In This Update 3/15/01
-Forest Defender On Trial
-Rattlesnake Creek Treesit And Banner
-Maxxam Logging In The Mattole, 100+ Days of Blockading!
-Hole In Headwaters Plan Appoved! But No Logging Yet
Forest Defender Heads To Trial For Mattole Action
Joseph Powell better known as Soma will begin his jury trial tommorrow (Friday) on charges for being arrested out on Rainbow Ridge, in the Mattole on November 28th, 2000. Soma is charged with 2 counts of 602j criminal trespass and 2 counts of 148a resisting arrest. Soma was arrested with four other forest defenders who along with 20 others were attempting to confront and talk with Maxxam hired Columbia Helicopter logging crews as they cut 40 or so Douglas-Fir trees. Humboldt County Sherriffs on the scene were aggressively protecting Columbia Helicopter and Pacific Lumber Crews while their logging these trees, chasing activists through the woods, tackling and assaulting them. (Who are the real criminals?). Soma has refused to take any deals from the Humboldt County District Attorneys office. Court runs from 8:30am to noon and the trial will likely run through next week. We need community members to pack the courtroom starting tommorrow to demonstrate to the jury the strong community support for non-violent direct action and activists. A support rally will be held during the noon hour on Monday March 19th, directly after court ends on the courthouse steps (I + 5th in Eureka). An attack on one is an attack on all of us and our rights to challenge Maxxam and their corporate clearcutting of old growth Dougla Fir in the Mattole. Please come, call 825-6598 with questions, we'll be commuting from the Arcata Co-op kiosk (on Ist between 8th and 9th st) every morning at 8am.
NEW TREESIT AND BANNER AT RATTLESNAKE CREEK
A new treesit, complete with its' own billboard-sized banner, was unveiled Friday on Maxxam/Pacific-Lumber's timber harvest plan (THP) 1-00-309 near Rattlesnake Creek in Humboldt County, a tributary to the upper North Fork of the Mattole River. A impromtu community rally and barbeque was held that afternoon at Fox Camp gate (see directions below) to celebrate the 100th day of the mass blockade at Rainbow Ridge, some twelve miles to the north west where scores of protesters have halted clearcut logging of old-growth Douglas Fir since last November on THP 1-99-475. 150 feet high in the branches of an enormous old growth Douglas Fir tree, activist Bob, originally from Quebec, but recently from the Rainbow Ridge occupation said: "I'm sitting up here to protect the last of these ancient trees and to call attention to the Company's continuing practice of clearcutting on extremely steep slopes and liquidating the remaining old growth."
The banner, easily visible from the County Road which borders on Humboldt Redwoods State Park, reads: "LOCAL CONTROL OF THE MATTOLE: SCRAM MAXXAM--STOP HCP SCAM!" The HCP, or Habitat Conservation Plan, a document required as part of the Headwaters Forest Deal, has been criticized by environmentalists as a major end-run around the Endangered Species Act. Many predicted that Maxxam's nearly 14,000 acre holdings in the Mattole watershed would become a "sacrifice zone" as the Company accelerated its' rate of cut there to compensate for the Redwood lands it sold to the public in 1998.
"Packaging the liquidation of a functioning ecosystem as a Habitat Conservation Plan is misleading and dishonest", said twenty-four year Gilham Butte resident, Gabrielle Roach. " No watershed analysis of the Mattole has been done. The HCP should not be applied to the Mattole, because this habitat, with up to 200''of rainfall some years and located on the triple Junction fault line, is unique".
The Mattole, a Federally listed Impaired Watershed, is home to endangered Coho Salmon and has been the focus of 25 years of local restoration efforts. Only 5% of historic salmon runs remain. Using fallers from Oregon and Washington, Columbia Helicopter crews leveled two thirds of the 63 acre THP 309 in a matter of days, but 15 acres of scattered old growth Fir remain standing. Four activists have been arrested during several protests. Standing at the gateway to the Mattole, the new treesit serves as sentinel for the Mattole Forest Defenders' ongoing campaign to protect Long and Rainbow Ridges by placing a citizens' moratorium on seven timber harvest plans. The blockade has attracted an array of activists from local community members to international students. "These young people have braved winter weather, assault and arrest to save these trees, the largest unprotected old growth Douglas Fir forest left in the Pacific Northwest", said Gil Gregori, longterm downstream landowner. "The community is working on a serious acquisition offer and would like to buy standing trees, not stumps", he said.
No Rainbow Ridge Logging In 3 months
The "Mattole Free State" celebrated it's 100th day of blockading Maxxam/Pacific Lumber from logging old-growth douglas fir on Rainbow Ridge Thursday March 8th. It was November 28th that Maxxam/Pacific Lumber last sent in Columbia Helicopter loggers accompanied by Humboldt County Sheriffs to log old-growth doug-fir in the Mattole. Since then Mattole Forest Defenders have moved almost 2 miles up Long Ridge to create the Mattole Free State, a blockade complete with several lock downs, a junked car, a wall of debris and a hanging pod across the road. Forest Defenders have endured some of the harshest Humboldt County winter weather seen in years, making huge personnal sacrifices to protect this sacred landscape. 5 of the 8 Rainbow Ridge THPs have now been approved. As we come out of the brunt of winter experiencing longer days and stretches of warmer weather the possibility of a raid by Maxxam and the Sheriffs increase.
THP 520 (Amendment #5), the "Hole In Headwaters" was approved by the California Department of Forestry last Tuesday, March 6th. Logging cannot begin until Maxxam does a formal consultion with US Fish & Wildlife regarding Northern Spotted Owl nesting sites and buffers. Direct action activist are standing by to blockade and occupy access roads leading to the plan, we'll have at least 3 or 4 days warning before the consultation will be complete and logging can begin (our hands are obviously full with the Mattole). EPIC and the Sierra Club are looking into continued legal challenges to stop the Hole In Headwaters. This present incarnation of THP 520 was in direct response to the EPIC/Sierra Club lawsuit which was granted on injunction on logging last July and is set to go to trial in March. Pacific Lumber has also filed five new logging plans (THPs 1-00-352, 1-00-387, 1-00-388, 1-00-448 & 1-00-452.) that span both sides of the South Fork Elk River and total nearly 700 acres of mature second growth forest. On the North Fork Of The Elk River there are 11 plans filed. The land inside the "Hole" and across the river from it, some 7,000 acres of forest, were traded to Maxxam/Pacific Lumber as part of the Headwaters "Deal." This 7,000 acres of forest was identified in the state law that funded the "Deal" as a priority for acquisition with whatever funds remain after the purchase of Owl Creek, for which $80 million was allocated. The state just announced that it is buying Owl Creek for $67 million, potentially leaving $13 million for this acquisition. These new logging plans pose a serious threat not only to the proposed acquisition area, but also to the biological integrity of the Headwaters Reserve itself.
New logging on the South Fork Elk River (except on THP 97-520) is currently constrained by a so-called "moratorium" that was imposed by the California
Department of Forestry in January 1998. This moratorium requires additional information on aggravated flooding and public safety concerns for downstream Elk
River residents. However, in nearby Freshwater Creek, the same so-called "moratorium" has been lifted under a substantially weaker standard than that originally
imposed by CDF.
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