|Byline: Mike Geniella
The Press Democrat
Published on August 16, 2003
© 2003- The Press Democrat
Vince Taylor, a Mendocino Coast activist who has led a high-profile
campaign to stop commercial logging in Jackson State Forest, has admitted
violating state timber harvest rules by illegally cutting down trees to
make way for a new home.
State officials said Taylor's illegal logging operation last year was
on private property in a zone protected by the California Coastal Act. The
tree cutting created potential harm to the habitat of the red tree vole
and coast lily, ``two species of special concern,'' according to the
To settle a pending enforcement action by the state Department of
Forestry, Taylor stipulated that he violated state laws governing timber
cutting operations. In return, the state agency dropped plans to impose a
$3,000 fine on Taylor.
Taylor also agreed to pay his own legal costs incurred during
months-long negotiations with state officials to resolve the case. It
stems from a 2002 tree-cutting operation on property Taylor owns near the
town of Mendocino on Little Lake Road.
State foresters said Taylor failed to obtain a state permit to convert
land zoned for timber production to a non-timber growing use. He also
failed to submit a timber harvest plan for state approval, according to
Taylor said Friday he ``inadvertently'' violated state law. He said he
believed, based on conversations with county planning staff, that because
he intended to remove fewer than 15 trees greater than 12 inches in
diameter, he wasn't required to obtain the state permits.
Taylor said the trees were cut by a licensed timber operator, and that
all the timber cut was for his own personal use.
``Because of what's involved, I know a lot of people want to make more
out of this,'' said Taylor. ``But really, it was an inadvertent violation
of the law.''
``There was no real harm done,'' he said.
The settlement was signed June 20 by Taylor, and two weeks later by
Andrea Tuttle, state director of forestry. As part of the deal, the state
agency agreed not to release news of the deal unless otherwise asked.
State forestry spokesman Louis Blumberg confirmed the agreement had
been reached, but he declined Friday to discuss any of its terms.
A copy of the agreement and supporting documents show that Taylor
originally faced a $3,000 civil penalty for violating state timber laws.
Taylor is executive director of the Caspar-based Campaign to Restore
Jackson State Forest. The organization has waged a contentious two-year
campaign in the courts and before state agencies to curtail commercial
logging operations in the state forest.
Jackson State was established in the 1940s by the Legislature to be a
working forest dedicated to research, education and the demonstration of
sustainable forestry practices. Over the years, it has become the
best-stocked timberland on the North Coast and a significant provider of
logs to local mills.
But a successful legal challenge to long-term state management plans
for Jackson was filed by Taylor's group, resulting last month in the
blocking of a $7 million timber harvest deal with two Mendocino County
At the time, Taylor said state forestry officials' attempt to move
ahead with the disputed logging operations was ``not reason enough to
ignore legally mandated environmental protection for the public forest.''
You can reach Staff Writer Mike Geniella at 462-6470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keywords: TIMBER ENVIRONMENT SETTLEMENT