The following is a press release issued by the Mama Tree Network:
On Wednesday morning, Sept. 21, 2022, forest protectors nonviolently stopped operations in the highly contested timber harvest plan (THP) known as Red Tail, in Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF) 6 miles east of Ft. Bragg near the popular Camp One campground. Activists were present yesterday as Citizen Monitors, to ensure that only previously-downed logs are being removed via existing roads, and that no further logging or road building operations are attempted. This is pursuant to the CalFire-led walk in Red Tail in May 2022 to discuss the THP, where CalFire asked the Coalition to Save Jackson to put concerns in writing.
The largest community concern in the Red Tail THP is 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 and Older Forest Development. Citizen Monitors found extremely old trees turned into logs in this supposedly Older Forest Development zone of JDSF, see photos.
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.”
Local resident and forest defender Anna Marie Stenberg said, “The utter destruction we saw in Redtail today makes it clear that Cal Fire’s “new vision for the forest” is more of the same propaganda. They are destroying our State Forest as quickly as they can.”
Other concerns noted by the Citizen Monitors yesterday include the damage done to roads and the softer soil on the edges of roads by heavy machinery due to the cable yarding and log decking processes. “They were clearly working after recent heavy rains and should not have been on these small dirt roads. When the next rain comes it is going to wash this soil right down into the river, which causes siltation and death for salmonids. Coho salmon were found in this fork of the Noyo River this past year, for the first time in many years, and they must be protected from this devastation.”
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.
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 Earth First! activists blocking logging access, marches in Ft. Bragg and demonstrations on Highway 20. Six people were arrested in Sacramento August 30th 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.
Redwood Nation Earth First! plans to attend the rally hosted by the Coalition to Save Jackson on September 28th, 2022, at the California Natural Resources Agency Headquarters, where the State plans to celebrate their 30×30 climate change goals. Earth First! will be not be celebrating, but rather sharing the truth of what is happening in JDSF.