This summer started out with such force and energy! The Eliot Free State blockade followed the EarthFirst RRR, and people from all over the west coast and even further afield converged in Oregon, ready to take up the fight.
The long slog between the arrests in the forest and courtdates in Roseburg seemed to drain some of the energy from the campaign(s) going on at the time. Legal hassles are nothing to take lightly these days, and many people were facing their first appearances before a judge. And time dragged on, and people began to drift off to other projects, priorities, and places.
Surely, much more could have been achieved with the kind of energy and enthusiasm present here in Oregon this summer. One thing that did actually happen was NEST.
The Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team returned after an off-year in '08. To anyone who doesn't know about NEST - it is all about home invasion of Red Tree Vole nests, in order to steal Red Tree Vole shit. And what's leftover from their meals. RTVs exclusively eat Douglas Fir leaves. All of it, except the resin ducts that run along the length of the underside of the leaves. Doug Fir leaves are tasty, too.
Old Growth seems to taste better to RTVs than they do to me, so they can only be found in Old Growth Doug Fir groves, which are getting to be rare nowadays. Therefor, the RTVs are an Endagered Species. They are also a favorite food of Spotted Owls. Isn't that something?
We bombed through the summer with our search, our area of activity being the proposed route of the Palomar Liquid Natural Gas pipeline. This includes remote stretches of the Mt. Hood National Forest, and even the Clakamas River Wild and Scenic Wilderness! WTF?!?
I can say with certainty that I have seen and touched ancient trees now. I've even climbed a couple of them. New experiences all. I've also seen pairs of wild Salmon along the Clakamas River's bank - right beneath the spot where I'd pitched my tent! - lining up to stake out a place to spawn, then defending their little stretch of the river. Damn, those are big, powerful creatures.
We encountered contractors, engineers, and surveyors for Palomar, sometimes guided by loyal Forest Service employees. On at least three seperate ocassions.
We returned to city life yesterday. It's wretched, but I'm sure we'll either adjust or get the hell out again soon.
The only negative I experienced in this was the lack of help out there. It was mostly four of us for much of the time, with only a couple of us onhand a few nights, just in case someone else decided to show up. Otherwise, we had much love and support from the cities. Some people did come out for a few nights, and always came with much food and good cheer. We met some locals and had them over for diner. And beer. O - the beer. So much beer was drunk. I was a happy camper, indeed.
I was completely unprepared for the rain, seeing as it was SUMMER! Other than a few cold, soggy nights, it was a great summer of camping and tree-climbing - exploring parts of Oregon I wasn't familiar with, hiking through Old Growth Douglas Fir and Hemlock forests. The moss...the Solol berries...the presence of Bears...it was wild.