Lots of news to report from the campaign to Save Jackson! For the past several weeks, Chairman Michael Hunter has been leading community tours through the forest. These tours were an opportunity for community members to witness CAL FIRE’s poor management of the forest and to share their thoughts about what a better managed forest would look like.
During the tours, Indigenous people returned to a forest that they had been violently driven out of over 150 years ago and were able to pray, dance, and give offerings. It was truly a powerful experience and we are so thankful that they shared it with us.
We were also thankful for Vice Chairman Frankie Myers of the Yurok Tribe who made the trip down to Mendocino County to offer his thoughts about what the future of the forest should look like. He told a crowd of gathered supporters that in order to restore the forest, we must restore its original caretakers, the Pomo and Coast Yuki Peoples, to the land.
Then on March 2nd, Senator McGuire made news by announcing that the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) management plan would be rewritten. Rewriting the old management plan, which permits logging of large redwoods, damage to Native American sacred sites, and other bad management practices has been one of our coalition’s main demands. The new management plan must include full co-management for the local tribes, protection for large trees, and more engagement with the local community. We need a management plan that understands that we are in a climate and biodiversity emergency and acts to protect this special piece of California. Moreover, because writing a new management plan will take some time, we need a moratorium on timber operations so that CAL FIRE cannot damage the forest any further while we work to change the management plan.
With McGuire’s announcement, it’s more important than ever that we show our legislators and agency heads that there is broad popular support for changing the management of JDSF. Chairman Hunter plans to present the thousands of signatures he has collected calling for a moratorium at a rally in Ukiah on March 14th. And then follow that rally up with a rally in Sacramento on March 25th. Both rallies will be attended by Native American dancers, environmental groups, and members of the public who support change on JDSF. Please consider attending one or both rallies if you want to support this movement. You can also donate to support the rallies and this campaign at pomolandback.com or savejackson.org.