Bill to Reform Management at Jackson Forest
The 50,000 acre Jackson Demonstration
State Forest (JDSF) near Ft. Bragg is, by far, the largest publicly owned
forest in the redwood region from Mendocino County to the Bay Area. About
10,000 acres are groves around 100 years old, some of the last old
redwoods in a region that has been stripped of old forest by industrial
Managed by the California Department of Forestry (CDF), Jackson has
been the focus of protests and calls for reform since at least 1996.
Litigation by the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest
recently forced CDF to update Jackson’s Management Plan, its first update
CDF received 4800 comments asking that the forest be preserved for
habitat, recreation, and education and only 49 in favor of CDF’s plan.
Despite this overwhelming public outcry, CDF and the Board of Forestry
approved a new Management Plan that designates most of Jackson’s oldest
forest groves for commercial logging, would
clearcut one-half of the forest under the misleading guise of "variable
retention," and adopts streamside measure that are much less protective
than the recommendations of federal agencies for the region.
In response, Sierra Club has drafted reform legislation. Senator Wes
Chesbro, who represents the district where Jackson is located,
has been asked to carry the bill. So far,
Senator Chesbro has not made a commitment.
Here’s what the legislation would require at Jackson:
- Logging in groves over 80 years old would be limited to operations
consistent with development of late seral (old-growth
- Clearcutting, defined as the removal of more than 70% of the timber
volume per acre would be prohibited.
- The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Salmonid Conservation
Measures would be applied to a major watershed
- The 5,426-acre Mendocino Woodlands
Recreation Demonstration Area would be managed for late seral (old
forest) development. This area surrounds a state park.
- An inter-agency technical advisory committee would be established.
- A 9-person citizen’s advisory committee would be appointed by the
Secretary of Resources, including a wildlife biologist, fisheries
biologist, geologist, representative of the visitor serving community,
and three members of the general public nominated by elected
representatives. The committee would have a majority of members without
a financial interest in the timber industry and the majority would also
come from Mendocino County.