Two Successes In The Fight To Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest
First, on September 22nd at a meeting of the Board of Forestry, former CAL FIRE Chief Thom Porter called for a review of the JDSF Management Plan. Porter stated that the Newsom’s Administration’s policies, like the Statement of Administration Policy Native American Ancestral Lands, required CAL FIRE to consider co-management opportunities with local Tribes. This request by Porter comes after months of ongoing government to government consultation between the Tribe and California regarding the management of JDSF and its effects on their cultural sites and resources. In response to Chief Porter’s statement, the Coyote Valley Tribe of Pomo Indians reiterated its call for a moratorium on logging in the forest. “[W]e cannot accept the continuing and systematic destruction of ancestral sacred sites and other cultural resources at JDSF while we are at the Government to Government consultation table seeking to protect these resources”, said Historic Preservation Officer of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Priscilla Hunter.
Then, on November 15th, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution urging Governor Newsom and the California Natural Resources Agency to conduct a scientific review of the management of Jackson. The review is necessary to ensure that CAL FIRE’s current management practices, which include harvesting large second-growth redwood trees, some of which are greater than 6 feet in diameter at breast height, line up with California’s climate change and conservation goals. The Board voted after hearing comments from Priscilla Hunter from the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Marie Jones from the Mendocino Climate Action Committee, and many other members of the community.
The unanimous resolution is a clear sign that the local community is unhappy with Jackson’s current management, which is based on legislation passed in 1947 and a management plan written in 2007. In the intervening years, the dangers of climate change and the necessity of sequestering and storing carbon in our forests have become increasingly clear. Nonviolent protests erupted last April, with early morning gate blockades to prevent logging and tree-sits to protect the centenarian “Mama” and “Papa” redwood trees marked for cut in the Caspar 500 timber harvest plan (THP). Protests have continued nonstop, bringing about a de facto People’s Moratorium on logging in Jackson. Supervisors Williams and Gjerde introduced the resolution in response to these protests.
With these two developments, it is clear that the movement to change the management of Jackson has had considerable successes. But, this fight is just getting started, and we still need all hands on deck to ensure that California’s politicians and state agencies follow through on the promises they’ve made to both Native Californians and the planet. For more frequent updates on the fight to save Jackson Demonstration State Forest please visit savejackson.org and subscribe for updates.