Friday, March 31, 2006

Two New PL Logging Plans Bring Total to 535 Acres in Bear River

Pacific Lumber (PL) has filed two more large logging plans in Bear River. Bringing their total of proposed logging this year in Bear River to 535 acres.
One of the plans “Mas Patron” is closer to southern Rainbow Ridge in Happy Valley. This 134 acre logging plan # 1-06-036 includes127.5 acres of clearcutting.
The other plan is numbered 1-06-037 and covers 242 acres on the Monument Ridge side of Bear River near the Mt. Pierce radio towers. I will write more on this plan when information becomes available.

The picture above shows unit 7 of the Mas Patron plan which covers 22.7 acres next to Harmonica Creek near Happy Valley. The orange line shows the clearcut boundary and the red lines are proposed roads. The proposed roads begin in a recent clearcut but most of the open areas in the picture are meadowland.

As far as I can tell, the plans have been submitted but not yet filed. This means that public comment is probably not yet open.

PL admits there is oldgrowth Douglas Fir in the plan up to 300 years old. How much oldgrowth is included, and where it’s located, is unclear.
This plan also encroaches on the territory of a mated pair of Northern Spotted Owls. These owls depend on dense oldgrowth stands for hunting and protection from larger predators. Their offspring will need somewhere to live when it leaves the nest.

One of their main food sources, the rare Sonoma Red Tree Vole (Arborimus pomo), depends on large trees for food and shelter. These mouse like animals live entirely on conifer needles and spend most of their lives in the trees. They have a surprising method of evading predators. They can leap out of a tree up to 100 ft. in the air and free fall to the forest floor where they scurry into burrows that they prepare beforehand.

There are plans for road building and tractor yarding.
Tractor yarding is a technique where bulldozers drag logs from where they were cut to the “log deck” where they will be loaded onto trucks. This process is highly damaging to the soil and greatly increases erosion. They also propose Broadcast Burning (napalm) and Mechanical Site Prep which has been described as a “tractor derby” where bulldozers scrape the remaining organic matter from the clear cut forest into piles that can be burned later.

The Bear River watershed has endured widespread logging since late 1800s’, especially after World War II when caterpillar treads for tanks and bulldozers had been developed and mass produced. This lead to widespread unregulated logging and road building on steep hillsides where machines had never been able to penetrate before. This enabled the logging companies to virtually wipe out the Oldgrowth Douglas Fir and Redwood forests in many areas of Humboldt County.According to the THP document there have also been "repeated fire efforts to expand grazing" on the part of ranchers in the area.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Steve Westly, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.

above: davis creek oldgrowth forest.

"California needs a moratorium on clear-cutting until all logging practices meet basic standards for environmental sustainability. In the interim, we should convene a scientific panel to assess the impact of logging on streams, watersheds, plant and animal species, and long-term forest health. A proper logging plan would protect old-growth forests, maintain biological diversity, rejuvenate wetlands and riparian habitats, minimize construction and road-building, monitor forest health, maintain a strict cycle of cutting, and involve the public in all major decisions."- Steve Westly

full article

This caught my attention today, I hope he holds true to these statments if he is elected, I'm not registered as a Democrat so I can't vote in the primary.

Steve Westly is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor and the current Controller of the State of California.
[The State Controller is the Chief Financial Officer of the State of California. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

PLs "Brush Up" Oldgrowth Clearcutting Plan In Bear River Could Be Approved April 24th-Public Comment Period Still Open

"Brush Up", one of Pacific Lumbers new oldgrowth logging plans in Bear River is up for "second review" on Thursday, March 30th. Public comment period will end about 10 days after that. After public comment closes it will probably be around 15 days at the earliest that CDF could approve it as long as things go smoothly.

The plan covers 113.8 acres located on the steep north face of Rainbow Ridge. 14 acres of Oldgrowth Douglas Fir will be clearcut and then burned or sprayed with herbicides if this plan goes unchallenged.
A similiar plan called "PC Road"is proposed just a few miles away next to Peaked Creek, also in Bear River. Together these plans propose 87.6 acres of clearcutting on these steep, landslide prone slopes.
Unit 3 stops 500 ft. from the nest of a Northern Spotted Owl pair. Logging has shrunken the owls habitat piece by piece, Thanks to PLs decievingly named "Habitat Conservation Plan" granted by state and federal agencies in 1999 they are allowed to encroach further into the owls habitat than before.
The Brush Up plan also includes over a mile of proposed roadbuilding. One section of road leads away from the logging and towards other stands. The road will likely be used to access other stands in the future. Included in the plan is a map showing a proposed road from a previous logging plan that was never constructed.This road would drop over 1,300 ft. in elevation and cross the river, connecting to the main haul road there. This road is not shown on any other proposed road map in the plan.
PL proposes to " broadcast burn", aka napalm, the entire logging area.

Some of the units are direcly adjacent to existing clearcuts logged a few years ago. In the picture above you can see the edge of unit 3 of "Brush Up".

Contrary to what I first reported, word has it from surveyors that there is no oldgrowth in the new Monument Creek logging plan near Scotia.

(A note on comment letters: because of the nature of government agencies it is necessary to write individual letters for different logging plans even if they are near each other.)

Technical info.:
plan # 1-05-237 "PC Road"
clearcut 55 acres
selection 0.8
no harvest buffers 11.4

plan # 1-06-001 "Brush Up"
clearcut 55 acres
selection 0.3
right of way (road buliding) 4.1
no harvest buffers 54.4

you can send public comment to CDF at;


California Department of Forestry
attn. forest practice
135 Ridgeway Ave.
Santa Rosa, Ca. 95401

Monday, March 27, 2006

Maxxams’ Pacific Lumber- A Criminal Organization

I wrote this in response the My Word by PLs Land Manager, Rich "Dick" Bettis, in todays Times-Standard.

The Maxxam owned Pacific Lumber Co. is one of the biggest criminals in Humboldt County. They have broken environmental laws over 600 times and have caused widespread environmental and economic damage to this area. The upper management has accepted the leadership of a corporate raider from Texas, Charles Hurwitz (c.e.o. of maxxam), who doesn’t give a damn about the well being of the inhabitants of this county. The fines they pay after breaking these environmental laws are accepted by the company as one of the costs of logging. There are many people who have had their homes damaged or destroyed by logging induced landslides and increased flood danger. There are many others that still live in fear of clearcut hillsides coming down on their house and of their children being poisoned by the large quantities of Herbicide mixed with diesel fuel that is routinely sprayed by PL all over this county.

Rich Bettis mischaracterizes protesters and their actions and this will be readily accepted by many who already believe the lies that he and his colleagues have spread over the years. Its this type of scare tactic that leads to further violence against those who participate in civil disobedience here in this county.
This propaganda is meant to whip up a furor that can lead to real violence and end up with an activist seriously injured or dead. This has happened before, on Sept. 17 1998 an activist named David “Gypsy” Chain was killed by an enraged logger who was cutting trees in a logging plan where PL was engaged in illegal activities. The protesters were there to talk to the logger, terror and violence was how the logger responded. One of the things he shouted was, “Fuck I wish I had my fucking pistol, I guess I’m gonna have to start packin that motherfucker in here”
He then felled trees towards the activists and one of the trees hit David and killed him. This logger was a tool for the company, enraged by the propaganda and recklessly violent in his actions.
Carl Anderson, head of PL security and former sheriff, proudly unzipped the bodybag to display Davids body that day for other logging employees as if it was a trophy. I’m sure there were loggers who were just as disgusted by Carls actions as the people who were with David that day and saw what happened.
Carl Anderson still orders Sheriffs around to this day and they obey. They arrest whoever he says and affectionately call him “Sarge”.

That said, the protest in front of Pls headquarters was a family picnic. There was a car parked in front of the office with three protesters locked inside of it. I saw people in the building smile and wave to us (the crowd of supporters). Richard Bettis walked up, looked under the car, said a few words, and left. People came in and out of the doors freely until PL locked them. Many residents of Scotia and elsewhere gathered around to watch and interact with the protesters. There were crowds of school kids mingling, it was a community event and an effective act of civil disobedience.
He false claims that this was a “fake car bomb” are rooted in his own type of extremism.

Richard Bettis is an extremist in his own right. He would have people believe that local environmental advocates are dangerous terrorists. In fact, protesters have nearly always been on the receiving end of violence perpetrated by logging employees, the police and Rich Bettis himself. He has made crude sexual comments toward female activists on multiple occasions as well as physical attacks on others.
He has produced falsified maps to try and convince the courts that people were trespassing when they were really on public land.

PL has been transformed into a criminal company by people like Charles Hurwitz, Rich Bettis, Robert Manne, and Carl Anderson.

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