Early this morning Mattole residents and the Mattole Forest Defenders confronted Maxxam/Pacific Lumber logging crews who arrived to continue clearcutting old-growth Douglas Fir in Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 1-00-309 on Rattlesnake Creek within the Mattole watershed. This peaceful and non-violent confrontation is the second action this week building on Mondays event where six Mattole Forest Defenders slowed logging by shadowing timber fallers in the same plan. One activist was arrested on Monday by Humboldt County Sheriffs.
THP 309 is 63 acre in size and calls for clearcutting and selection of second growth Douglas Fir forest and 15 acres of old-growth Douglas Fir. Rattlesnake Creek is directly adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and logging crews park within the state park to hike to the units which in some cases are only 200ft from the county road. THP 309 was opposed by a number of community groups for it's lack of proper cumulative impact analysis on the effects on late successional forest and threatened Mattole fisheries. No watershed analysis by Maxxam was conducted in the Mattole before THP 309 and four other THPs in North Fork of the Mattole were approved. Three other Mattole THP's await the California Department of Forestry's approval.
Maxxam/Pacific Lumber owns about 5,200 acres in the Lower North Fork and 8,800 acres in the Upper North Fork of the Mattole. Of that, about 3,000 acres is old growth forest. This is the largest unprotected stand of old-growth Douglas Fir in California. Since 1947, 92% of the Mattole's old growth forest have been cut.
For over twelve weeks a presence of several dozen Mattole Forest Defenders have maintained a constant blockade at the intersection of Long Ridge and Rainbow Ridge to stop clearcutting of old-growth Douglas-Fir in the North Fork of the Mattole River. The blockade, nicknamed the "Mattole Free State" has several lockdowns, a junked car, wall of debris and hanging pods across the road. Activists lives were endangered on November 27th and 28th when Maxxam logging crews, closely accompanied by Humboldt County Sheriffs deputies, cut 50 trees dangerously close to non-violent activist in THP 1-99-475.-end-