In addition, news outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle, High Country News, National Public Radio, and the California Report have produced stories on the subject, exponentially increasing public awareness outside of the Northcoast region. Thousands have registered their opposition to the project by either doing an online action or signing a postcard demanding that the project be rescinded by the governor. The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) has regular updates and opportunities for people to get involved in the Save Richardson Grove Campaign on their website at wildcalifornia.org.
In June, five individuals and three environmental organizations filed suit against Caltrans, citing fourteen points on why the Richardson Grove Highway Improvement Project should not go forward. The plaintiff group has excellent legal representation, including that of former US Congressman Pete McCloskey. EPIC’s long time staff attorney Sharon Duggan leads the team with expertise and passion. The plaintiff group are now meeting with Caltrans representatives in the mandatory settlement process required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In addition, access has finally been granted for the parties to review the “administrative record.” The complex case was filed in San Francisco to address statewide concerns over the potential harm to public resources within a State Park.
“We are cautiously optimistic about our lawsuit, not only because of the merits of the case, but because of the exceptional representation we have,” said Kerul Dyer, EPIC’s Richardson Grove Campaign coordinator. “The priority for gaining support is to raise funds for Richardson Grove Legal Funds. CEQA lawsuits are pricey.”
Solidarity for the Grove
In addition to the lawsuit, campaign support has seen exponential growth across California and beyond. With activists now organizing across California, diverse and bold techniques have emerged in solidarity with the campaign to protect the grove. EPIC has sent brochures, tshirts, stickers and postcards to organizers in several places around all across California including the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chico, Sacramento, Beverly Hills, many rural locations in Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Humboldt counties.
“We just keep sending out activist toolkits. People from all over are extremely concerned that the place that introduced their families’ to the redwoods–Richardson Grove State Park–could be harmed by Caltrans,” remarked Dyer about the campaign. “The depth and breadth of this growing campaign has only begun to unfold.”
Complementary to major actions, exciting examples of campaign support offer historic perspective and a diversity of voices dedicated to the cause. One such jewel includes the recent involvement of the entire Hartsook family, who prepared a group letter to Caltrans and Save the Redwoods supporting the campaign to Save Richardson Grove. In addition to their strong opposition to the project, the family has concerns that the project could harm Hartsook Inn or trees immediately surrounding the historic building. Another small but effective campaign element is the story of a dedicated mom in Chico, who plans to organize children to coordinate a kid-led campaign for the grove across the state.
The Bold Photo and the City Council Resolution