Will the Log Jam Break?

December 4, 2006. On the last day of November, a Mendocino County working group released a report that lays out a roadmap for getting Jackson State Forest back into operation in a way that meets the concerns of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest, the Sierra Club, and the local timber industry.

The proposals of the working group offer an opportunity, perhaps the only foreseeable opportunity, to resolve the controversy and conflicts that have halted logging in Jackson State Forest since 2001.

Still needed is for the California Department of Forestry to endorse the proposals and for the Board of Forestry to take the steps necessary to make them official state policy. One hopes that these agencies will have the wisdom to embrace this opportunity.

Vince Taylor
Executive Director

Some excerpts from the cover letter and preface to the group's report provide context for understanding the significance of the the working group's report:

From the Cover Letter

... Over the years our members have been involved in numerous forestry issues from the Grand Accord to County Rules to SB 1648. Historically we have been on opposing sides. This process has been unique in that we have reached consensus on an approach we believe has the potential to get JDSF back under management...

Our approach to moving the management plan process forward is comprised of two phases. Phase one incorporates the guiding principles we have been developing... With the adoption of this first phase and the finalization and certification of the EIR [Environmental Impact Report], timber harvesting can resume on an interim basis...

Phase two will be a concurrent and parallel process. This phase will be highlighted by the re-staffing of JDSF including personnel with a broad range of expertise in addition to silviculture, the appointment of a Jackson Advisory Group, the commencement of landscape-level planning on a broad array of issues and the establishment of a credible and verifiable inventory. Our group anticipates this process will result in a detailed and sustainable long term plan for JDSF. This second phase will develop a plan based on detailed specific information that provides for a consensus-based balancing of ecological values, education, research, recreation, timber production and regional economic stability.

From the Preface

The Jackson Forest Working Group... came together voluntarily, on the membersí own initiative, to see if they could resolve the long-standing differences that have made Jackson Forest a local and state-wide focal point of controversy...

Recent developments appeared to create an opportunity for the working group to make a useful contribution. The newly appointed Director of the California Department of Forestry, Ruben Grijalva, had publicly given his support to making Jackson State into a "world-class research forest" and to seeking a consensus among all parties... Legislation was passed that stopped the former practice of funding a variety of state forestry programs from Jackson Forest logging revenues. The Board of Forestry, which has the responsibility for setting policies for Jackson State, had recently begun developing a new policy alternative focused on research and demonstration, with fish and wildlife habitat, forest ecology, recreation, and education as important values...

The group operated from the beginning on the principle of consensus. We felt that only by coming to a shared viewpoint could the group become an effective force for change... What we sought was to develop a set of unanimously agreed-upon principles to apply to developing a plan and managing the forest.

Once we felt that we were going to succeed in agreeing on management principles, we turned to the more difficult task: setting out a path and process for developing a management plan incorporating our principles, while simultaneously meeting legal and bureaucratic constraints, environmental concerns and providing for near-term timber harvesting (in order to finance building forest staffing, needed forest maintenance, and development of a detailed management plan, and to provide logs to help maintain the viability of the local timber industry).

All of us involved feel that we've come to a workable solution, one that fairly balances timber,  conservation, and recreation interests. We plan to work with the involved state agencies to translate the recommendations into actions.

Working Group Members

Mike Anderson

Anderson Logging Inc.

Kathy Bailey

Sierra Club

Bruce Burton

Willits Redwood Company

Mike Jani

Mendocino Redwood Company

Art Harwood

Harwood Products

Vince Taylor

Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest

Working Group Report