For Immediate Release 1/18/200
An event to call attention to the situation on Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole Valley will take place at the California Department of Forestry (CDF) Offices in Fortuna on Thursday, January 25th. Pacific Lumber Company (PL) owns thousands of acres of forest and range land in that remote area, including nearly 3,000 acres of old growth Douglas fir, one of the last significant stands of its kind in the Pacific Northwest that is still in private hands. Currently, there are five Timber Harvest Plans approved by CDF for PL holdings in the area. Three more are still in the review process.
Trouble erupted last fall when PL's effort to commence logging on one of these Timber Harvest Plans was met with resistance from Mattole residents and others. A number of young people calling themselves the Mattole Forest Defenders mounted a campaign in the woods to slow down or stop the logging. At the same time, groups of older Mattole residents, averaging 50 years in age, established early morning blockades on the roads leading into the logging area. It was only through the extensive interventions of the Humboldt County Sherriffs' Department that any logging was accomplished. The logging still caused such danger to the activists in the woods that the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission became involved.
CDF is the lead agency in reviewing and approving Timber Harvest Plans. The l999 Headwaters Agreement paid PL for the sale of several thousand acres of old growth redwood forest to the public. In return, the company received a large sum of money and promise of approval for their Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) which permitted logging throughout the rest of their holdings.
According to Jane Lapiner of Petrolia, a spokesperson for the Fortuna event, the Agreement and the HCP left almost all the old growth forests on the rest of PL's lands available for clearcut harvest. "Out in the Mattole", Ms. Lapiner said, "we feel like orphans of the Headwaters Agreement which no one here ever took part in." "There is no way". Ms. Lapiner went on, "that clearcutting in these last remaining stands of old growth is sustainable in anyone's interpretation".
Another spokesperson, Robie Tenorio of Ettersburg said that the event organizers are calling for CDF "to issue a moratorium on approving old growth logging plans in the Mattole." Ms. Tenorio suggested that a broad-based effort has been launched which has produced an offer to buy PL's lands in the Mattole for both protection of old growth and sustainable harvesting on previously logged lands. "We'd like for PL to be willing to hold back from further logging on and around Rainbow while the attempt is made to negotiate a sale", she concluded.
The event will take place in front of CDF's offices at 118 Fortuna Boulevard in Fortuna at 9:00 am on the 25th. CDF may be conducting a final review at that time of additional timber harvest plans for the Rainbow area that Pacific Lumber company has submitted.
For Further Information, call 707 986 7787 or 707 629 3670
Mattole Forest Defense at 707-441-3828.