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Treesitter Injured

Treesitter injured after Pacific Lumber cuts rope.
Freshwater, CA - Life has been quiet around the treesits here over the last few months (minus the incessant logging, of course). That ended today, when representatives from Pacific Lumber paid visits to at least two of the treesits in Freshwater. No trespassing signs were nailed up, along with signs reading (ironically enough) "Keep California Green." Spray paint was used to mark the trees occupied by treesitters, as well as every tree and stump leading to those trees.

At the treesit called Presidia, the words "Gass [sic] here" were painted on the tree with an arrow pointing up. The words "night ops" (as in "nighttime operations) were also tagged. Treesitters were enjoying the view from the top of the tree when they heard hammering as the signs were nailed around the area. Attempts to communicate with the man wielding the hammer were unsuccessful. Shortly after they left, a young woman treesitter began rappelling down the climbing rope. She realized too late that the Pacific Lumber employee had cut her rope when she slid off the end, falling fifteen feet to the ground. No serious injuries were sustained though she will be sore and bruised in the coming days.

This is not the first time Pacific Lumber has risked the safety of non-violent activists in the woods. In March 2003, a PL security guard cut the end of a rope as a treesitter was coming down, cutting the treesitter in the process. In 1998, activist David "Gypsy" Chain was killed by a tree Pacific Lumber fell in his direction. Activists routinely have gear stolen and safety precautions tampered with by Pacific Lumber employees. There is no deterrent for the company, or its parent corporation, Maxxam, as they are not held accountable for their actions, whether for violations to water quality laws, endangered species protections, or the violent handling of treesitters.

Call Pacific Lumber and tell them what you think of their dangerous and lawless behavior. Richard Bettis (PL property manager) - (707)764.2222 or email them at  info@PALCO.com

homepage: homepage: http://www.contrast.org/treesit

extraction industry 27.Jun.2004 09:25

red suspenders

The Timber industry has been nothing but an extraction industry in this country. Meaning the same as coal mining or oil exploration. One side of this is that everything becomes disposable. The recource itself, but also materials, tools, vehicles, all the way up to sawmills and entire company towns. All convieniently disposable when no longer making money. Human life is also seen as disposable in the intrest of profitsfor the shareholders. With this in mind, some measure of forgiveness should be extended to the gentleman who cut the rope.

Anyone who has the courage for direct action such as the tree sits hanging banners on smokestacks are the true heros of our age.

Oh well! 29.Jun.2004 00:34


Too bad she wasnt hurt worse! When you are breaking the law you get what you deserve! No sympathy coming from me! Get a life and a RWAL job...like logging!

Being vigilant about security and safety in treesits 29.Jun.2004 16:45


Whoever cut her rope is a serious asshole!

Note to current and future treesitters: Always remember to pull your rope up from the ground when you're not using it. When going up a climb rope, it's a good practice (although more work!) to bring the end of the rope up with you to avoid having some yahoo cutting it. Special security and safety measures should be taken when climbing or descending at night, especially when there's no allies on the ground (which is often the case, especially on private land such as in this instance.) It's easy to get lax during times when there's not a lot of activity in the area or after you have a lot of experience with climbing, but it's important to do a full safety check every time you prepare to climb into the trees or leave the platform. Generally, the last part of a standard safety check is to make sure the end of your rope is touching the ground. While it's time consuming, it's perhaps a good idea to prussik down rather than rappel if there's a situation where it seems necessary to descend at night and there's no one friendly to guard your rope. It may be time consuming, but probably better than sailing off the end of your rope.

These comments are in no way meant to devalue the amazing work of treesitters or imply that this accident was the fault of the treesitter. I feel it's good for all of us to be as vigilant about safety as possible and to watch out for each other as much as we can.