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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense
Humboldt Activists Defend Unlogged Forest In Mattole Watershed
Timber Wars Continue As Humboldt Activists Begin New Tree Sit To Defend Unlogged Forest In Mattole Watershed: Earth First! activists have headed into the woods on the north coast to defend old growth Doug fir forests in the Mattole River Valley from logging by Humboldt Redwood Co., owned by the Fisher family, who purchased the forestland from the old Maxxam/Pacific Lumber with promises to log more sustainably. They have vowed to not log old growth and not clear-cut and have certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
Resistance to Humboldt Redwood Company’s (HRC) plans to cut hundreds of acres of previously unlogged forest have escalated with the creation of a new tree sit blocking road access to the Long Ridge area in the Mattole.
“We see HRC’s plans to log old growth Doug fir in the Mattole watershed as a ‘testing of the waters’, in that if they get away with it, more old growth forest will come crashing down” said the activist tree sitter who is suspended 70 ft. in air on a net seat as part of a complex blockade.
“The Mattole watershed’s forests contains some of the country’s last remaining 3% of old growth forest. Protecting this unique ecosystem would not only enrich restoration efforts in our local community but would also contribute to the fight against climate change.” said another activist who is part of the protest.
HRC was forced to admit to the existence of unentered forest on their property after their logging plans had already been approved. HRC submitted and Cal Fire accepted the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) as not containing even a portion of unentered forest. Residents of the Mattole Valley and activists alike feel that Cal Fire should reopen the THP approval process in order to consider this new information.
HRC has manipulated their definition of old growth to avoid intervention by the Sustainability Certifier for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), under whose certification guidelines the logging is ostensibly carried out. Direct action to block logging operations came after the company failed to offer a solution to residents’ concerns.
The activists further maintain that, “With the president of Humboldt Redwood also sitting on the Board of the FSC, the fox has been let loose into the hen house on this plan. HRC should tell their customers that their so-called sustainable lumber may actually be coming from an ancient forest that has never been logged before.”
This remote area in southwest Humboldt County is geologically young, and therefore unstable—actually one of the most seismically active in the world—making slopes susceptible to landslides and erosion. The river still supports salmon and steelhead runs and the area contains one of the largest intact old growth Doug fir forests left in California, which a coalition of local residents and activists help protect from Maxxam/Pacific Lumber logging in the 90’s and 2000’s. HRC’s purchase of the old PL property was supposed to herald a new era of more sustainable logging in which no old growth was cut and clear-cuts were not employed. Now Northern California activists are trying to hold them to that standard.
For 4 consecutive days, forest defenders in the Mattole Forest have blocked logging operations throughout 8,000 acres of Humboldt Redwood Company's Mattole holdings.
One brave tree-sitter is occupying a platform suspended 100 feet in the air with their main support line attached to a barricade in the road. This will cause the person to be seriously injured or killed if the barricade is moved unsafely
HRC's plans to log unentered forest containing late seral and old growth habitat must be stopped. No matter what type of forestry method you use, there is nothing sustainable about logging current and future old growth.
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