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March 20, 2002 Press Release

Campaign: Vince Taylor (707) 937-3001

Legal: Paul Carroll (650) 322-5652

State Agrees to Logging Halt in Jackson State Forest

March 20, Ukiah. The California Department of Forestry has agreed to halt all logging in Jackson State Forest until a new management plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are approved. This is the key provision of an agreement settling a lawsuit against the California Department of Forestry (CDF) and the California Board of Forestry filed by the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest in June 2000. The settlement follows a Preliminary Injunction issued in May 2001 that prohibited CDF from approving any new timber operations in Jackson State Forest.

Commenting on the settlement, Dr. Vince Taylor, Executive Director of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest said, "This agreement is a victory for the people of California who own Jackson State Forest. Until halted by our lawsuit, CDF was illegally logging this publicly owned 50,000-acre redwood forest under a management plan that expired in 1993. CDF ignored numerous requests, starting in 1995, to halt logging until it updated its management plan to reflect current science and environmental factors. Until stopped, CDF was systematically destroying the oldest and ecologically most valuable forest stands by large-scale commercial logging."

Dr. Taylor concluded, "Thank God for our courts. They have forced CDF and the Board of Forestry to follow the law. The people of California, who own the forest, will now have a say in its future."

The settlement also ends to an abortive attempt by CDF and the Board of Forestry to nullify the lawsuit. After the court issued its preliminary injunction against further logging, CDF and the Board cooperated to hastily revise Board of Forestry policies on state forests. A July 2001 amendment removed the requirement that forest operations be conducted under a "current management plan", the key provision cited by the court in issuing its injunction. After the amendment, CDF announced its intention to ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Rather than succeeding, the attempt to evade the law and the court added further to the state’s legal problems. The Campaign’s lawyer, Paul Carroll provided CDF and the Board with case law showing that the Board amendment was illegal because it didn’t follow procedures mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Evidently CDF and the Board agreed with the Mr. Carroll, because when Judge Richard Henderson brought lawyers for all parties together for a settlement conference in August 2001, they agreed to the halt in logging contained in the settlement. In return they asked for and received the Campaign’s agreement not to sue the Board over its hasty policy change, thereby avoiding another probable court embarrassment.

A resumption of logging in Jackson State Forest must wait until a new management plan and related Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are approved. CDF released an initial draft management plan in May 2001. A draft EIR has still not been released. CDF says it will be released in April. Strict requirements for the content of the EIR and process for approval are set out in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It is uncertain whether this process can be completed in time for any logging to take place in Jackson State Forest this year.

Past revenues from Jackson State Forest have funded a variety of forestry-related programs, including subsidies to private timberland owners and programs that deal with the environmental impacts of private logging. The 2001 injunction forced CDF to curtail some of these programs and to borrow money from the state general fund for others. If no revenue from Jackson State is available this year, the state will need to find other means of paying for the forestry programs, some of which are politically popular. Commenting on this consequence of the Campaign’s lawsuit, Dr. Taylor said, "Jackson State ought not to be logged to pay for forestry programs properly paid for by the timber industry. Hopefully, the state will now change the financing of its forestry programs and use funds generated from any new logging to repair the damage done to Jackson State by the state’s past fifty years of commercial logging.

According to Campaign spokesperson Vince Taylor, the suit that resulted in the settlement is part of an effort to get the state to restore Jackson Forest to an old growth redwood forest. "The 50,000 acres of Jackson Forest constitute an island of public land in the midst of a half-million acres of industrially owned, devastated timberland. Jackson State Forest is the only possible large sanctuary in Mendocino County for salmon and other endangered redwood-related species. It should also be a recreation haven for the millions of people who live in the Bay Area and Central Valley. The state ought to be restoring Jackson State Forest for its precious ecological and recreational values, not logging it like another big industrial company."

 legal briefs

Background Information

The Lawsuits

The suit filed in Mendocino County Superior Court in June 2000 charged that the state’s current logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest is illegal. Regulations of the State Board of Forestry require that all logging in Jackson Forest be done under a "current management plan." The management plan was last revised 1983 and is now eight years past its 1992 revision deadline.

The Campaign’s case asks the court to stop all logging in JDSF until CDF prepares and implements a new management plan, Mendocino Superior Court number SCUKCVG '0083611, Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest et. al. v. CDF and California Board of Forestry. It was filed June 12, 2000 and is scheduled to come to trial in the summer of 2001.

The case to invalidate the approval of the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) to log Brandon Gulch is Mendocino Superior Court number SCUKCVG '0084903, Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest et. al. v. CDF. It was filed December 19, 2000 and has been consolidated with Case 83611.

A Temporary Restraining Order was issued on May 4 and a Preliminary Injunction on May 18, 2001.

A settlement between the parties was filed with the Superior Court of Mendocino County on March 20, 2002

Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is the formal name of Jackson State Forest. It is public land owned by the people of California and managed for their benefit by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

  • Jackson State is a 50,000-acre redwood forest containing more than 100 miles of perennial, salmon-bearing streams. Almost 10,000 acres now threatened with logging haven’t been cut since the initial harvest almost 100 years ago.
  • It is located in Mendocino County, 4 hours from the Bay Area and Sacramento.
  • It lies between the tourist destinations of Mendocino and Fort Bragg on the Pacific Coast and reaches twenty miles eastward to the edges of the inland valleys near Highway 101.
  • CDF-approved logging in Jackson Forest takes an average of 29 million board feet of lumber every year, enough to build a foot-wide path from Mendocino to Paris.

The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest

The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest was founded in January 2000 by concerned local citizens. Its mission is to change the mission of Jackson State from large-scale logging to restoring the forest to old growth for recreation, habitat, research and education.

The need for a restored redwood forest has increased enormously since Jackson State Forest was acquired in 1947 to demonstrate that second-growth redwood could be logged profitably. This has now been amply proven. Meanwhile California’s population has tripled, open spaces have been consumed by suburban sprawl, and the once-vast forests destroyed by logging. People, plants, animals and fish would all benefit greatly from a restored Jackson State Redwood Forest.

The attorney representing the Campaign is Menlo Park lawyer Paul V. Carroll, (650) 322-5652.