Jackson Demonstration State Forest Update: May 2022
There’s been a lot of developments in the fight to Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF). So, we thought we’d give you all an update.
First, CAL FIRE has announced that they definitely are rewriting the JDSF management plan 4 years early. This comes after continuous pressure from the public, some members of the Jackson Advisory Group, Senator McGuire, and Secretary Wade Crowfoot. This means the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the forest’s future 4 years earlier than they otherwise would have. We can ensure that this State owned forest is managed in an ecologically and culturally informed way. EPIC will be following this process closely and will be sure to keep you informed about how best to influence the future of JDSF.
Second, CAL FIRE has proposed a compromise on the Caspar 500 THP. The controversial Caspar 500 THP is the THP that set off the Campaign to Save JDSF when forest users noticed dozens of large, second growth trees had been marked for harvest in a popular hiking and mountain biking area. Last summer, forest defenders successfully managed to pause logging on the Caspar 500 THP, but the timber companies have been eager to return.
CAL FIRE has offered to compromise in a few ways. First, a proposed logging road, which would have run through the Gemini Tree that forest defenders occupied last year, will be moved and the Gemini Tree will be pardoned. Second, no trees in the THP area with a diameter at breast height over 48” will be cut down as part of this Timber Harvest Plan. Third, 75 acres of the roughly 500 acre Timber Harvest Plan will be taken out of commercial harvest and will instead undergo light thinning at the direction of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. This last concession is an effort by CAL FIRE to begin some co-management on JDSF without agreeing to fully co-manage the forest.
The final component of CAL FIRE’s compromise offer relies on the research of Steven Sillett, a professor at Cal Poly Humboldt. The idea is for the logging to continue but for CAL FIRE to select a couple Potential Elite Trees (PETs) per acre to permanently protect. These trees would be the most vigorous redwoods in the forest and would be permanently protected so that they would eventually become old-growth redwoods. However, their neighbors that aren’t lucky enough to be selected will still be logged.
The Coalition has been calling for a complete moratorium on logging operations until a new management plan can be developed and implemented. Exactly how CAL FIRE’s offer will be received remains to be seen.
Interested in becoming more involved? Check out www.savejackson.org or join us at the upcoming Caspar Forest Fest on Saturday, June 11th, from 12pm to 7pm.