Updated: Jul 23, 2021
This past week, forest defenders successfully paused operations on the “Caspar 500” Timber Harvest Plan (THP) which CAL FIRE approved in May of last year. The area has been the site of continuous tree-sits since April 9th in order to protect a 240” circumference redwood tree which CAL FIRE had marked for harvest.
After substantial community outrage, CAL FIRE relented and unmarked the tree and some of its neighbors, but the forest defenders want to save the forest, not just a few trees. Last week, Anderson Logging, the company responsible for executing the Caspar 500 THP, ordered their fellers to continue cutting trees in extremely close proximity to the activists. The community was shocked to learn that CAL FIRE was allowing its contractors to conduct logging operations that clearly endangered the public. Then, on June 22nd, CAL FIRE announced that it was pausing the Caspar 500 THP. This is an amazing victory for the forest defense movement, but our campaign is just beginning.
Elsewhere in Jackson, public comments submitted by EPIC have delayed approval of two timber harvest plans that would have logged older second growth coast redwoods. The comments, which EPIC submitted alongside local environmental organizations, detailed numerous instances where CAL FIRE had erred in conducting their environmental review of the THPs. For instance, CAL FIRE denied that climate change was man-made stating “exactly how and to what extent human activity plays a role in global climate change appears to be unknown.” CAL FIRE also failed to conduct adequate northern spotted owl and plant surveys. Not to mention one of the plans is located adjacent to Mendocino Woodlands State Park and the THP failed to adequately consider impacts to recreationists and campers. The two plans were submitted in April and were expected to be approved later that month but so far CAL FIRE has declined to do so.
At the same time, EPIC is leading the fight to convince the State of California that saving Jackson is essential to meeting its Climate and 30×30 goals. If California is serious about going carbon neutral and preserving 30% of our lands by 2030, saving Jackson is essential to meeting those goals. As a coast redwood forest, Jackson has the capacity to sequester more carbon than any other forest type on earth. And in terms of meeting the 30×30 goals of 1) preserving biodiversity, 2) sequestering carbon, and 3) creating opportunities for outdoor recreation, Jackson is one of the most promising lands in the entire state. EPIC and our allies have attended numerous public hearings and met with State and Federal representatives to urge our political leaders to endorse preserving Jackson. Keep a lookout for more ways to support our campaign to transform Jackson!