On May 28th, Cal Fire released its weekly report documenting the status of all Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) in California. The Save Jackson Coalition was pleased to learn that three controversial THPs located in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) had been withdrawn. The plans constitute a total of 1479 acres (over 2 square miles) of forest now taken off the chopping block.
As part of the larger campaign to change the management plan of JDSF, the Mitchell Creek THP, Little North Fork Big River THP, and Boundary Creek THP had all drawn considerable public opposition. Each had its own problems that were pointed out to Cal Fire by the public.
For example, the Little North Fork Big River THP was located adjacent to the popular Mendocino Woodlands State Park. According to the Little North Fork Big River THP “During timber operations, campers in the Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Center will experience the acoustic effects of logging including falling trees, chainsaws, and yarder whistles.” Another example was the serious impacts to rare and sensitive plant species located in the Mitchell Creek THP.
The Mitchell Creek and Little North Fork Big River THPs were both recommended for approval in the Spring of 2021, with the Boundary Creek THP recommended for approval in March 2021. In response to community opposition, hundreds of public comments, and the advocacy of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Cal Fire has now withdrawn these THPs. Whether they intend to resubmit alternative plans remains to be seen.
“I think Cal Fire wrote these THPs assuming the public wasn’t paying attention to their destructive logging practices in Jackson Demonstration State Forest,” said Matt Simmons, an attorney with the Environmental Protection Information Center.
The Save Jackson Coalition has been demanding a moratorium on all logging in Jackson, including the approval of new THPs, until a new management plan can be written and implemented that better meets the needs of the Native American Tribes, the community, the environment, and also addresses the current climate reality. In recent weeks, Cal Fire has announced that they will be rewriting the JDSF management plan and now they have withdrawn these three controversial THPs. The Coalition considers this a good faith action on Cal Fire’s part toward that end. The Save Jackson Coalition continues to demand a moratorium.