Sunday, March 02, 2008

Newsies Need More Fact Checking

Looks as though a couple big city reporters to the south need to do a little more homework before reporting on the Redwoods. The following topics are very serious and I'm glad they are receiving attention but I think they merit a little more accuracy.

In an L.a. Times opinion piece, Patt Morrison looks at the history of Pacific Lumber and Maxxam. She writes about the hostile takeover of PL by Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz and the decline of the logging industry as he ran the company into the ground.

Unfortunately she starts off the whole article wih this statement-

"If things had gone according to plan, this year of grace 2008 would have been the year that the last privately owned virgin, old-growth California redwoods -- those older-than-Shakespeare, older-than-Jesus trees -- got axed."

That is a drastic oversimplification. Though Maxxam/PL probably has the largest remaining privately held groves of Old-growth Redwoods, there are other privately held pristine Redwood groves in California. Those that I know of are owned by ranchers in Mendocino County and in the Big Sur-Monterey area.

Near the end of the we find this paragraph-

"What could bankruptcy change? Options run from selling land for McMansions to an environmental buyout. The most plausible plan would save jobs and trees by restoring the careful logging practices of old. "

Careful logging practices of old? That's a hoot.

SF Chron: Increasing Wood Poaching in Redwood Parks

"Lumber thieves are stealing an ever-increasing amount of old-growth redwood from state and national parks, and rangers are having a hard time keeping up with the wily rip-off artists."

This story from reporter Peter Fimrite is very troubling. He details the theft of Redwood lumber from our public Parklands. This serious story deserves it's own post but I wanted to clear up one thing.

He makes the following statement-
"Most of the downed wood has been stolen from the Redwood National and State Parks, a vast forest of coastal redwood trees stretching along the coast from Willits (Mendocino County) to Crescent City (Del Norte County)."

In fact, most of this stretch is privately owned by lumber companies such as Mendocino Redwood, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber and Simpson/Green Diamond, as well as smaller landowners. The parks (pictured in green) are relatively few and far between. Fimrites statement fails to convey the scarcity of the remaining Old-growth Redwood forests.

Maybe I'm nitpicking but I think accuracy in reporting is important.

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