Carlotta rally 1996 ©2016 Greg King
This timeline of events for the Headwaters movement is in honor of the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Headwaters Campaign, and the 20th anniversary of the Headwaters Rally at Stafford that was attended by 6,000 activists. The 15th of September marks the end of the Marbled Murrelet nesting season, and the beginning of the logging season. On the 15th of September, 20 years ago, 1033 people were arrested at Fisher Gate trying to stop logging in the iconic Headwaters forest, marking the largest civil disobedience action in the history of the forest preservation movement. If you would like to learn more about the history of the Headwaters, or if you would like to get out and hike around in the Historic grove, consider joining us for the Headwaters 20 Year Anniversary Hike!
Thanks to the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters for developing the timeline below that illustrates a chronology of events relating to the Headwaters Forest Campaign, which transpired into the largest forest protection civil disobedience demonstration in history. All of the photos in the gallery below were taken by Greg King. Thank you Greg for documenting this very important piece of our history, and thanks to all of the people who worked so hard to protect these sacred forests.
Headwaters Timeline 1985-2007 courtesy of Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
At very end of 1985, Texas-based Maxxam Corporation takes over family-run Pacific Lumber Company (PL).
Earth First! (EF!) chapter on north coast germinates, blossoms and bears fruit.
Nov: Working as an investigative journalist in Sonoma County, Greg King interviews EPIC attorney Sharon Duggan, which inspires his investigation of the Maxxam takeover of Pacific Lumber.
Feb: Greg King receives first responses to his letters of inquiry to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) to ascertain the forest types contained in the clear-cut timber harvest plans newly submitted by Pacific Lumber under Maxxam. “It is all old-growth” redwood is the universal reply.
March: Greg King meets Darryl Cherney at an equinox gathering at Sally Bell Grove. They agree to work together to stop Maxxam.
July: King and Cherney call a meeting and co-found Humboldt County Earth First! and plan first demonstrations.
Oct.: First Headwaters Forest demonstration at PL office building in San Francisco includes environmental movement arch druid David Brower, as well as EF! co-founder Dave Foreman, Darryl Cherney, Karen Pickett, Greg King, representatives from the International Indian Treaty Council and EF! co-founder Mike Roselle.
Oct: EF! California Rendezvous held near Santa Cruz.
Oct. –Dec.: Actions in Arcata and Scotia. EF! announces a boycott of all redwood products.
Jan: Greg King, Larry Evans, Mokai and Nina Williams begin creating the first maps showing the size and locations of PL’s ancient redwood groves.
March: Board of Forestry actions. Greg King becomes first activist to hike through what activists were calling “the big grove.” He names it “Headwaters Forest” owing to his traversing several headwater streams in the pristine ancient redwood forest.
April: Humboldt EF! releases “Old Growth In Crisis,” a 12-page tabloid exposing illegal timber harvest plans submitted by PL and approved by CDF. Contains centerfold map and other information about the size and locations of PL’s ancient redwood groves, the first public distribution of this information. PBS 30 minute documentary “Pacific Lumber: A Case Study of a Corporate Takeover” airs nationally.
May: EF! stages National Day of Direct Action in five locations across the country; attempts first redwood tree-sit but climbers are caught by a PL maintenance crew.
May: 150 people assemble at Fisher Gate in Carlotta.
EPIC files first Headwaters lawsuit.
PL sues 15 EF!ers
Mendocino Environmental Center established in Ukiah by EF!ers.
Congressman John Dingell holds hearings on PL takeover.
Aug: Mill-in action at CDF, activists flood agency with paperwork & citizen participation. CDF responds by locking doors, closing bathrooms for good, and later raising price of THPs from $1 each to 25 cents a page, increasing cost to up to $75.
Aug-Sept: First 2 Successful tree sits, Greg King and Marybeth Nearing (‘Tarzan & Jane”) sit in old growth, are then sued by PL.
EPIC wins first suit. Judge agrees that CDF is “rubber-stamping” logging proposals.
Maxxam takeover of Kaiser Aluminum, in Washington State.
Jan: Headwaters Forest Wilderness Complex developed and proposed.
Photojournalist Greg King creates first Headwaters slide show PL takes out full-page ads denouncing Greg King and Headwaters Forest Wilderness proposal.
Darryl Cherney launches a run for Congress, first meets Judi Bari at the MEC, who then becomes involved in Earth First!
More EPIC suits.
Local grassroots initiatives. Judi Bari establishes worker outreach. IWW union organizing, and LP&GP campaigns in Mendocino. More tree sits & EF! actions.
Workers and Dept. of Labor both sue for pension fund.
Counter demonstrations by loggers/truckers begin. Media coverage steadily building; Outside magazine, Readers Digest, NYT, NBC, CBS.
March: EPIC files and wins a suit against Maxxam and Simpson Timber Company.
June: EPIC and Sierra Club file suit against the Board of Forestry and PL, leading to a unanimous California Supreme Court decision halting two Headwaters logging plans.
Sept.: EPIC and Sierra Club stop another 230 acre THP in Headwaters Grove.
EPIC and Sierra Club file another successful suit over a 226-acre plan in Owl Creek.
Dec.: Day of the Living Dead Hurwitzes and the counter-demo.
More than 40 members of Congress signed a letter to the Calif. Board of Forestry requesting a moratorium on the cutting of old growth redwoods on private land. The BofF said they would only comply with federal legislation.
Cong. Pete Starks introduces bill to protect the ancient redwoods through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
More EPIC suits. First NorCal EF! Road show.
June: Violence against protesters begins: Greg King punched, Mem Hill’s nose is broken, car carrying Judi, Darryl, 5 others rear ended by logging truck.
More tree sits!
July: PL sues tree sitters Darryl Cherney and George Shook
Aug.: First mass organizing & base camp: Nationwide Tree sit. Judi represents mill workers and loggers in lawsuits and worker complaints as IWW rep.
First Forest Forever Initiative heads toward Calif. Ballot to save old growth, define sustainable logging and reform forest practices.
Northern spotted owl listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
EF! rips mask of Shady Deal by occupying a log truck on Hwy. 36. “Death road” into heart of biggest ancient grove is discovered on routine hike,
April/May: Redwood Summer 1990 announced. Judi, Darryl & Greg receive three dozen death threats.
April 24: Earth day banner hang on Golden Gate –Save This Planet: Protect Old Growth; No Fossil Fuels; Earth First!” Banner almost gets unfurled before arrests are made.
-Seeds of peace IWW co-sponsor Redwood Summer. Strong non-violence code adopted in response to death threats.
May: EPIC and Sierra Club sue CDF for approving 186 acre old-growth plan near All Species Grove in the Headwaters area. PL had refused to conduct wildlife surveys.
May 24: Judi nearly killed and Darryl injured when a bomb planted in Judi’s car explodes in Oakland during a Redwood Summer Road show tour. FBI blames them for carrying bomb. Mass support for Judi, Darryl and EF! organizers flock to help. Judi continues organizing from her hospital bed. AIM, NOW, mainstream enviros and 50 others sign on to support for Judi, DC & EF!
June-Sept. Redwood Summer – thousands of activists converge on California’s north coast to protest clearcutting of remaining ancient Redwoods.
July: Redwood Summer continues with 4 largest EF! actions ever.
Spotted owl listed as Threatened.
Sept. – Dec.: Corporate Fall actions follow Redwood Summer as actioins in forest are joined by actions at the homes of corporate CEOs. Rallies at PL pres. Campbell’s house, and a “hot tub at Harry’s” action at LP’s Harry Merlo’s retreat.
Nov.: Republican Frank Riggs, elected to congress.
More EPIC/Sierra Club law suits.
May, Judi & Darryl sue FBI &OPD for Constitutional rights violations.
Redwood Summer II, 2 weeks of actions w/base camp. Lockboxes used for the first time. Judi sows first blockade since bombing. Barry Munitz, VP of Maxxam and head of failed S&L, becomes Chancellor of the CSU (Calif. State Univ. System) Road show & Protests follow. Trees Foundation Founded.
March EPIC and Sierra club sue the Board of Forestry for approving, over CDF’s denial, a 237 acre old-growth plan in Owl Creek. The Board required PL to do a survey of Murrelets.
Marbled Murrelet listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act
April-June. Albion Nation uprising in Mendocino. co. Daily actions, 10 tree-sits, 15 tree sitters. Logging around Enchanted Meadow by LP stopped.
June: PL logs in marbled murrelet habitat in Owl Creek. CDF shuts them down.
More EPIC suits.
LP sues 70+ people over Albion Nation Uprising.
Nov.: Democrat Dan Hamburg defeats Frank Riggs and goes to Washington as one of the swtrongest environmental voices to enter Congress..
Nov.: Thanksgiving weekend massacre in Owl Creek as PL again illegally enters old growth to log without sufficient permits. People run to the woods. EPIC runs to the court. After the long holiday weekend, the court stops them.
Jan.: Congressman Dan Hamburg meets with forest activists and creates outline for a bill to save Headwaters Forest. Debt-for-nature strategy proposed as means to pay for acquisition.
EPIC challenges PL Owl Creek logging plan in Federal Court for violating the Endangered Species Act. The case eventually leads to protection of all marbled murrelet-occupied ancient redwoods in the Headwaters area.
PL acquires Northcoast Railroad logging rights along tracks from RR bankruptcy proceedings.
Aug. Week of Outrage against Maxxam with base camp. First logger tree-sit. Jail Hurwitz Banner hung from Scotia and NYC to indict and sue Hurwitz. AP runs big story.
Hamburg bill, the Headwaters Forest Act, passes the full House of Representatives, Boxer introduces bill in Senate but does not champion it, despite intense lobbying.
Aug: Marbled Murrelet vs Pacific Lumber, EPIC’s federal case goes to trial, exposing testimony of altered, destroyed or “lost” murrelet surveys and a party using a murrelet photo as a dart board.
Headwaters Forest Act dies for lack of a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Feb: Judge Bechtle gives EPIC a victorious decision in the Murrelet case with a scathing decision, barring PL from logging Owl Creek (what’s left of it).
FDIC and the Office of Thrift Supervision (part of theTreasury Dept.) file claims seeking restitution damages for the failure and $1.6 bailout of a Maxxam-controlled Saving and Loan.
March 28, Judi Bari organizes emergency mass rally at Fisher gate for Headwaters as loggers are poised to begin in old growth. 400 show up. Tide turns.
March 29, 10-day base camp opens at Swimmers Delight camp.
May. Headwaters Forest Coordinating Committee (HFCC) forms; groups include EPIC, Trees Foundation, BACH, MEC, Bay Area EF!, North coast EF!, RAT, Greenpeace, Rose Foundation, Sierra Club.
2000 show up for Sept. 15 rally in Carlotta, marking the end of marbled murrelet nesting season. 263 arrested at Fisher Gate, 2 months of base camp follow with 70 arrests defending northern Headwaters Forest.
EPIC obtains temporary injunction against salvage logging in Headwaters.
July, Aug., & Sept. Atty. Bill Bertain’s shareholders suit from 1988 settles for $65 million. Pension Fund lawsuit scores victory.
60, 000 acre proposal created by HFCC.
May HHFC members with stock do first presence of Maxxam shareholder meeting since 1987. -Coho listed as threatened in California.
July and Aug.: Base camps for training and organizing.
6,000 people show up for the now-traditional Sept. 15 rally in Carlotta. 1033 arrested at Fisher Gate: the largest civil disobedience action in the history of the forest preservation movement. 2 months of base camp and mass rallies ensues.
Sept. 29: 2000 people rally at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco and march to Feinstein’s office, calling for preservation of 60,000 acres. At rally are Mayor Willie Brown, Bob Weir and other celebs. Diane Feinstein announces negotiation of” Headwaters Agreement” with Charles Hurwitz shortly thereafter. 1500 rally in Arcata against deal.
Salvage logging in ancient groves begins. Actions defending Owl Creek, All Species and Northern Headwaters groves continue with base camps at Swimmers, Grizzly Creek and Williams Grove.
Nov. Nearly 350 arrests statewide, as numbers defending the forest grow
Nov.: Forest Aid concerts with Bonnie Raitt.
Nov.: Woody Harrelson and others scale the Golden Gate bridge to hang a banner: “Hurwitz: Aren’t Redwoods More Precious Than Gold?”
Taxpayers for Headwaters forms and watershed residents begin organizing.
Pacific Lumber submits first draft of their Sustainable Yield Plan (SYP).
Dec. 31: Stafford Slide comes down on New Year’s eve: a massive wall of mud and trees, originating in a steep PL clearcut buries 5 homes. Miraculously, no one is killed.
Rainforest Action Network, BACH, Greenpeace and others start old-growth redwood boycott campaign with a press conference in LA that includes Steven Seagal, Ed Asner, Bob Weir, Max Headroom.
March 2: We lose Judi Bari to breast cancer. Movement stunned and saddened. 1000+ attend her memorial.
May: Huge rally in Houston and 20+ activists meet and talk to Hurwitz at annual shareholder meeting.
Sept. – Dec. Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) begin hearings against Maxxam for failed S & L.
Sept. 14:-8,000 strong at largest rally ever for Headwaters at Stafford. Mickey Hart, Bob Weir and Bonnie Raitt perform, Jerry Brown speaks. The action involves hundreds of people helping sandbag people’s homes near the huge logging-caused slide.
Sept. – Nov.: Base Camp at Stafford. 3 longest ever tree-sits begin. Many lockdowns and actions in Bear Creek, Bell Creek and Stafford. Three “Pepper spray by Q-tip” incidents put Headwaters and EF! back in national media spotlight. Over 160 arrested.
Stafford and Elk River residents sue PL over slides, silt and floods.
Nov.: Clinton signs Headwaters Appropriation.
Dec. 10: Julia Butterfly begins treesit in Stafford Giant, Luna.
Headwaters Forest Stewardship Plan crafted as an alternative management plan, showing how Headwaters Forest could be logged sustainably with key areas protected.
Between 1995 and 1997, CDF issued at least 250 violations to PL.
EPIC sues for Coho Salmon.
March against Maxxam. 2 weeks action camp. Bell Creek actions, blockades and 6-month tree sit begins.
May: Activists attend Maxxam shareholders meeting, Houston with a 35-ft. inflatable chainsaw, which is driven on a flatbed truck up to the front door.
Aug.: Long-argued OTS suit comes to an end. Ruling on Maxxam debt to follow soon.
Mattole actions bring in local residents as well as EF! and defending doug-fir old growth. PL files first of four “SLAPPs” (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) to harass protesters.
Pepper spray civil suit ends in hung jury in San Francisco, activists appeal.
California State Legislature approves $245 million for “Headwaters deal.”
Sept. 2 week action camp begins.
Sept. 17: Activist David “Gypsy” Chain is killed when an angry PL logger felled a huge tree on top of him in Grizzly Creek. Beginning of “Gypsy Mountain Free State”, blockades and tree-sits.
Huge rally in Oakland at Habitat Conservation Plan hearings, over 20,000 pieces of public comment on HCP. Salmon and murrelets in attendance protest the “license to kill” endangered species that is part and parcel of the HCP, which is written into the Headwaters Deal.
Dec. 10: Julia’s 1-year anniversary sitting in Luna.
Dec. 12: Luna rally in Stafford, 1000+ attend rally, mass trespass. Humboldt DA refuses to prosecute PL logger for Gypsy’s death.
After Steelworkers at Maxxam’s Kaiser Alum. Company go on strike and are then locked out, the Steelworkers and Earth First! Headwaters activists “find” each other and team up to oppose Maxxam’s anti-earth, anti-worker policies.
Jan.: Final HCP/SYP released.
March 1: Headwaters Deal is signed. 7500-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve is transferred to the public. HCP goes into effect. Hurwitz gets $480 million and several thousand acres of additional forestland in the Deal.
EPIC , United Steelworkers of America and Sierra Club file suit challenging PL’s Sustainable Yield Plan.
Dec.: After 738 days without touching the ground, Julia Butterfly descends from Luna. A conservation easement protects Luna and about 3 acres surrounding it.
Board of Forestry rejects petition for rules to save old growth.
March: Sacramento CDF board takeover and arrests over forests practices.
April: Week of Action, base camp at Meyer’s Flat, Jordan Creek Blockade; Columbia helicopter crew truck lockdowns; Lockdowns at Northwest Forest and Marine (herbicide sprayers for Max/Palco)
April: Nate Madsen graduated from Humboldt State University while in his treesit in Freshwater.
May: Locked out Steelworkers go to Maxxam Shareholders meeting in Houston with forest activists. Rallies, marches and forums are held in Houston with David Foster and David Brower in attendance.
June: “Hole in the Headwaters” blockade on North Fork of the Elk, THP put on hold.
Oct.: Redway community organizes against PL logging of old growth there, community supports blockade of gate. THP put on hold.
Oct: Nate Madsen descends his tree home, “Mariah” after nearly 2 years, when the THP expires
Nov: David Brower dies.
Dec: the State buys 1200 acres in Owl Creek Grove, including 400 acres of old growth for $67 million
Maxxam and Hurwitz bring considerable pressure to bear getting his friends in Congress to lobby FDIC and OTS for dismissal of the claims and included the release of a highly inflammatory report by Rep. Pombo (R-CA) from his Resources sub-committee Special Task Force.
26 residents of Stafford who lost their homes or other properties to the PL-caused landslide settle their lawsuit for approximately $3.3 million, with $90,000 paid to other claimants.
May: A crowd of forest activists and Steelworkers including Julia Butterfly and Gypsy’s mom attend Maxxam Shareholders’ meeting in Houston and organize rallies and marches.
Wrongful death lawsuit is filed against PL by David Gypsy Chain’s family
Administrative Law judge in Texas recommends against judgment against Maxxam and Hurwitz in the OTS case.
PL plans sneak attack to log in the Allen Creek Grove, one of the six old growth groves set aside under protective status for 50 years under the infamous Headwaters Deal.
Oct: PL cuts THP 520, the Hole in the Headwaters. PL files SLAPP # 3 against those trying to stop it.
Dec: 140 loggers and millworkers are laid off as the Scotia mill is closed.
CDF had approved 94 THPs in 2001, covering 11,000 acres, up from 6800 acres in 2000.
Heritage Tree Preservation Act (SB 754) introduced. (ultimately dies in 2003)
Feb: Maxxam’s Kaiser Alum. Co. files for bankruptcy
Spring: PL begins logging on occupied marbled murrelet habitat, after high quality habitat is “released” by DFG under provisions included in the HCP.
March: A young woman from Olympia climbs an old growth redwood in Freshwater and names it Jerry. She doesn’t come down.
Summer: Lockdown action at PL offices in Scotia. PL files SLAPP #3 against those protesters.
Sept. 23: Rally held to celebrate Remedy’s 6 months in Jerry. Begins action of 13 women in 13 trees for 13 days.
Oct. 7: Sue Moloney of the Campaign for Old Growth, begins a hunger strike on the steps of the State Capitol to pressure Gray Davis to do as he said and “spare old growth trees in California from the lumberjack’s axe.”
Oct.: Corporate raider Charles Hurwitz settles for $206,000 in the OTS case over the S & L crash that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.
Newly-elected Humboldt county DA Paul Gallegos files a Civil Fraud lawsuit against Pacific Lumber Co. Maxxam/PL immediately funds a recall effort against the new DA., ultimately spending over $300,000. The recall lost and Gallegos retained his position.
Tree-sitters in the Mattole are cut out of lock boxes, as PL cuts at a rate of 1 million board feet/day, despite the court stay.
Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo shows up on day 22 of Moloney’ fast to support her, and BACH activists deliver nearly 200 letters to Gov. Davis.
Julia Butterfly and musician Melissa Crabtree join Moloney on day 50 without food, as former Congressman Dan Hamburg and Woody Harrelson speak out against Gov. Davis’ refusal to meet with Moloney.
Legislators schedule a hearing to address the problem of old growth logging. Sue Moloney eats.
Dec.: As the case to determine whether PL is in contempt of court by violating the logging stay is postponed until Feb., PL begins logging the residual old growth forest known to be the nesting habitat of the endangered Marbled murrelet
Dec. 8: Tree-sitter Wren celebrates her 200th day in the tree.
Floods due to PL logging damage homes adjacent to logging, sediment torrents bury trees in the Avenue of the Giants.
Jan.: The Regional Water Quality Control Board hears from a panel of scientists who confirm in their report link between soil erosion, sedimentation of streams, polluted drinking water, landslides and floods – and the accelerated rate of logging of PL on steep unstable slopes.
Jan: 581-acre Redwood grove in Redway is purchased from PL with help from SRL.
Feb. Humboldt County D.A. Paul Gallegos files a $250 million lawsuit against PL alleging fraud and deceptive concealment in their submission of data during the Headwaters deal negotiations.
March: Humboldt Co. sheriffs and hired contract climbers begin to forcibly extract tree-sitters in Freshwater. PL launches its SLAPP # 4 against the tree-sitters and other forest defenders.
March: SYP case goes to trial
July: Victory for EPIC, Steelworkers and SC in SYP case.
July: Tree-sit goes up in Houston down the road from Hurwitz’s house.
Final Management Plan for Headwaters Forest Reserve (nee Preserve) released, subject to one last comment period.
Sept.: SB 810 passes in Calif. Legislature requiring logging plans to comply with water quality regulations, giving new and appropriate power to the Water agency.
Sept.: The second Pepper Spray By Q-tip case filed by activists against Humboldt County police ended with a narrowly hung jury in San Francisco.
Nov: PL submits THP to log old growth adjacent to Avenue of Giants. Treesit goes up. Ultimately, 65 acres are purchased.
April: Third time’s the charm: the Pepper Spray By Q-tip case ends with the jury finding that the cops used excessive force when they applied pepper spray to protesters’ eyes in three separate Headwaters Forest actions.
April: Water Quality stays logging plans in Elk and Feshwater as PL threatens bankruptcy
Aug: Federal judge orders the FDIC, who was trying to investigate taxpayer bilking when those taxpayers had to bail out Hurwitz’s S&L to pay Hurwitz $72 million for his pain and suffering in being sued by the FDIC (even though the FDIC dropped their suit)
Aug: PL offers “deal” to bondholders of 90% equity and $300 million in new bonds. Bondholders don’t bite. PL’s debt stands at over $700 million, close to the 1985 purchase debt.
SLAPP suits go to trial. Many SLAPPees settle out of court to avoid the costs of court and PL abandons damages claim. PL gets $0, zip, zilch, nada from activists.
March: PL puts about 75,000 acres up for sale, nearly 15,000 acres actively on the market and about 60,000 allegedly offered to timber companies in the area. Only the 15,000 acres are sold.
July: Robert Manne resigns; PL hires exec George O’Brien from International Paper.
Pacific Lumber and subsidiaries file bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws. Chapter 11 calls for the company in bankruptcy to reorganize its business, leaving same old, same old PL management in control for the time being. PL, true to its business as usual, created a bogus company, Scotia Development LLC in June 2006, six months before the bankruptcy filing, in Corpus Christi, Texas, so that their case will be heard in Texas
PL files a “reorganization plan” that proposes to sell about 22,000 acres of its forestland into high end development of luxury homes they call “trophy homes” in a “kingdom”.
Fortunately, nearly three months later, the bankruptcy judge ends PL’s exclusive position in submitting reorganization proposals. Proposals are expected in early 2008 from creditors, including the bondholders, and others, and the Mendocino Redwood Company, owned by the “Gap” Fisher family expresses interest in investing $200 million in the timber company.
Click here to see EPIC’s legal case history, which includes headwaters lawsuits.