Activists rallied outside Ten Mile Superior Court yesterday to support four of six forest defenders who were “citizen arrested” on Jan. 10th in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) while protesting a timber harvest plan (THP) called Red Tail. The activists say the Old Growth Management Plan designated for the area has not been followed.
None of the arrestees present today were arraigned because no charges had been filed against them yet, according to their attorney, Don Lippmanson, who is representing all six defendants. The four cases were continued to February 22nd and combined with two more activists, independently cited by CalFire during the same protest. There will be a follow up Rally.
The arrests on January 10th were the first since protests began in April 2021. CalFire has been conspicuously absent from the protests and confrontations in the woods when nonviolent activists willingly risk arrest by blocking gates, tree sitting and putting their bodies between the loggers and the trees. One of the arrestees has been asking “Where is CalFire?” For months, a legitimate CalFire safety officer has not been present at some very unsafe situations, as activists nonviolently confronted loggers in an effort to protect the trees and save JDSF from CalFire’s mismanagement.
Paul Trouette, so-called “Safety Officer”, president and owner of Lear Assets, appeared to orchestrate the arrests. Activists say Trouette is notorious for his dangerous, aggressive and provocative behavior towards them. Forest defenders insist he is, in fact, Private Security, which is illegal on State lands and against CalFire’s own policies.
Another activist who was “citizen arrested” by Richard Hautala, co-owner of H&M Logging, was there to do a rally and didn’t intend to block the road or get arrested. She said, “Without Cal Fire overseeing the interactions between activists and loggers, and instead using the dubious services of Lear Assets, it is becoming dangerous, like a scene from the Wild West. Activists have been trained in nonviolence, but loggers have not.” Hautala sexually harassed her before making the citizen’s arrest, assisted by Trouette.
As to why she and so many others would take the risk of arrest, she explained, “None of us would be engaged in civil disobedience … if we didn’t feel the stakes were too high to wait for legislators to protect the forest. The Tribes have waited too long already and our Youth don’t have time to wait because climate change is happening now”. JDSF is on the ancestral territory of the Pomo and Northern Yuki Tribes. The Coalition to Save Jackson Forest is demanding a FULL moratorium on all logging related activities to honor the transition to co-management with the Tribes, as directed by Governor Newsom.
Logging is not occurring in JDSF currently, thanks in part to a one year hiatus on new Timber Sales, and in part to the start of Spotted Owl Nesting Season. Logging is expected to start up again in the Caspar 500 THP in April, despite ongoing community outcry.