The struggle to save Jackson Demonstration State Forest from greedy industrial logging started off the new year with a bang.
First, on January 10th, CAL FIRE issued its first arrests against protestors in the forest. The arrests were particularly notable because the protestors were first placed under a “citizens arrest” by loggers at the direction of Lear Asset Management’s Paul Trouette. Trouette has supposedly been hired by logging companies to act as a safety manager when he is in fact acting as private security on public lands. EPIC issued a cease and desist order to CAL FIRE on January 18th demanding that they not allow Trouette to act as private security on this public property.
On January 19th, at a Board of Forestry meeting, CAL FIRE Deputy Director of Natural Resources Matthew Reischman announced: “Due to delays in Timber Harvest Plan approvals and 2021 planned operations, no additional timber sales will be offered in 2022.” CAL FIRE was unable to approve any Timber Harvest Plans in 2021 in the wake of overwhelming public comments identifying the many problems with the plans. You can read EPIC’s comments on the Mitchell Creek Timber Harvest plan, which was supposed to be approved in 2021, here.
This pause on new timber sales is a relief to forest defenders, environmentalists, and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians who have been fighting to try to save the forest from unnecessary destructive logging. However, CAL FIRE intends to continue logging already approved Timber Harvest Plans which is why the EPIC and others have been asking for a pause on all logging in the forest until a more sustainable management plan can be adopted.
Then, on Sunday January 23rd, Chairman Michael Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians hosted his first “Witness What’s Happening in our Pomo Homelands” event. The event, attended by concerned members of the public as well as representatives from EPIC and other environmental groups was inspiring. Chairman Hunter led about 100 people from a site within JDSF that had been heavily logged in 2018 to the Gemini Tree located within the soon to be logged Caspar 500 THP. During the walk, folks from many different organizations and backgrounds shared their thoughts and feelings about why protecting JDSF is so important.
Finally, on Monday January 24th Forest Defenders held a “Safety First '' rally at Camp One in JDSF. The event was to protest ongoing logging operations on the Red Tail THP. EPIC and our allies submitted this letter arguing that the Red Tail THP violates JDSF’s Option A in December. Despite that, CAL FIRE has continued to allow aggressive logging in this area designated as an “Older Forest Development Area” in the current JDSF management plan.
There’s a lot more planned in the campaign to Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest! So be sure to visit Savejackson.org and sign up to receive the most up-to-date information!