March, 2006. The opposition to the
timber-focused management of Jackson State Forest continues to mount. The
revised Environmental Impact Report generated a flood of public
opposition to the proposed management plan. Experts, agencies, and
elected officials all criticized proposed plans for the largest
state-owned forest and the only publicly owned redwood forest in
The California Department of Forestry,
CDF, began in the early 1990's to use Jackson Forest as a "cash cow" to
fund its state forestry programs, neglecting everything about the forest
except "getting out the cut." Citizen opposition to cutting the oldest
and best remaining forest in Mendocino County began in 1995. It has been
growing ever since.
CDF refused all requests for even
modest changes in its management. Finally, in 2001 the Campaign to
Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest took them to court, and has taken
them back to court repeatedly since that time.
The first court ordered a new
management plan. CDF responded in 2002 with a plan that insulted the
public. It was a bigger and worse logging plan than the previous one.
Thirty percent of the forest would have big clearcuts, and another 20
percent small clearcuts. Restoration and recreation were totally ignored.
In its haste to get back to logging,
CDF cobbled together a fatally deficient Environmental Impact Report for
the proposed plan. Nearly 5,000 people protested the proposed plan. In
2003, the court ruled the environmental plan invalid.
In 2004, Mendocino County's Senator
Wesley Chesbro introduced a bill (SB 1648) to reform management of state
forests in general and Jackson State Forest in particular. This
compromise legislation, which balanced environmental concerns with
industry's desire to see timber harvesting continue, passed both houses
of the state legislature. On the recommendation of the forestry
department, the governor vetoed it.
It took over two years to revise the
defective environmental document. The resulting document is so huge and
poorly organized that it would probably sink in court of its own weight.
But more devastating to the state's hope of resuming logging soon,
conclusively in my comment
that the inventory estimates used in the management plan and EIR are
so greatly in error that
the management plan and environmental report
are invalid. I have no doubt the court will
concur with my findings.
Elected bodies and legislators,
environmental organizations, and the public are all asking that
management of Jackson Forest be brought into the present century
and reflect current concerns. Most are asking for only modest reforms
that would continue timber harvesting, but at a reduced level compatible
with the preserving and restoring wildlife and fish habitat.
The forces for reform are growing
stronger every year, but to date the California Department of Forestry
has resisted all calls to respond to the public's desires for its forest.
Logging has been stopped in Jackson Forest for five years
and counting. The trees are growing, but critical road maintenance and
repair is suffering, research and recreation are on hold, and no money is
going to the state. Everyone other than the forestry department is
seeking an acceptable way to put the forest back in operation.
"California Department of Forestry, Wake up!"
Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest