Thursday, July 25, 2024

Environmental Advocates Urge Public Participation in Jackson Demonstration State Forest Advisory Group


The following is a press release issued by the Coalition to Save Jackson Forest:

Jackson Demonstration State Forest [Image from the United States Forest Service]

The Coalition to Save Jackson Forest urges everyone concerned about the fate of Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) to attend the meeting of the Jackson Advisory Group (the “JAG”) on Wed., May 8th at 9:00 a.m. to make their voices heard. It will be held at the Fort Bragg Lions Club, 430 East Redwood Ave, Fort Bragg.

“There might be more to their agenda than meets the eye”, said long time local activist and former JAG member, Bill Heil, adding that “people should come and find out for themselves what CalFire is really up to.” The single action item on the overstuffed JAG Agenda, the “Pyrosilviculture” timber harvest plan (THP), is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. when many attendees may be at lunch. The Coalition will request that the item be taken up during the morning session.

Regarding the JAG Charter Revision, another agenda item with possibly far-reaching implications, Andy Wellspring, of the Jackson Forest Coalition, references this March letter from the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) to CalFire, noting: “It concerns me that CalFire did not release any draft changes to the JAG Charter before public comments were due April 30th. This may be a violation of the Bagley Keene Act. This, after they changed the meeting date, both are actions to keep the public from being able to participate. If they can’t share documents for an agenda item before the public comments are due, the topic should not be allowed on the agenda.”

Other issues the Coalition seeks to address are:

  • Co-management agreements with local Tribes must be negotiated prior to a consultant developing a draft management plan or new THPs, so that Tribes can co-create a new forest management plan alongside the State; instead, CalFire continues to propose new Timber Harvest Plans
  • Cutting oversized fuel breaks in the forest
  • Applying herbicides without consulting with Tribes or the public
  • Using “Hack and Squirt,” a method of herbicide application to kill Tan Oaks and leave them standing. JDSF should comply with Mendocino County’s Measure V, made law in 2016, which declared the practice a fire hazard
  • Reappointment of John Andersen, Director of Forest Policy for Mendocino Redwood Company to the JAG, despite glaring conflicts of interest

The Coalition continues to insist on a total halt to all logging, road building and other invasive activity in Jackson until a new Co-management agreement is completed and accepted by all the Tribes. Under a 2020 order by Governor Newsom, all State lands should be co-managed with Tribes whose ancestors were dispossessed of their traditional territories. Jackson State Forest lies within the ancestral lands of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, Round Valley Indian Tribes, Northern Yuki Tribe, and others.

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Coalition members say CalFire, the JAG and the Board of Forestry have been unresponsive to the concerns they have raised about management of the nearly 50,000 acre forest. Numerous letters from the Coalition to CalFire and the JAG have gone unanswered and after the Coalition presentation to the Board of Forestry in Sacramento in December 2023, no substantive reply has been received. The public can view the exchange of letters between the Coalition and the Board of Forestry since the Coalition’s presentation.

“CalFire will need to do more than give lip service to the concepts of real Co-management instead of just trying to get away with business as usual”, concluded Bill Heil.

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  1. My experience as a JAG member was that if the JAG wanted to do something the CalFire staff was not in favor of, staff would ensure it didn’t happen. It was a very frustrating experience.

    • That is not how the JAG works. If you want to manage the state forest, don’t become a JAG member, become a forestry professional and work for the state. The JAG’s purpose is to ensure that the projects that calfire proposes
      Are in accordance with the management plan. Sounds like you didn’t know what you were doing the whole time.

  2. These “environmental activists” are a joke. They’re a bunch of nut job conspiracy theorists. Calfire is just managing the forest. There’s no hidden agenda.

    • Annie,
      Perform some due diligence rather than submit and abdicate to pure propaganda.

      Parroting baseless and spurious accusations coupled with near pure ignorance of the facts will not help any of the stakeholders with the exception of the robber barons sucking on the public teet.

      The CalFire Board of Forestry is almost entirely staffed by people with extreme conflicts of interest who have zero interest and knowledge in forest ecology….except for monocultures planted explicitly for the purpose of short term privatized monetary gains while socializing the real and measurable losses to the public commons.
      It’s called Corporate Welfare for the Richest Class.

      • You are in the wrong section, Non-Fiction.

        First, the Board of Forestry doesn’t manage the state forest. That Board is responsible for protecting all forest land in California, excluding federal land. The Board takes direction from laws passed by our legislature.

        Second, Calfire forestry professionals who have college degrees and years of experience in forestry, biological sciences, hydrology, etc., are the ones who manage state forests. They are also mandated by legislature – to manage the state forests.

        Third, Jackson was all cut down in the late 1800s, early 1900s, except for a handful of acres, to rebuild San Francisco after the historic and destructive earthquakes. It was only later bought by the state, which now manages it.

        My point is, when you cut acres of old redwood forest, what grows from that is not old redwood forest, not right away. It takes hundreds of years. In the meanwhile, the forest becomes very dense with small trees. This is dangerous in times of increasing global temperatures and increasing wildfire. Dense forests also stunt the growth of individual trees, stress the trees out, can cause bark beetle infestation, can cause tree disease to spread, and so on.

        These forests need management to become healthier, safer forests. You are being selfish and stubborn to wish otherwise.


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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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