Over the weekend of February 3rd, 2001, activists noticed logging operations in yet another portion of the Mattole. These Pacific Lumber plans are in the Rattlesnake Creek and Devil's Creek areas adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. These areas are approximately 12 miles from the active blockade on Long Ridge.
Early on Monday, February 5th, 2001, activists met with fallers heading into THP 309 in Rattlesnake Creek. This 5 unit plan is a 54 acre clearcut/seed tree removal with a landscape of steep sloped ravines and loose soils. It is bordered by Humboldt Redwoods State Park and fallers must walk their chainsaws in. Some of the units are only 200 feet from the county road. Activists talked with some of the fallers, and found out that in a Columbia Helicopter crew of seven, only one was a local worker and the others were from out of state.
As the fallers began their walk in, 7-8 activists equipped with video and still cameras joined them. Four activists stayed on the road to keep watch and monitor. Trees began to fall, and brave forest defenders ran about in the woods, trying to halt this logging. After a half hour, two of the fallers returned to their trucks, saying the rest were coming out. Soon, more left the woods. They waited around on the side of the county road, and lit themselves a fire, using gasoline, to keep themselves warm. One of the fallers refused to leave the woods, and continued to cut into the afternoon.
An hour or so later, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber's head of security, Carl Anderson, appeared. Not long after, the Humboldt County Sheriff's department showed with seven cops in large trucks. One of the cops came over and videotaped the four activists on the road up close and personal. Then the cops headed up the road and into the woods. They reappeared with one of our crew in handcuffs, and we waited to see the fate of the rest. After a few more hours of hearing the chainsaw roar, the fallers called it quits and the cops left the woods with no more arrests.
As activists on the road were getting into their car, the sheriff's came over to shake em' down, running license and car of the driver and grabbing different folks to see if the faller could identify them to place under citizen's arrest. Yet no one who was in the woods was present, and the faller did not seem able to recognize who had actually been in there with him. The forest defenders had vanished! Intensive logging was deterred for most of the day, and good dialogue with fallers was established. Let the trees stand!! These plans still have active logging, and we shall see what the next few days will hold.
Mattole Forest Defenders