Caspar, CA- Early Thursday morning chainsaws were heard near the Caspar 500 Timber Harvest Plan (THP), an area in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) where logging has been on hold since mid June in response to community concern over what they call mismanagement of the land. Over 30 Forest Defenders sprang into action, rushing out in the rain to engage in nonviolent forest defense. However, they did not find any loggers, or signs of downed trees. Representatives from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire), who are responsible for the management of the forest, stated that the halt on logging in the Caspar 500 is still in place. A receptionist with Anderson Logging, the Licensed Timber Operator on the plan, stated that all their workers had the day off due to the rain.
Still, Forest Defenders are wary. They have expressed distrust of both Cal Fire and Anderson Logging, and are concerned that logging efforts will resume despite the inclement weather rolling over the North Coast as Anderson Logging does have the go ahead for Winter Operations in the Caspar 500 should the halt be lifted. Just last week Forest Defenders put up a third tree sit platform in the Caspar 500, this time in a redwood tree named “Gemini” which, despite being unmarked, is slated for removal due to its location in a proposed truck road. Gemini is over 18 feet around at the base.
The Forest Defenders are part of a larger Coalition to Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest, along with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo, the Mendocino Trail Stewards, the Environmental Information and Protection Center (EPIC) Redwood Nation Earth First! The Mama Tree Network, and more. The Coalition says that the JDSF plan is out of date, that it does not adequately acknowledge modern climate science, and that it does not adequately honor the sovereign rights, nor protect the cultural heritage of First Nation peoples. In light of this, the Coalition is calling for a moratorium and has made it clear that they will keep pressing for a moratorium on any current or proposed logging operations until all interested parties have been fully heard and acknowledged.
Meanwhile, CA Director of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot stated to Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Michael Hunter during a meeting on September 23rd that ““It’s my clear understanding that there is no timber harvest happening right now. No logging happening. And I commit to a responsible government-to-government consultation that’s honest, that’s direct, that incorporates all tribal perspectives that want to be involved before timber harvest resumes.” Forest Defenders confirmed logging on September 24th in the Soda Gulch Timber Harvest Plan, northeast of the Caspar 500. Logging may still be ongoing in the Soda Gulch THP, where activists have been threatened and harassed by loggers and hired private security officers who Cal Fire calls “safety officials.” Coalition members urge Cal Fire, California Director of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, and their State Representatives to put in place an official moratorium to give all parties time for their voices to be heard.