On August 25th, CAL FIRE announced that logging would resume in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF). CAL FIRE made this announcement without informing Chairman Michael Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians beforehand.
Before that announcement was made, the Coalition to Save Jackson State Forest felt like we were making progress with the State. CAL FIRE had made several concessions and released their vision for the future the previous week.
But the sudden announcement that logging would resume, without any oversight by the Tribe or the community, was a stark reminder that CAL FIRE still views the forest fundamentally differently than the community does.
CAL FIRE gave the following statement to CapRadio in order to explain their decision to restart logging: “Once these [timber harvesting plans] are complete soon, we then have the opportunity to look forward together and revisit future [timber harvesting plans] and the broader [JDSF] management plan as a whole… Given the contractual legal commitments at stake, the time utilized for holding productive conversations, and the resulting vision document that highlights an assortment of shared values to guide future operations, outcomes aligned and resulted in resuming the one THP currently underway.”
To translate that from CAL FIRE speak: “we will update the vision after we’re done logging some of the most controversial areas in the forest” and “we’ve talked enough - time to start logging”.
If CAL FIRE was expecting their announcement to be met with indifference they couldn’t have been more wrong. At a rally in the forest held on August 28th, the Save Jackson Coalition made clear that we still oppose logging. Activists followed up with protests marching through Fort Bragg on August 29th.
But perhaps the most impactful protest took place on August 30th at the headquarters of the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) in Sacramento. About 50 protestors made the trip from the coast to the Capitol to let CNRA and CAL FIRE (they share a fancy new office building) know that the community is still opposed to these logging projects. Protestors chanted, sang songs, and waved signs for about two hours. After the rally ended, a group of six movement elders conducted a non-violent sit-in in front of the building’s entrance. The elders were arrested by State police.
Polly Girvin, one of the arrestees and upcoming EPIC Sempervirens award winner, had this to say: "I went to jail today for my great grandchildren Daniel, Courtney, Chloee and Cambree. They are members of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and great grandchildren of Priscilla Hunter. I want them to remember that their auntie stood up for their future, so they can be out there in the forest gathering basket materials, gathering medicine, and learning about all the plants. I am a role model for Pomo youth and that is why I took a stand today."
Then on September 7th, forest protectors nonviolently blocked loggers from entering the highly contested timber harvest plan (THP) known as Red Tail, halting logging activities in JDSF six miles east of Fort Bragg near the popular Camp One campground. Activists said they are issuing an “Earth First! Stop Work Order” to replace the “pause” CAL FIRE had agreed to during recent on-going talks, but appears to have abruptly jettisoned.
If you haven’t already done so, please click here to sign a petition to shame CAL FIRE’s deception and protest logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest! For more updates on this campaign, check out Savejackson.org, follow @savejacksoncoalition on Instagram, and like Coalition to Save Jackson The People's Forest on Facebook!