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Klamath Justice Coalition Halts Logging on Karuk Sacred Sites
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009 11:11 AM
This morning the Klamath Justice Coalition used a human blockade of 15 people to defend Karuk sacred sites from logging activities. The action took place near Orleans, CA within the Six Rivers National Forest and halted work on the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction Plan. “The OCFR is actually the Orleans Culture and Forest Reduction plan,” said Leaf Hillman, a Karuk Ceremonial Leader in Orleans. Below are the press releases from the Klamath Justice Coalition and the Karuk Tribe.
PRESS RELEASE - Klamath Justice Coalition

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009

For more information: Leaf Hillman, Karuk Indian 530-627-3710


ORLEANS RESIDENTS MOVE TO HALT FOREST SERVICE PLANS TO DESTROY SACRED SITES
Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelly Breaks Promises and Federal Law

Orleans, CA – This morning the Klamath Justice Coalition used a human blockade to defend Karuk sacred sites from logging activities. The action took place near Orleans, CA within the Six Rivers National Forest and halted work on the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction Plan.

Forest Service contractors were greeted by activists before day break at Orleans Mountain Lookout Road which leads to one of the units in dispute. Crews turned back without involving law enforcement.

“This morning’s small but important victory marks the beginning of our campaign to defend Karuk sacred sites and protect the health of our forests,” said Orleans local Chook- Chook Hillman.

This logging operation was intended to be part of a larger fuels reduction program developed by the US Forest Service with community buy-in. However, in the end the Forest Service betrayed the local community once again.

According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project, the stated Purpose and Need for the Orleans Community Fuel Reduction and Forest Health Project (OCFR) is to manage forest stands to reduce fuels accumulations and improve forest health around the community of Orleans, while enhancing cultural values associated with the Panamnik World Renewal Ceremonial District.

“The OCFR is actually the Orleans Culture and Forest Reduction plan,” said Hillman.

Originally, Forest Supervisor Tryone Kelly engaged with community members on a collaborative process to develop a fuels reduction plan that would protect sacred areas, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and protect sensitive stands of hardwoods. However, in practice it looks like another timber harvest that disregards the concerns of the community.

“We are shocked that the Forest Service thinks that it can get away with lying to our community. We want fuels reduction, but we will not accept the destruction of Karuk sacred sites or a timber sale disguised as a fuels reduction plan,” added Annelia Hillman.

This is not the first time that Kelly has shown a particular insensitivity to Tribal cultural issues. Last year he oversaw the bull dozing of a Tribal member’s that was on land disputed to be Indian Trust Land. The act not only destroyed a home, but destroyed a nearby archeological site and a contemporary dance ground.

Again during last years’ wildfires, Kelly directed the construction of firebreaks and use of heavy equipment that destroyed sections of “medicine man trails” and high country alters used during annual World Renewal Ceremonies. Representatives from the Karuk Tribe urged Kelley to build the breaks in areas that were less sensitive but the concerns with ignored. “Its like Kelly is hell bent to destroy our sacred areas one step at a time.” Said Hillman.

The Klamath Justice Coalition is not new to direct action as a tactic to force change. The group has staged direct actions in Scotland, Omaha, NE, Portland, OR, and Sacramento, CA, and Salt Lake City, Utah focused on the removal of Klamath Dams.


Who we are:

The Klamath Justice Coalition is an ad hoc group of Klamath Basin Residents from all walks of life. We are Indians, non-natives, mothers, fathers, workers, hippies, youth, and elders. Our goal is to ensure that the cultures and ecosystems of Klamath Communities are protected and enhanced.


# # #

Karuk Tribe

P R E S S R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009

For more information:

Craig Tucker, Spokesman, Karuk Tribe, cell 916-207-8294


US FOREST SERVICE LOGGING PROJECT THREATENS SACRED SITES
Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley Ignores Local Community, Tribal Leaders, and his own Proposed Plan

Orleans, CA – Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley has directed his crews to begin logging with heavy equipment in areas sacred to the Karuk Tribe in violation of his own proposed fuels reduction plan.

“We participated in good faith in the Forest Service’s collaborative process. Although we were assured that our sacred areas would be protected and our values respected and enhanced, it’s clear now that these were hollow promises. Furthermore, the actions directed by Kelly are in violation of federal law,” said Bill Tripp, Eco-cultural Resources Specialist for the Karuk Tribe.

Over the past three years, the Orleans Ranger District in the Six Rivers National Forest has held a series of stakeholder meetings allegedly designed to work with the Orleans community to develop a fuels reduction plan that both Native and non-native community members could accept. After dozens of meetings and an appeal of Kelley’s original plan, tribal members, as well as non-native local residents, thought that a consensus had been reached. However, when logging began, community members realized immediately that Kelley had reneged on his promises and violated the law by implementing a plan inconsistent with his own Environmental Impact Statement.

At issue is the insufficient analysis related to use of heavy logging equipment in areas deemed sacred by the Karuk Tribe, divergence from measures designed to protect, promote, enhance and restore stands of ecological sensitive hardwoods, failure to protect large diameter trees[c1] , and a failure to make good on a commitment for multi-party monitoring during the fuels reduction operations.

According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project, the stated Purpose and Need for the Orleans Community Fuel Reduction and Forest Health Project (OCFR) is to manage forest stands to reduce fuels accumulations and improve forest health around the community of Orleans, while enhancing cultural values associated with the Panamnik World Renewal Ceremonial District. Current logging operations are inconsistent with the FEIS and therefore violates the National Environmental Policy act. The Forest Service also proceeded without required consultations with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).

“The actual work on the ground will do the opposite of the stated goals. OCFR in all actuality has begun to compromise the integrity of spiritual values associated with the Panamnik World Renewal District,” said Tripp.


The areas being debated represent 914 acres to be mechanically harvested. The USFS awarded the contract to Timber Products for nearly $1 million dollars.

The Tribe is demanding that the Forest Service halt all logging operations until these issues can be resolved and sacred sites protected.

Leaf Hillman is a Karuk Ceremonial Leader in Orleans who contends that this represents the latest in a series of bad decisions by Kelley that have served to denigrate Karuk Cultural areas. According to Hillman, “Tyrone Kelley has no respect for this community or native cultures. The Tribe and local community members worked hard to develop a fuels reduction plan that meets the needs of both the community and the Forest Service. Kelley’s actions are not only an act of bad faith, they are an act of cultural genocide. We will not sit idly by while he destroys the ecological integrity of these forests and the Karuk Tribe’s sacred areas, we will defend our homeland.”


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Karuk Tribe sues over Orleans fire plan, claims Six Rivers Forest breached agreement overStandard TimesSunday May 16th, 2010 8:45 PM

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