire is cutting in excess of the limits on Old Growth.
Longtime community member and THP authority, “Linda Perkins stated, “Red Tail is an
Older Forest Development Area under Option A, as designated in the JDSF Management Plan.
Our concerns, stated in the letter sent [by Linda Perkins and Matt Simmons] on December 15th, 2021, still stand. The Red Tail THP violates the JDSF Option A, and we still await a written reply.”
The out-of-the-blue declaration that logging would restart came as a shock to Natives and non-Natives alike, as CalFire did not even notify Chairman Michael Hunter, with whom they had been at the negotiating table for the past six months. Chairman Hunter has expressed doubt in the State’s “seriousness” about actually implementing Equal Co-management in which the Tribe would have equal say with the State over management decisions.Coyote Valley is a Sovereign Nation within whose ancestral territory Jackson Forest lies. Governor Newsom has issued a Directive to all State Lands agencies to engage in co-Management of such lands with Indigenous Tribes.
Jackson activists reject the meager “modifications” CalFire is offering as piecemeal and wholly inadequate. For example, cutting “smaller trees” only up to four feet in diameter, slightly increasing protections for cultural heritage sites while continuing to desecrate them, and removing slash piles, which is already required by law. They insist a new Mandate is needed to remove the requirement that the forest produce lumber and instead create a new paradigm focused on cultural heritage protection, restoration and recreation.
Protests have proliferated since CalFire’s announcement, with marches in Ft. Bragg and demonstrations on Highway 20 and in Willits over the Memorial Day weekend. Six people were arrested in Sacramento last week at the California Natural Resources (CNRA) building while protesting CalFire’s betrayal. The six linked arms and blocked the doors as fifty protestors chanted “No More Broken Promises!” The CNRA building is the workplace of CalFire’s boss, Secretary Wade Crowfoot, who has been at the forefront of negotiations with the Pomo Tribe, calling on him to immediately reinstate the moratorium, aka “pause,” on all logging activities in Jackson.