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forest defense

Firsthand Account from Straw Devil

A brief reccollection of destruction, anger, and love.
I woke up before the sun rose yesterday morning, to the sound of heavy machinery rumbling on the forest road (FS 5875) near where I slept beneath stately old cedars in Unit 2 of the sale. It took me a moment to realize this was not the usual early morning parade of heavy machinery going to work on the railroad - this convoy was stopping right at the head of the trail into the unit. I snuck up to near the road and heard car doors slamming and voices shouting back and forth. I heard the words "spur road" and "crop unit boundaries" before I ran back to where other folks slept on the ground. They woke up and were scurrying into the trees in moments. I got out the camcorder.

And out of nowhere come a cadre of loggers, chainsaws slung over their shoulders. From the other directions, two Freddies (saying forest service law enforcement officers is just waaaay too respectful for their ilk, eh?) come hurtling over a log. One is the infamous Burckel (hell if I know if I spelled that right), and he shouts: "This is a logging operation! If you interfere, YOU - WILL - BE - ARRESTED!" He was followed by an oddly familiar looking man with a mustache who greets me like he knows me. And lo and fucking behold, he does. He showed up in the units two days prior with a bicycle claiming to be "interested in what we were doing to save the forest." Damn sketchy man was, indeed, a spy!

The Freddies went on their way, and immediately the loggers began cutting some of the beautiful cedars that inhabited the top of Unit 2. I stood less than five feet away from one logger (named Frank) as he bore down into the cedar's old trunk with his saw. I screamed. I cried harder than I had in months. I pleaded. The only response I got was a face-full of wood chips spraying into my eyes, nose, arms... Then a cracking I could feel in my chest... Then the fall. The forest's floor shook like an earthquake. I screamed obscenities I don't remember. Then they moved on to the next tree, seemingly oblivious to my dangerously (for me, anyway) close proximity. Every time a tree fell, the forest echoed with the screams of my comrades.

Being so in-their-face, of course, eventually brought me to the Freddies' attention, and I was quickly handcuffed and pushed out of the unit to the road. I was pushed up against a silver SUV with sickeningly appropriate vanity plates; they read: "FALLER." I was instructed that I must leave the area and not come back, or I would be arrested. So, of course, I stormed down the mountain via the road, then bushwhacked my way back into the units, up a mountainside. The chainsaws that were ripping the massive douglas firs of Unit 1 and the great, horrible bulldozer punching in the new road hid the sound of my boots crunching on salal. Just as I arrived in the unit, though, and attempted to communicate with folks in the canopy, I was spotted by Ranger Casey. I tripped in a clumsy and fatigued attempt to get away, and there I was, in handcuffs again. I was crying again; Unit 1 was lost. As I was led out of the forest (again), I saw one of my masked comrades doing loop-de-loops around a traverse line. I raised my handcuffed hands behind my back and shouted, "I think this time it's for good!" The defenders in the trees yelled "I love yous," and one comrade in the sit raised a fist.

Then I was really arrested.

I got taken to Lane County Jail and was charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, "Interfering with an agricultural operation." The conditions of my release from jail are stringent: Do not leave the state; Report in person at the jail daily; Do not be in or around the area of the "alleged incident."

So I'm banned from the place I was beginning to call "home." Banned while they destroy it. Oh well - at least I gave them hell while I could. Today they are probably trying to log the beautiful cedars of Unit 2. I have faith that the warriors out there will hold them off with all they've got, fighting till the end.

And so I put a call out to anyone who considers themselves a lover of all things wild and free: GO TO STRAW DEVIL. Go fight. Go stand up (or climb up!) against the fucking mindless machine and try to save what's left of the little bit of native forest we have left. We have nothing left to lose and everything to gain from this fight.

Love to all forest warriors!
Love to the goddamn bear!

PS - And call that wanker Rick Scott (the district ranger behind this mess) and let him know what you think. You can reach him at 541-782-5320 or 541-782-2283.
Please provide directions 24.Jul.2003 11:29


Please provide me with directions to Straw Devil.

Directions to Straw Devil 24.Jul.2003 11:38


To get directions to the timber sale, please contact Cascadia Forest Defenders at 541-684-8977 or come by the office at 454 Willamette in Eugene. We're right upstairs.

Assholes 25.Jul.2003 00:53


Gary Burkel is an asshole!

thank you more than I can say... 25.Jul.2003 01:40


With all my heeart I want to express how much I care and love all of you who are out there doing what you can to save our home. My spirit is with you all.

wait a tic... 25.Jul.2003 09:21


Ok, they are cutting trees. Old trees at that. Those trees will be turned into products that people will buy. Then within two years the place will be reforested with new trees (yes that's Oregon law). So what does your protesting do, really? Other than taking up most of your time, it does nothing. Think about it. How many timber stands have you guys protested only to have those stands and "units" felled? The answer is: several. Will reforestation happen later? Yes. What is your point? Old native trees? A feeling of empowerment? A old tree that really doesn't know that you are there somehow appreciates your actions? Isn't there some other noble issue that needs sticking up for? Hey, it's your life, not mine.

Duh, gentle reader 25.Jul.2003 10:31

not ignorant like you

Why don't you educate yourself a little on the issues before you make demeaning comments to people who know a hella lot more about it than you? I don't want to waste space addressing your obvious ignorance, that's your own responsiblity.

a few more words to educate "gently clueless" 25.Jul.2003 11:18


I share a similar feeling with the last person in not wanting to devote much energy to a response when you so obviously know nothing about basic forest ecology and political issues surrounding logging on public lands, but I'll make a few quick points. Planting a dense monoculture of even- aged trees can in no way be called "reforestation." Functioning old growth forest ecosystems are composed of a multitude of plant, animal, fingal, and bacterial species interacting in very complex ways. In addition to decimating overal species diversity, logging native forest ecosystems severly disturbs basic ecological functions, such as the hydrology (stream flows, water table levels, water absorbtion and transvaporation--look that one up in the dictionary), soil stabililty and productivity, and even the climate! I could go on and on, but for all the folks thinking "it's just a bunch of trees and they'll grow back, I suggest going to the library and reading some books on basic forest ecology.

reasons to oppose old growth logging 25.Jul.2003 18:15

gentle gentle reader

Gentle reader, Let me also provide you with a reason why we act to prevent loging of cascade old growth:
1. Un-logged Old growth allows for humanity to exist:
a. Old growth (not industrial tree-farm mono culture or even the best replant tri-culture) allows effective temperature, humidity, and carbon monoxide control,
nitrogen fixation, oxgen production, GROUND WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT, beneficial insect habitat, elk, deer, cougar, & bear habitat, AND
SURFACE WATER Quality! Natural variations can seriously stress human resource systems (drinking and sanitation water supplies, crop and food
production, transportation systems etc.) Old growth forests represented 50 times as much of land cover at the time that most of our resource systems
were developed or addapted to the Oregon area. That means all of our technilogical and behavioral adaptations as a society are to an environment that
SO.....what do we do?
A. Keep doing the exact same things we always have despite mountains of evidence that our current forest practices are damaging other human
resource systems (water, climate, agriculture) and not sustainably harvesting their target 'crop' (wood).
B. Change what we are doing in our logging to cause less stress on these interconnected and fragile structures (water systems, atmosphere, forest
ecosystems, agricultural lands, transportation systems, and human settlements.

Unfortunately gentle reader, you have fallen victim to a modern phenomenon of completly disconecting from the very environment that supports you. You believe that without natural ecopsystems, humanity would be exactly the same. You only recognize your immediate environment of support (the grocery store gives you food, the lumber store gives you wood to build, the gas pump gives you the power to move quickly in a car). You fail to see the underlying trusses of support. Vast acerage of forest, steppe, stream, wetland, and rock provides the support for all these things. Look a little deeper and you will see that preserving our old growth forest is really preserving ourselves. In our area the old growth is especially important because so much of it has been removed to other locations (exports) and destroyed (tree-farms). A greater % of old growth area has been removed than any other beneficial landscape and as a result, it is causing and will cause accute problems for Oregonians.
That is the selfish part of why we emphasize protecting our remaining old growth.
Unselfish reasons include promoting fair and just distribution of wealth (industrial boom-bust logging leaves most Oregonians monetarily and resource poor, while sending profits out of the area), opposing governmental corruption (timber dollars prop up unjust and un- democratic politicians through paybacks, unspoken bribes, and backroom deals), and advocating truely democratic consensus decision making about the use of common public lands (logging neccesarily only allows logging companies to use public lands for decades).

poor baby 25.Jul.2003 23:55

carl nassif cdn22@msn.com

If you are a product of the Portland Schools, you may not know this, but all trees die. They either are then wasted or put to good use. New trees then can be planted and, I know you should have been tought this, they can grow into big trees. It is really an amazen concept. I feel so good about it, I want to cry.

B.S. 26.Jul.2003 13:19

Dr. Freeze

Carl there's a slight problem with your shallow logic. Trees take a long time to grow but they can be cut quickly. No argument you make can circumvent that fact. Some of the trees in question are hundreds of years old and will take hundreds of years to grow back. That's why there are alot more acres of tree plantations with young trees nowhere near harvest than mature forests.

I agree 26.Jul.2003 15:19

Greg PDX

I agree Dr. Freeze there is no way around the equation, big trees have been vanishing faster than they grow for centurys now and it's time for that to stop.

Spirit. 28.Jul.2003 09:59


those of you who promote tree cutting are missing the spirit of the matter. likely you have been suck in the city or suburbs and haven't spent time in the oldgrowth forests. seemingly you have not learned about how ancient trees, like all life, have a spirit. and ancient tress have a whole lot of soul. if you spend time with them you can talk to them, and they talk back. they teach a good many things that cannot be learned elsewhere.

now i know that this is going to sound like superstitious hogwash to you, but i ask you not to waste anymore server space arguing this, and i gently ask you instead to go spend time in an oldgrowth forest. most people haven't, and this is why most people promote cutting down trees. find some camping gear, rent it at rei, go to next adventures and get some used gear, whatever it takes. just please, before you argue this topic again, spend a few nights under an old tree. then you might get it. maybe you're so cut off from nature that you won't ever feel love, never have compassion for other living things, but i would like to think that there is hope and redemption for everyone.

fallen tree 28.Jul.2003 22:36


a tree that falls naturally in a forest is not wasted at all. It is a starter for new plants. It makes homes for many animals. It returns nutrients to the soil that you lose without decomoposition. It absorbs run off and helps prevent erosion. It is also fallen woody matter which is one of the "requirements" for an old growth forest.

What will we do with the ignorant... 29.Jul.2003 12:46

Justin js80@comcast.net

Even though I'm from Pennsylvania I still respect what you're doing to prevent such logging activities in your state. Every day I'm surrounded by people who are totally clueless about the environment. I'm labelled as a "radical" for my "leftist" views and a "green peacer" for supporting the Green Party by my own ignorant family members. I haven't completely given up attempting to educate the ignorant. However, as I've become older, better educated, and more active in my participation in politics, etc. I have come to realize that most people only beleive the rhetoric passed as fact that they see/hear on TV and in other popular media outlets.

Education is the key. Education opened my eyes about the problems of this country and the world. If we want to spread the word to change people's views we must get involved with schools of all levels and get the facts out there amongst the younger generations (who are the most impressionable).

This could go on all day so I'll just finish with congratulating you and commending you all for your valiant efforts.

to gentle_whiner 29.Jul.2003 15:56

dead freddie in the middle of a clearcut


Ok, they are cutting trees. Old trees at that. Those trees will be turned into products that people will buy. Then within two years the place will be reforested with new trees (yes that's Oregon law).
........correction...this is federal land, there ain't no law that say's they got to replant. correct me if i'm wrong, but state and federal regulations are different venues and different laws apply. myth one debunked.

So what does your protesting do, really? Other than taking up most of your time, it does nothing. Think about it.
.......correction....raising awareness, empowerment and maybe a little protection....the fact that the freddies have to employ so many damn pigs, raises the costs of these timber sale giveaways....sooo, on a already lossing timber sale, it adds to the cost. yes that's right, all tax payers are subsidizing the road building, the maintainance and the implementation of the plan only to benefit the logging company. sure they might pay a fee for the raw logs they cut, but it doesn't compare to the price tag developed in implementing the sale itself. sooo, yes adding to LEO costs might seem like a dumb thing, but the oversubsidized sale was dumb in the first place....

How many timber stands have you guys protested only to have those stands and "units" felled? The answer is: several.
...........in fact the number isn't several, it's in the hundreds, possibly in the thousands, raising awareness on the destruction of a biodiverse area that isn't a monocrop is a good thing. As an example, in the Trail of Tears State Park in Southern Illinois, it took one lockdown in 1990 to secure the protection of the entire State of Illinois Park systems from being attacked by the hardwood forest products association. There are tough battles to be fought, but just because you loose a battle here and there, doesn't mean you'll loose the war. The war being, the timber industry wants monocrop tree plantations, the defenders of the earth want biodiversity that encompasses all life forms, both those that can be poked fun of(IE...spotted owl) and those which we know very little about(fungus and other plant species not even logged in the plant viavrians).

Will reforestation happen later? Yes.
....disagree here... ten thousand sapplings that die from direct exposure to the sun and lack of care or attention is not reforestation. it's a half assed Public relations campaign by the timber wonks. oh we plant a hundred sapplings for every single five hundred year old tree we cut. put that in your pipe and smoke it. reforestation might happen naturally, but it's not because of the timber companies, it's because of the way ecosystems evolve.

What is your point? Old native trees? A feeling of empowerment?
......yes empowerment is a damn good thing. someone has to stand up to the destructive practices these timber beasts are employing. rosa parks did it back in her day and now all walks of life can ride anywhere on the buses and trains....

A old tree that really doesn't know that you are there somehow appreciates your actions?
Maybe the trees don't sense it, but you ever stood next to ancient one when it's been felled? Cause without having done so, your talking out of your asshole.

Isn't there some other noble issue that needs sticking up for?
......yes, there are probably a thousand other things to fight for regarding injustices. how about a real livable wage, or the end to white collar criminals(enron, maxxam, citibank, WTO, etc.....) How about the right to priovacy or the repealment of the Patriot ACT. How about schools for all and a goal of ending the prison industrial complex. ok, enough ranting, back to protecting the earth that gave you and I last night's dinner so we may live to see another day. peace out

druids 29.Jul.2003 20:32

wise oak kevni_klein@csumb.edu

back when druids ruled the land, people who where caught cutting down an oak tree would have their belly button cut out, and then their intestines pulled out, and wraooed around the oak. they where left to die tied to the bueatiful creature they where goign to destroy.
to bad we dont have justice like this anymore.

fuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 21.Aug.2003 20:19

a fucked up fucker

fuck these fucking fucked up fuckingfuck fuckers mother fucking feds and goverment you pathetic assholes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!