On the morning of Monday January 24th, Forest Defenders gathered at the Red Tail THP to protest continued mis-management of the forest, and the use of citizens arrests to bar access to the public’s forest. The protest was originally dubbed “Safety First ” and was organized to highlight the illegal actions of private security officer Paul Trouette- owner of Lear Asset Management- in JDSF.
Although logging is ongoing in the Red Tail THP, Trouette, Calfire, and the Licensed Timber Operators didn’t show up for work today. As a result, the protest turned into a three hour celebration, interspersed with information sharing and an “eye witness walk in the forest.” The demonstrators also happily acknowledged the “Strategic Pause” announced recently by the Board of Forestry– meaning no new harvests have been approved in JDSF in 2022.
Dozens of people gathered in the pullout at the top of the Camp One Access Road, including several youth climate activists who have been organizing in local schools. Midway through the three hour rally, activists and reporters risked arrest by entering the THP to “witness the carnage” left behind by recent logging. They found several cut areas, including a number of large redwoods and douglas fir trees over 100 years of age that had been felled and stacked into log decks close to twice the height of the youth protesters.
The Red Tail Timber Harvest Plan is located in what Calfire calls an “Old Forest Development Area”, which sets a strict limit on what percentage of the overall forest can legally be removed during harvest- a limit that the THP is exceeding. One activist joked: “they should call it an Old Forest Devastation Area.”
Activists are concerned that Calfire is preparing to resume cutting large redwoods in another hotly contested THP: the Caspar 500. Caspar 500 was the site of ongoing nonviolent direct action last summer, including tree sits in massive redwoods known as Mama Tree and the Gemini Tree. Logging began in Caspar on June 10th, and was halted less than two weeks later. It has not yet resumed.
Today’s protest called attention to CalFire’s continued logging despite the “moratorium” on new plans. Forest Defenders pledge to “renew their efforts to raise awareness of the destructive commercial timber harvest practices in the publicly-owned forest. We are determined to achieve a REAL moratorium on all logging in JDSF until the management plan can be updated to reflect Tribal co management and modern climate science.”