portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

forest defense

Mattole Update Info - 10/21/00

Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL) is trying to begin clearcutting the second largest intact stand of lowland old-growth Douglas Fir in California - Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole River watershed of the Lost Coast.
<b>Mattole\'s Rainbow Ridge Must Stand!</b>

<p>Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL) is trying to begin clearcutting the second
largest intact stand of lowland old-growth Douglas Fir in California -
Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole River watershed of the Lost Coast. Rainbow is
among the ten largest areas of privately-held ancient forests in the entire
Pacific Northwest. This logging would fragment 3,000 acres of ancient
forests by clearcutting nearly 350 acres in over 30 units spread throughout
the North Fork Mattole basin. This is the first of the so-called \"sacrifice
zones\" in which PL is allowed, under the terms of the Headwaters Deal
Habitat Conservation Plan to ignore the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Despite the ESA exemption, the devastation of this old-growth forest is
illegal on numerous grounds.</p>

<p>The North Fork Mattole is home to Coho salmon and steelhead trout, river
otters, northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, pacific fishers, and a small
rural community. It is a pristine, remote, very steep and rugged mix of
forest and prairie, and receives an average of 100 inches of rainfall
annually, much in concentrated deluges. It is also one of the most
seismically active regions in the US. Continuing landslides occur from
1985 clearcuts, generating enormous quantities of sediment into this
impaired river system. The Mattole provides habitat for the only chinook
runs still using coastal streams between the Sacramento and Eel rivers.
Dozens of runs have been extirpated over the last forty years. This makes
it even more critical that the Mattole chinook stocks survive. Without
them, the possibility of restoring runs to other streams in California is
very unlikely.</p>

<p>This year seven Timber Harvest Plans (THP\'s) have been making their way
through the bureaucracy for logging on and around Rainbow. Although several
of these plans are contiguous, both Maxxam and the California Dept. of
Forestry (CDF) are dealing with them individually, as if there are no
cumulative effects to clearcutting hundreds of acres ancient forests on
steep slopes in earthquake country. Surprise, surprise.</p>

<p>Approval of these illegal plans was virtually guaranteed following a
January 18th meeting with Susan Kennedy, (Governor Gray Davis\' Cabinet
Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff), Maxxam DC lobbyist Tommy Boggs (who
netted a $30 million commission for greasing the skids of the Headwaters
Forest Deal), PL Exec. VP and General Counsel Jared Carter, and the
Directors and key Deputies of the CDF and Cal. Dept. of Fish & Game. At
that meeting Kennedy and Maxxam told the agencies to \"bend over backwards\"
to approve these clearcuts and \"back off\" attempts to protect fish and
wildlife according to the dictates of state law, (See PEER\'s report at
<a href=\"\"></a>). Gov. Davis has thus shown how he
backs up his campaign pledge to ensure that \"wetlands are preserved, rivers
are clean, and all old-growth trees are spared from the lumberjack\'s ax.\"</p>

<p>The first of the seven plans - THP 1-99-475HUM - was approved in early
September, but temporarily stopped in court by EPIC, the Petrolia-based
Lost Coast League and the Humboldt Watershed Council. Unfortunately, that
temporary stay was lost in early November, and on Nov. 10th, Columbia
Helicopter employees, under contract to Maxxam/PL went in to begin logging.
However, the Columbia workers (mostly from Oregon), were rather surprised
to be met deep in the woods by over a dozen local forest defenders. At the
end of day, after tired sheriffs had been trudging up and down the hills
trying to catch the spry forest defenders, only one tree had been cut.
However, two valiant activists, Soma and Iguana, had suffered at the \"hands
of justice\" when the sheriffs pepper sprayed them in the face for
attempting to engage the workers in dialogue. Although loggers were
expected throughout that weekend, as is the Maxxam-style of PL management,
none showed.</p>

<p>Around twenty Mattole community members rallied at PL\'s Monument Gate early
Monday morning Nov. 13th, awaiting the arrival of the timber fallers. As
dawn was breaking, the skies opened and rain and hail began falling. No
fallers showed that day either. By the end of that day, the 20+ defenders
now in the woods, were camped out among 4 inches of freshly fallen snow.
Forest defense in the woods has continued to grow, despite the incredible
hike into the area and the extreme weather conditions for this part of
coastal California. (How well would those tough Wild Rockies guys do in the
damp cold of the Coast?!) On Monday, Nov. 20th, another 35 people waited at
Monument Gate, this time, PL\'s head security goon, Carl Anderson was there
with a few sheriff\'s deputies, but still no fallers.</p>

<p>We continue to pray for rain, as neither Maxxam nor the sheriffs can use
the seasonal roads on Long Ridge and Rainbow Ridge for timber operations
until 48 hours after the last rains (or snow!). Columbia can airlift their
guys in, but they can\'t even drive around on ATVs once they\'re out there.
So far, they haven\'t resorted to airlifts, although it certainly does not
seem beyond Maxxam\'s MO.</p>

<p>Meanwhile, the other timber harvest plans are still in the pipeline.
00-218 proposed salvaging 33 acres that were illegally cut in 1998, when
the courts told Maxxam three times they could not remove the logs. It was
approved on 9/19 and has since been completed. This plan also included a
1/2-acre clearcut, the same area that forest defenders protected in 1998,
clearly a \"spite cut\" on Maxxam/PL\'s part.</p>

<p>THP\'s 00-020 and 00-031 were approved recently and are currently held up in
court. Approval is likely to happen soon on 98-260, with 00-309 and 00-342
following closely behind. All of these plans combined will badly damage
this beautiful stand of old-growth Douglas fir.</p>

<p>Community members are working to protect this forest on many fronts: in the
woods, in the courts, and finally, by buying it outright. The long-term
vision for Rainbow is to purchase the 14,000-acre North Fork Mattole lands
from PL to protect the ancient forests and other areas of high conservation
value, while managing the cut-over lands and rangelands in an ecologically
responsible manner. This acquisition is unique in that it is proposing to
keep the land private (not giving it to the feds), for long-term community

<b>Please contact:</b><br>
<center>Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz (713-975-7600, 713-952-4795 FAX)</center>
<center>PL President John Campbell (707-764-4212, 707-764-4269 FAX)</center>
<p>and tell them that it would be in their best interest to avoid another public
campaign to defend the ancient forests of the North Coast and instead
institute a voluntary moratorium while the community can negotiate an
option to purchase these incredible forests.</p>

<p>For more info and regular alerts, check out <a href=\" http://www.asis.com/~coho\">
 http://www.asis.com/~coho</a>. If you can help in the woods, call the Mattole
Forest Defenders hotline at 707-441-3828, actions will likely be happening
all winter, unless a voluntary moratorium is offered. Backcountry gear, food,
and cash donations can be sent to POB 117, Petrolia, CA 95558.</p>

homepage: homepage: http://www.asis.com/~coho
address: address: Petrolia, CA