Ft. Bragg, CA.
Six forest activists were arrested early Monday morning in the course of a nonviolent direct action that shut down logging for the day in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF). Activists blocked all entrances to timber harvest plan (THP) 1-19-00224-MEN, known as Red Tail, keeping out logging crews from several private companies working under contract with Calfire, the agency in charge of JDSF. The three men and three women were cited for “trespass” and “false imprisonment”, given a court date, and released on site.
These were the first arrests since the nonstop protests erupted in JDSF in April 2021, including tree-sits, frequent gate blockades, and work stoppages on active logging sites. However, until now Calfire has declined to arrest forest defenders. Monday, however, the loggers initiated four ‘citizens’ arrests’ at the gate. Two more arrests were made by Calfire on a road inside the THP. The activists had refused orders to move away from the gate because the loggers had refused to identify themselves. When Calfire officers Comer and Dudley arrived, they took over and performed the actual arrests requested by the loggers and security personnel.
During the standoff at the gate Paul Turret, owner of the private security force went on a racist triad, blaming the Pomo for the sorry state of the environment.
A man later identified as Richard M. Hautala sexually harassed one of the activists he wanted arrested with an extremely offensive remark. The incident was captured on video and shown to the Calfire officers. The loggers’ claim of being “falsely imprisoned” by a line of people holding a banner in front of an open gate seemed suspect, given that the loggers could have reversed and exited in the same direction they had come in from. The trespass charge is ambiguous, since Jackson is public land, belonging to The people of California.
“We’re losing our second growth redwoods at an alarming rate”, said one arrestee. Old growth and Second Growth redwoods require specific types of management under California Forest Practice Rules. The 345 acre Red Tail plan, containing mostly Second Growth left standing around a few old growth trees, is supposed to be managed as an “Older Forest Development Area”, for such characteristics as large old trees, snags and “down wood” from naturally fallen trees. Yet, forest protectors on the ground report almost every large tree is marked for cut, with many already felled.
Activists held a support rally with signs along the highway calling on Calfire to “Stop Logging our Future” and “Respect Indigenous Rights”. The Coalition to Save Jackson Forest, an alliance led by the Coyote Band of Pomo Indians, including environmental and legal groups E.P.I.C. (Environmental Protection and Information Center), The Mendocino Trail Stewards, Friends of Jackson Forest and Redwood Nation Earth First! is amplifying its call for a moratorium on logging in Jackson until the outdated Management Plan and Mission Statement are reworked to address climate change and protect Indigenous rights. Jackson is the ancestral home of the Pomo Tribes as recently recognized in a Resolution by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Governor Newsom has issued a Directive to all State Lands agencies to begin practicing co-management with the California Tribes.
In response to mounting demands for a moratorium, State Assemblyman Jim Woods stated in a Sept. 20, 2021 letter to Coyote Valley Tribal Chair Michael Hunter that he “agrees that until these policies have been reviewed and changes made, no new timber harvest plans should be considered… but the plans that were developed under current guidelines should not be halted unless they do not meet current law”.
Assemblyman Jim Wood letter: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tAwivxyisj0AUTcfnEdPTN_h8RFm_ozy/view?usp=sharing