Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Community, environmental and tribal activists opposed to renewed logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest plan to rally in the forest Sunday and warn of potential civil disobedience in the future.
The notice comes in response to a Cal Fire announcement that tree cutting would resume as early as this week on at least one of four incomplete timber harvest plans in the Mendocino County forest. Those plans were recently revised to halt removal of the largest trees.
The return of logging crews ends an eight-month pause on tree removal that allowed state officials to start rethinking priorities for the nearly 50,000-acre forest and begin negotiations with local tribes that are seeking co-management rights.
But critics say it’s still too soon to end the pause. They argue that ideas floated in a “vision statement” released last week don’t amount to the updated forest management plan demanded by advocates and promised by Cal Fire.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/critics-of-jackson-forest-logging-to-hold-rally-warn-of-potential-civil-di/
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Just days after releasing a new vision statement reflecting a greater focus on climate mitigation and wildfire prevention at Jackson Demonstration State Forest, Cal Fire announced a nearly eight-month pause on logging in the forest will end.
Wednesday’s announcement came as a surprise to environmental advocates, including members of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians who are in the middle of negotiating for co-management rights in the forest.
Four approved timber harvest plans in the state-owned forest were put on hold — one last year and the others over the winter — after public outcry over the removal of large redwood trees. Those plans are expected to recommence in phases before the end of the year, Cal Fire said.
Crews could begin cutting any day in the 737-acre Chamberlain Confluence harvest plan, where they already have spent recent weeks hauling downed logs that were cut and stacked last winter, State Demonstration Forest Manager Kevin Conway said.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/logging-to-restart-in-jackson-forest-as-soon-as-this-week/
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Revitalizing Management of the Jackson Demonstration Forest (pdf)
Cal Fire has released what is says is a “new forward-looking vision” for Jackson Demonstration State Forest that reflects the realities of climate change and extreme wildfire risk.
And while it creates pathways for co-management with local tribal nations, future management of the nearly 50,000-acre state-owned forest will still likely include sustainable logging.
Cal Fire spokeswoman Christine McMorrow, resource management communications officer, described the vision statement as “a starting point” to guide development of a new forest management plan. It comes in the wake of a recent public outcry over commercial-scale logging, particularly near the coastal town of Caspar, where a timber harvest plan was brought to a halt by demonstrators in the woods last year.
Cal Fire and the California Natural Resources Agency, which oversees it, promise “a renewed focus on climate science, restoration ecology and a new model for tribal comanagement” in the future, the vision statement says.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/cal-fire-announces-new-vision-for-jackson-forest-reduces-cutting-of-big/
Gregory Thomas, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
See Guerneville Forest Coalition “The Clar Tree” for more information.
Standing on the side of Highway 116, which winds through the dense forests of western Sonoma County, John Dunlap looked across the Russian River into a stand of tall trees and pointed out one old redwood in particular.
“It’s really a hidden gem here that’s kind of out of sight, out of mind,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean it isn’t deserving of our attention.”
Up from the riverbank near Guerneville is the county’s tallest tree, an estimated 2,000-year-old, 340-footer known as the Clar Tree. Once thought to be the highest tree in California, it carries the name of a timber family that lived in the area back when it was a logging capital. It is easily identifiable by its dead, forked crown — the result of a lightning strike some years ago.
Passersby wouldn’t be able to glean the tree’s significance at a glance — its prominence is somewhat camouflaged by its brethren — yet the Clar is at the center of an impassioned dispute over how best to care for California’s iconic, old-growth coast redwoods, the towering titans that have inspired generations of naturalists but were nearly cut to extinction during California’s frenzied development 150 years ago.
The tree stands at the edge of a 224-acre property of redwoods, firs and oaks that has been logged in pieces for decades and is considered a “high fire hazard severity zone.” The Cloverdale timber company that owns the land, Redwood Empire Sawmill, is intent on harvesting redwood there “sustainably” and as soon as possible.
Read more at https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Sonoma-redwood-tree-California-forest-17331172.php?
Ashley Harrell, SFGATE
A century-old redwood — California’s most revered tree — lies dead on the forest floor.
Its trunk has been sawed into two large sections, a message scrawled on its stump in red marker: “STOP.” Beneath, the stump’s diameter is recorded: 55 inches, about the height of a 10-year-old child. Lower still, in smaller letters, another message: “This is not fire prevention.”
Surrounding this tree are other redwoods that have been felled or girdled, meaning large swaths of their bark have been carved away from their trunks. More redwoods are marked blue — they too are slated for a timber harvest. Dead foliage and piles of branches abound.
The wounded and dead trees look like casualties left behind on a battlefield. And in a way, that’s what they are.
Welcome to Jackson Demonstration State Forest, a 48,652-acre forest managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Although it’s little-known outside the coastal Northern California county of Mendocino, Jackson has become ground zero in an escalating war over the management of redwoods on public land, with catastrophic wildfires and global climate change necessitating urgency and raising the stakes.
Read more at https://www.sfgate.com/california-news/article/norcal-jackson-forest-redwood-logging-controversy-16530191.php
Chris McManus, INDEPENDENT COAST OBSERVER
As part of its Salmonid and Watershed Restoration Project, Friends of Gualala River has launched a new lawsuit, this one focused on the Gualala River’s North Fork in the watershed’s northwest corner, the only hydrologic area of the watershed that is not temperature impaired.
The suit was filed last Wednesday in Alameda Superior Court against the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Water Resources Control Board and Gualala Redwood Timber, LLC, seeking to stop Gualala Redwood Timber’s “Far North” timber harvest plan, No. 1-20-00150 MEN.
The new suit comes as FoGR is continuing to fight Gualala Redwood Timber’s “Dogwood III” THP. Judge James Donato on Tuesday issued a 14-day temporary restraining order on that timber harvest plan while he continues to consider a longer restraining order in the federal case brought by FoGR and the Center for Biological Diversity.
The newest lawsuit against the water boards is part of systemic reform FoGR is seeking to hold state agencies involved in the review of timber harvest plans accountable for their roles in the process. Previous lawsuits have targeted CalFire, the final reviewer and approver of timber harvest plans in California.
Read more at https://gualalariver.org/press/friends-of-gualala-river-launch-new-lawsuit-targeting-logging-on-north-fork/
Katherine Minkiewicz, SONOMA WEST TIMES & NEWS
The Guerneville Forest Coalition — a nonprofit group of Guerneville community members, business owners and landowners — is raising concern over a proposed 224-acre Timber Harvest Plan and logging operation in the Silver Grove area near the 2,000-year-old Clar Tree, an ancient redwood that is the tallest tree in Sonoma County.
And while the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) for the proposed logging area has protection measures in place for the tree, including a 75-foot buffer zone, many believe the great tree would be insufficiently protected by the allotted buffer zone.
There are also other concerns with the operation, including increased fire risk, flooding, erosion and landslides, Russian River sedimentation and the effect on local flora and fauna.
“In June 2020, a plan was filed with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) by a major timber operator to log 224 acres of redwoods and Douglas firs near the banks of the Russian River,” according to the Guerneville Forest Coalition.
Since then, the group and concerned citizens in the area have been vocal in their opposition toward the plan and have been lobbying for more protective measures for the Clar Tree.
Read more at https://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/guerneville-forest-coalition-and-residents-lobby-for-more-clar-tree-protections-mitigation-measures-for-proposed/article_38fa6700-928b-11eb-b2ff-1b888a8118af.html
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A legal battle over plans to log in the lower Gualala River flood plain is heading into a fifth year, despite a recent victory in state appeals court by Gualala Redwood Timber and Cal Fire which first approved the project back in 2016.
The fight over the 342-acre timber project in the northwest corner of Sonoma County adjacent Gualala Point Regional Park is now shifting to a new case gearing up in federal court.
But the bottom line is still the same. Gualala Redwood Timber and its owner, Roger Burch of Healdsburg, want to cut timber from the watershed to feed local sawmills that Burch also owns.
Friends of the Gualala River, a 30-year-old grassroots nonprofit organization supported by like-minded groups around the region, is seeking to block the harvest, which is targeting stands of second-growth forest including some century-old redwoods.
At issue is what’s described in the group’s federal suit as “one of California’s last remaining mature riparian redwood forest.”
Charles Ivor, president of Friends of the Gualala River characterized the forest as having evolved over thousands of years to provide a rich and balanced ecosystem only to be nearly wiped out by the log production that helped build San Francisco and much of the North Coast.
Gualala Redwood Timber agents have consistently maintained their plan adheres to state forest practice rules and restrictions developed specifically to protect imperiled steelhead trout and salmon runs in the Gualala River.
Read more at: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/gualala-river-logging-project-clears-hurdle-in-state-court-as-federal-case/?
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A plan to log 224 acres of steep land above the Russian River, on the outskirts of Guerneville and Monte Rio, is expected to win approval in the coming days despite heavy opposition from residents and activists alarmed by the project’s proximity to rural communities and the natural landscape that draws tourists there.
Representatives for the Roger Burch family, which owns the property and the Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale — where logs from the Silver Estates timber harvest would be milled — said the forest is overstocked and badly in need of thinning to promote the growth of larger trees and reduce excess fuels.
But opponents say they remain unsatisfied by the planning process and have myriad outstanding concerns — everything from effects on wildlife habitat to soil stability, wildfire risks and visual impacts.
They say the plan is governed by “outdated” forest practice rules that fail to account for climate change and heightened wildfire risks where wildland abuts or mixes with settled areas.
“I still feel like we’re living with the legacy of Stumptown, and we still have to make amends,” said John Dunlap, a leader of the local Guerneville Forest Coalition. Stumptown was the nickname acquired by the community during the logging boom at the turn of the 20th century, when timber from the area helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fires. “It’s sort of like we’re not really listening to what the environment is telling us.”
Read more at: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/224-acre-logging-plan-above-russian-river-near-guerneville-awaiting-approva/?sba=AAS
FRIENDS OF THE GUALALA RIVER
Friends of Gualala River (FoGR) recently took legal action to appeal the decision on the Dogwood timber harvest plan (THP) to the State Appellate Court. In addition, FoGR sought an injunction on logging until the appeal could be heard. The court granted the injunction last week which temporarily suspends logging of Dogwood. Gualala Redwood Timber’s (GRT) logging of Dogwood could have commenced as early as April 15. A hearing date for the appeal is presently unknown.
The Dogwood THP includes logging 342 acres of second-growth and mature redwood forest within the sensitive floodplain of the Gualala River. The THP area is located close to the Sonoma County Gualala Point Regional Park Campground, extending up river to Switchville, at the Green Bridge, and continuing along the South Fork which flows parallel to The Sea Ranch and directly across from, and beyond, the “Hot Spot.” Additional tracts of land containing large redwoods are included in the expansive THP including units beyond twin bridges and along creeks in the Gualala River Watershed.
The THP abuts a portion of the main stem of Gualala River which is designated as a Wild and Scenic river by the State of California for its natural beauty and recreational value. The river is also listed as “impaired” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency due to excessive sediment and temperature.
FoGR first filed suit to challenge the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (Cal Fire) approval of Dogwood in 2016. FoGR prevailed in its initial and subsequent suit against Cal Fire on the grounds that Cal Fire failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Read more and find more information at http://gualalariver.org/news/friends-of-gualala-river-move-to-halt-dogwood-logging-plan/