Citizens Call Out Cal Fire for More Broken Promises

Nov. 8, 2022

Monitors Measure Trees Over 48” Diameter Cut on Red Tail Plan in Jackson State Forest

Call for Reinstatement of Moratorium on Logging

Ft. Bragg, CA–On Monday, Nov. 7, citizen monitors braved pouring rain to measure trees recently cut in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) by Cal Fire contractor Richard Hautala. Some downed trees were larger than the 48’ diameter at breast height (dbh) limit that CalFire had said it would allow to be cut on the contested Red Tail timber harvest plan (THP) in JDSF. “Red Tail” is a 345-acre forested area near the popular Camp One campground off highway 20 between Willits and the coastal town of Ft. Bragg. Some of the cut trees were over 60”—over five feet in diameter.

At an Aug. 19 Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) meeting, CalFire had promised not to any cut trees at or above 48” diameter at breast height, as stated in handouts distributed to the public showcasing the agency’s new “management vision.” However, since no data was provided as to how many 48’ dbh trees were originally present, or how many had already been cut, the statement was rendered essentially meaningless.

Longtime community member and THP tracker Linda Perkins stated, “Red Tail is an “Older Forest Development Area” under Option A, as designated in the JDSF Management Plan. Our concern is that CalFire is cutting in excess of the limits on these older forests and that the Red Tail THP violates the JDSF Option A”. See letter documenting Option A violations here.

“How can you develop an older forest when you cut down all the older trees?” asked George Russell, who hiked the extremely muddy roads to document logging activities that have taken place since Calfire reneged on a previous promise of a “pause” in operations during government-to-government negotiations with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians aimed at developing a co-management plan. One week after debuting its “new vision,” CalFire announced that logging in the disputed plans would resume as usual.

In May, CalFire led a walk-around in Red Tail with Coyote Valley Chairman Hunter and members of the Coalition, which generated a letter listing numerous concerns about the plan, including that CalFire, the agency managing Jackson, is not following their own Option A regulations governing how they meet sustainable objectives. Months later, CalFire has rejected all of the concerns.

On Aug. 25, in an abrupt reversal of the “pause” put in place by CalFire since January, Deputy Director for Resource Management Matthew Reischman unilaterally declared that negotiations with local Native American tribes, forest stakeholders, timber operators, conservation organizations, and the local community had concluded.

Jackson lies within the ancestral territory of the Northern Yuki and Pomo Indians. While Governor Newsom has directed that Tribes with such lands under State control be given co-management rights, Jackson Forest protectors believe CalFire has made a mockery of the process by violating its own rules, refusing to negotiate in good faith and breaking its promises. Activists called for a reinstatement of the moratorium so that talks can resume.


See Photos of evidence of logging of large trees:

captions here.

11-7-22 photos with measurement verification:

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