Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Redwood Park Closures May Leave Ancient Redwoods Vulnerable

The closure of four State Parks that protect Old-Growth Redwood groves is especially troubling in light of increasing poaching of Old-Growth Redwood logs and burls. The poaching has already been happening in parks that are regularly patrolled and have many visitors. What will happen when the parks are closed to visitors and rangers aren't around?

Of major local concern is Grizzly Creek State Park. Wikipedia puts it this way, "The park is so secluded due to its location off the major regional artery, US 101, that on a weekday a visitor can be the only person in any one of the several groves."

Even with the drop in overall lumber value the price of Old-Growth Redwood remains high at around $5 per board ft. A board foot measures 1ft. by 1ft. and 1in. thick. A 6 ft. long 2 by 6" contains 6 board feet. With the depletion of standing Old-Growth Redwood trees on private lands comes an increased demand for Old-Growth lumber obtained through unconventional means.

The means I'm aware of are as follows; salvaging of beams from old structures, permitted salvaging of logs that were cut many years ago (sometimes over 100) and left behind, and poaching which could mean anything from illegally salvaging logs to the cutting of burls and trees. A few years ago in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, two moderately sized redwood trees were cut down just for burls that were growing high up on the trees according to a park official.

These parks should remain open for the mutual benefit of the forest, the local economy and park visitors.

From the Contra Costa Times-
Last year, 6,514,989 people visited the 48 state parks that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed for closure. That's more than the combined annual home attendance for the Giants, 49ers, Raiders and A's.

San Francisco Giants 3,223,202
Oakland A's 1,921,844
San Francisco 49ers 595,207
Oakland Raiders 467,964
Total: 6,208,271

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