Tree-Sitters' Gear Burned By Pacific Lumber
Activists Vow To Defend Forest In Mattole River Watershed
Humboldt county, CA.-After an early Wednesday morning visit by tree-sit extractor Eric Schatz, two tree-sitters in the Rattlesnake Creek forest that feeds the headwaters of the Mattole River are now threatened with extraction as Maxxam/PL security arrives on the site today. The tree-sitters are teachers at a local environmental school, and the sits were put up last summer to save the old growth Douglas Fir grove and call attention to the crisis in the steep Mattole River watershed caused by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber's clearcutting, helicopter logging, road building, herbicide use, and cutting of old growth trees.
Pacific Lumber (PL), local front for Texas-based Maxxam Corporation, now outsources all of their logging and contracts with Eric Schatz of Schatz Tree Service, to forcibly remove tree-sitters. For nearly seven years, Schatz has been yanking people out of the high treetops of ancient redwoods using sometimes violent and reckless means. In fact, Schatz, a man with a record of domestic violence, is currently being sued by five tree-sitters for assault, battery, negligence, and other violations of civil rights.
On Wednesday morning, Schatz arrived with PL's land manager and PL head of security and cut down the activists' supplies in two trees, starting a fire on the forest floor to burn the gear--clothes, plastic tarps, and a wooden platform-and left the fire burning when they departed. Forest defenders expect Schatz will be back soon-possibly today-to attempt to forcibly remove the people from the forest canopy.
The Mattole tree-sits are in a logging plan (THP 1-03-235-"Foxtrot") in the upper Rattlesnake Creek drainage that has seen more logging in the past five years than any drainage in the Mattole. In fact, state Forest Practices Program staff urged the Dept. of Forestry (CDF) staff to question the rate of harvest in this watershed, as it suffers from ongoing cumulative impacts that include huge geologic instabilities. In addition, State Parks Dept. filed a non-concurrence due to their issues with the plan, stemming from the proximity of park land. Despite these objections, the plan was approved by CDF and has been mostly cut, except for the grove where forest defenders remain.
More non-violent direct actions are planned to protect this unique and diverse coastal forest, crucial habitat for endangered species including the northern spotted owl and Pacific fisher.
Directions to the Mattole Treesits:
Highway 101 to Honeydew/South Fork exit (S of Eureka, N of Garberville). Go west towards Honeydew, Founders' Grove etc. on Mattole Rd. for about 12-13 miles. At big water tank on right, you are 2 mi. from Fox Camp Gate (big brown gate on the right of a clearcut turnout area) Park on road near the gate; walk through the gate; stay on main uphill road (Humboldt Redwoods State Park Rd.), to the 1-mile marker. To your left are the tree-sits.