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Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest
Since 2020, EPIC and allies have been working to improve the the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)'s management of Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) in order to protect the forest’s biodiversity, fight climate change, and protect local Tribe’s sacred sites.
Since 1947, CAL FIRE has been managing the forest as an industrial timberland, “demonstrating” commercial timber harvests for California’s timber companies.
In May 2021, local climate scientist, JDSF lover, and EPIC board member J.P. O'Brien wrote a position letter outlining his vision for more climate-friendly management of JDSF.
Following previous negotiations for dialogue that broke down when CAL FIRE refused to agree to halt logging, tree sitters in JDSF heard "fast and furious" chainsaw work in June 2021, which prompted EPIC to publish an action alert urging a moratorium on logging in JDSF.
In October 2021, forest defenders peacefully protesting in JDSF were faced with threats of violence, and EPIC authored a letter to California Natural Resouces Agency (CNRA) Secretary Wade Crowfoot urging him to call for a halt to logging on JDSF until CAL FIRE could ensure safety.
On January 10, 2022, CAL FIRE issued its first arrests against protestors in JDSF, which 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 18, 2022 demanding that they not allow Trouette to act as private security on this public property.
In February 2022, EPIC published an action alert asking our supporters to write representatives demanding an immediate moratorium on logging in JDSF.
On June 5, 2023, EPIC published an action alert asking our supporters to urge California State decision makers to protect JDSF as an Indigenous cultural landscape.
On July 31, 2023, in anticipation of the next Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) meeting, EPIC published an action alert asking our supporters to tell CAL FIRE that the revised JDSF management plan needs CEQA environmental review.
In July 2023, CAL FIRE announced that they will be shirking environmental review when writing the new management plan they promised for JDSF. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, (CEQA) environmental review is required for all "projects" approved by the State of California, defined as “an activity which may cause either a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment…” (Pub. Rec Code § 21065). CAL FIRE has decided not to perform CEQA review as they rewrite the management plan, effectively limiting public participation and oversight of how this publicly owned forest will be managed in the future, and stating that the new management plan won’t really change (or improve) the physical environment in JDSF.
Jackson is an extremely important forest and should be conserved for several reasons.
First, Jackson houses culturally significant sites and biological resources for the Northern Pomo and Coast Yuki peoples that are threatened by ongoing timber harvesting. Preserving Jackson would also help preserve their cultural heritage.
Moreover, Jackson is already state owned land, which means no acquisition is required to move almost 50,000 acres into the “conserved” column. In addition, Jackson is already beloved by local residents and tourists alike as a place for outdoor recreation.
On top of that, JDSF is home to the endangered northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, making the biodiversity benefits of a forest reserve large. Finally, because the dominant species in Jackson is coastal redwood, preserving this forest will have uniquely beneficial carbon sequestration impacts. Coast redwood trees sequester carbon quicker and for a longer period of time than almost any other species on earth.
In order to accomplish this, we’ve partnered with local and national organizations like the Mendocino Trail Stewards, Jug Handle Creek Farm & Nature Center, Forests Forever Foundation, California Native Plant Society, Mama Tree Mendo, Fortunate Farmland, Standing Up For Racial Justice Mendocino, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Mendocino County Youth for Climate.
We are also working with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the original stewards of the forest now called JDSF, to ensure that our advocacy is respectful of their connection to this land. Jackson is the ancestral territory of the Northern Pomo and Coast Yuki Peoples. Since time immemorial, these Peoples have gathered acorns throughout the coastal range, fished for salmon in the rivers and gathered food, basket weaving materials and medicinal plants from the coastal forest.
Together, we are all committed to changing the way CAL FIRE manages JDSF for the better. That means focusing on wildlife conservation, carbon sequestration, recreation and reverence, not industrial logging. We’ll be sure to keep you updated about our fight to preserve JDSF and let you know if there are more ways you can help.
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We need our representatives to demand an immediate moratorium on logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF). JDSF has more registered Native American sacred sites than any other State Forest in California and its coast redwoods store sequester more carbon than any other forest type in the world! This special place should be protected from industrial logging while we work to change its management.
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