Old Growth Threatened in the Mattole

Mattole Defense
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Mattole Blockade Raided For Sixth Time
Three More Activists Under Arrest plus
One 4:30am sleeping arrest

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 17, 2001

The forest defenders protecting the endangered old-growth Douglas Fir forest of the Mattole again came under siege for the sixth time in two weeks as a large contingent of Humboldt County Sheriff's vehicles, Pacific Lumber Security, and heavy equipment rolled into the Long Ridge area at 7:00 am this morning. Reports from Long Ridge indicate that two activist are locked down in a junked car and one activist is suspended in a hanging bipod 25 ft off the road. All are likely to be arrested by the Sheriffs. The Humboldt County Sheriffs, acting on behalf of Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, aim to clear the seasonal road that leads to Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 475 that clearcuts 50 acres of old-growth Douglas-Fir. Columbia Helicopter logging crews have not attempted to log in the area since November 28, 2000.

Today's raid comes on the heels of a two week siege that has seen seven Mattole Forest Defenders arrested for locking down to blockading devices that have prevented logging crew's access into the area. One activist sustained severe hip injuries as he slid off a 40ft cliff while pursued by a California Fish and Game Warden on Tuesday, April 10. Some of the activists have been charged with misdemeanor trespass (602j) and resisting arrest (148a), and all have been served with legal papers concerning a civil lawsuit Maxxam/Pacific Lumber has filed against forest activists. Please contact Karen Pickett with the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters at (510)-548-3113 with lawsuit questions

An average of 30 forest defenders remain on Long Ridge, determined to stop the desecration of the amazing old growth Douglas Fir forest. This non-violent direct action, nicknamed the Mattole Free State, has been successful in halting logging in the Mattole watershed for more than 140 days. Activists' lives were endangered on November 27th and 28th when Maxxam logging crews, shadowed by Humboldt County Sheriff deputies, cut 50 trees dangerously close to non-violent activists in THP 1-99-475.

During the past year, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber has initiated an onslaught of timber harvest plans in the most sensitive regions of its holdings: the Mattole river watershed. These THPs are clearcuts, exclusively in old growth Douglas Fir forests, and are planned in drainages which have extreme seismic activity (1992 saw 7.1, 6.9, and 7.2 earthquakes in a 24 hour period,) intense rainfall (up to 200 inches per year,) and easily erodible soils on steep mountainous terrain. Maxxam calls for the near liquidation of their Mattole holdings within the next eight years.

The 3,000 acres of old-growth Douglas Fir is the largest unprotected coastal old growth Doug-Fir forest left in the Pacific Northwest. It is a crucial habitat that link between the old growth refuges of the Kings Range, Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Gilham Butte. The Mattole Watershed is located due west of Scotia and Highway 101.

A report came in on Wednesday, April 18th, 2001 that a activist was arrested around 4:30am while sleeping in a unit several miles from where the lockdowns have been occurring. Is there 24 hour surveillance? Do they really need get the last of the old growth, into lumber, when the prices for this wood are extremely low in the overall timber market?

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Mattole Defense
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