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Santa Rosa Press Democrat Coverage of the Preliminary Injunction Against Further Logging in Jackson State Forest

Article of May 22, Mike Giniella
CDF Response to Injunction, May 24, Mike Giniella
Campaign Response to CDF, May 28, Vince Taylor

Judge blocks logging projects

Outdated management practices at
Jackson State Demonstration Forest cited

May 22, 2001


UKIAH -- Citing outdated management practices at Jackson State Demonstration Forest, a Mendocino County judge has blocked the California Department of Forestry from proceeding with two disputed logging operations in the 50,000-acre forest.

Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson's ruling released Monday is a setback for CDF, the state agency responsible for monitoring timber harvest practices on private timberlands. The agency depends on the logging revenue from Jackson State forest, estimated to be as high as $10 million in some years, to subsidize its review of timber-cutting practices in privately owned forests.

While Henderson's ruling specifically applies only to the two state plans in dispute, representatives for the state agency said Monday it could hold up further logging in the largest state forest until a newly drafted long-term management plan can be reviewed and adopted by the state Board of Forestry.

"It's unclear how we are going to proceed," said Helge Eng, a state forestry spokesman in Sacramento. Eng said the newly drafted management plan, if eventually adopted, would allow some logging to continue in a forest that the state has used for research and to demonstrate sustainable logging practices.

Acquired in 1947, the swath of cut-over commercial timberland has been restored under state ownership to a forest with the highest volume of standing timber on the North Coast.

"Indeed, because of our conservative management practices, Jackson State now contains the thick, second-growth timber stands our critics seek to protect," said Eng. He said the state has always followed a practice in the forest of growing more timber than it cuts.

But Henderson agreed with contentions of some coastal residents who are fighting to limit state logging in the forest that the existing management plan, first implemented in 1984, is inadequate by today's forestry standards.

"Even a casual review of the plan reveals that the conditions on which it was developed 18 years ago have changed dramatically," said Henderson. In addition, Henderson said the state's existing management practices have not kept pace with developments in science and technology that have occurred in the intervening years.

Henderson said even though the state claimed it would lose substantial revenue needed to support enforcement of private timberland practices, "the interim harm resulting from the harvesting operations could be substantial and possible irreparable."

Palo Alto attorney Paul Carroll, who represented the North Coast-based organization called "Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest," on Monday hailed Henderson's ruling. "The court has now said the state can no longer ignore its own laws," said Carroll.

Vince Taylor, an organizer of the citizen group, said Henderson's ruling gives new impetus to the group's larger effort to "restore Jackson Forest to an old-growth redwood forest."

You can reach Staff Writer Mike Geniella at 462-6578 or e-mail

Injunction threatens forestry programs

Logging ban in Mendocino's Jackson
Forest will eliminate state timber sales revenue

May 24, 2001

State forestry officials warned Tuesday that a broad range of research programs, including North Coast watershed and salmon studies, are in jeopardy because of a court injunction blocking logging in Jackson State Demonstration Forest.

Revenue from two planned state timber sales was to cover 42 percent of the state Department of Forestry's proposed $17.4 million budget for forest improvement programs next year, according to department spokesman Louis Blumberg.

"If the court injunction isn't lifted, our operations in critical areas will be significantly curtailed," Blumberg said.

State forestry officials were jarred Monday by a Mendocino County judge's decision to bar logging in the 50,000-acre state forest pending outcome of the trial of a lawsuit brought by a local citizens group. Judge Richard Henderson agreed with the group's complaints that a mandated management plan for the forest was seriously outdated and failed to take into account the latest developments in science and technology.

In issuing his ruling, Henderson said he was aware of the potential effects from the loss of logging revenue on state forestry programs. But Henderson said the interim harm resulting from allowing the logging to proceed "could be substantial and possible irreparable."

Affected programs include state assistance to private timberland owners, management of all state forests, the operation of state tree nurseries and a plethora of watershed initiatives, said Blumberg.

He said another $1.1 million has been targeted for North Coast watershed studies, $378,000 earmarked for watershed salmon restoration projects, and $1.2 million aimed at research on tree pests, including sudden oak death syndrome, a fatal disease that is killing oak trees in a number of North Coast counties.

"These are projects that are aimed at improving the environment," said Blumberg.

Blumberg also took exception to the contention that the state agency responsible for monitoring timber-cutting practices on private timberlands is using outmoded logging practices on publicly owned lands.

"We've been in the forefront of forest research. That's specifically what Jackson State Forest is about," Blumberg said.

Legislation enacted in the late 1940s allowed the CDF to acquire cut-over corporate timberland and create a state demonstration forest. Blumberg said the law mandates the agency conduct timber production for commercial purposes and research on timber-growing techniques in the forest.

"Because of our conservation practices, Jackson State is one of the best-stocked forests anywhere. But it's a working forest. It isn't supposed to be a park," Blumberg said.

The Mendocino Coast citizens' group, called "Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest," wants to curb state timber sales and shift focus of management practices to recreation, wildlife and fisheries habitat and education. It seeks a permanent ban on logging of all mature second-growth timber within the forest boundaries.

You can reach Staff Writer Mike Geniella at 462-6470,or e-mail mgeniella@pressdemocrat.com.