Ukiah Daily Journal
Jackson forest bill
Monday, July 05,
The Daily Journal
State Sen. Wes Chesbro's (D-Arcata) SB1648,
changing the mission of Jackson Demonstration State Forest has been
passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a 7-2 vote.
SB 1648 would, for the first time, require
California to manage JDSF for sustainable timber production, but also
restore the habitat, watershed, and recreation value of the forest.
The measure would also prohibit the logging of old growth trees.
"The Jackson Demonstration Forest is an
important resource for Mendocino County," said Chesbro. "My goal has
always been to end the gridlock and lawsuits at Jackson Demonstration
Forest. I am working with all of the stakeholders to reach a consensus
that will allow for forest resource management and sustainable timber
The bill now focuses on demonstrations and
scientifically-designed studies regarding forest resource management,
timber harvest production, maintenance and restoration of forest land
resources, education recreation, and public enjoyment. SB 1648 would
prohibit the clear cutting and the cutting of old growth timber.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection and others in the local timber industry do not smile on
this bill, however, as they see it as another regulatory hurdle.
Logging in JDSF has already been brought to a
standstill by successful environmentalist lawsuits. Had the logging
been allowed to proceed as planned, timber would have surpassed the
floundering winegrape production as the number-one industry for 2003
in Mendocino County, taking back the crown it lost in 2002.
The Jackson Demonstration State Forest is 50,000
acres of forest lands that were heavily logged by commercial timber
operations in the early part of the last century and then acquired by
the state to restore. Of the eight California State forests, JDSF is
the largest and most controversial.
SB 1648 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations
Committee where it will be heard next.