The following is a press release from the Coalition to Save Jackson State Forest:
The Coalition to Save Jackson State Forest (the Coalition) recently unveiled a new petition. The petition outlines the Coalition’s vision for Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) and advocates for the State to take concrete steps to change the management of the forest.
For decades, JDSF has been a lightning rod for protests due to its legislative mandate which requires commercial logging on State-owned lands. This coastal redwood and douglas fir forest is a cultural landscape for the Northern Pomo and Coast Yuki peoples, a hotbed of biodiversity, a key tool in the fight against climate change, and a beloved place for outdoor recreation. But those values are currently threatened by commercial logging which prioritizes profits over the environment and Native American culture.
The petition calls on the governor of California and the entire state legislature to take action to conserve JDSF. As a State Forest JDSF is the responsibility of all legislators and all Californians, not solely CalFire and North Coast politicians. It is time for California to implement Governor Newsom’s Statement of Administrative Policy from 2020 that directed state agencies to pursue co-management with Tribes of state-owned land in their ancestral Tribal territories, in order to initiate true reconciliation between the State and Tribes for harms done.
“This petition launch comes after years of lobbying, direct action, Tribal negotiations with the state, and many other strategies,” said Tribal elder Priscilla Hunter. “We launched the petition to show Gov. Newsom, CalFire and Jackson managers that it’s time to come into the 21st century, in this age of climate crisis and biodiversity crisis in their forest management and to see that the forest, the Tribes, the critters and the people need a new mandate and management plan for this irreplaceable and sacred forest.”
One of the goals of the petition is to clarify the Coalition’s positions and to exhibit broad support for that stance, in order to facilitate a dialogue with the State. The petition advocates for five concrete steps that the State can take to improve JDSF’s management:
- amend the current legislative mandate,
- declare a moratorium on timber operations until other steps are taken,
- negotiate an equal co-management agreement with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians,
- respect and protect the Native American cultural sites and the entire cultural landscape, and
- implement protections for JDSF that will conserve it in-line with California’s 30×30 goal.
“Our hope is that the petition will demonstrate broad support for our position,” said Matt Simmons, an attorney with the Environmental Protection Information Center. “People don’t want to see profit-driven logging continue on State owned forests, especially in our iconic redwoods.”
Support is growing fast for the petition, currently circulating with 2,000 signatures. Those numbers are expected to increase with its statewide release.