Dead End—HRC Mattole Road Proposal Fails to Make the Grade
Mattole trees between 100-120 years old.
There are some, it seems, that will just never learn. Reciprocity is a basic law of the physical universe, and so it is also true when dealing with suspect timber company behavior. Humboldt Redwood Company just doesn’t seem to be getting the memo, or learning from the mistakes of its predecessor. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
And so it is with HRC’s ill-conceived, and highly suspect proposed Major Amendment to THP 1-12-026HUM, the “Long Ridge Cable” THP, located in the North Branch, North Fork of the Mattole River watershed, in one of the most ecologically significant and unique landscapes on its property, and one of the powder-keg watersheds for the company. Yet, HRC was proposing to construct over 1,000 feet of new road without providing CAL FIRE, the public, or anyone else any legitimate reasons why it was necessary, or even providing the thoughtful analysis of road construction and road networks required by State Forest Practice Rules.
HRC had once promised an open, collaborative, and solution-orientated process for resolving the issues surrounding management of the largely unentered Primary Douglas fir forests of the North Branch North Fork of the Mattole, but this never actually materialized, with the company choosing instead to cut EPIC, the Mattole residents, and the public at-large out and to simply pronounce its intentions to all involved.
HRC claims it has voluntarily relinquished the rights to log in portions of the unentered primary forests on parts of the two approved THPs in the North Branch North Fork of the Mattole, but the company has refused to codify any of its commitments in writing, either as part of the THPs or in a written agreement with the community and interested stakeholders. EPIC, Mattole residents, and the public have been simply told to trust HRC; however, heavy-handed application of hack-and-squirt herbicides in old hardwood stands and a proposal to construct over 1,000 feet of new road for no identifiable reason has strained any inclination toward trust.
HRC was recently forced to withdraw its amendment and plans to construct the new road, faced with the realities of the regulatory hurdles and great pushback from EPIC, the Mattole residents, forest defenders and others.
With spring springing and the landscape in the North Branch, North Fork of the Mattole River watershed beginning to dry out, the specter of logging still looms, albeit with great uncertainty as to the intentions of HRC, or how much faith and stock can be put in the company’s previous promises and commitments.
EPIC urges HRC to abandon this bull-head, short-sighted and heavy-handed approach to addressing the logging plans in the North Fork, North Branch of the Mattole River, and urges the company to keep its promises to EPIC, the Mattole residents and others that a collaborative and community-orientated process would determine the fate of the forest.
EPIC has submitted two rounds of comments on this THP, see our comment letters below.