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Sherwood Valley Rancheria reiterates opposition to Willits bypass

The Sherwood Valley Rancheria is requesting the retraction of a statement in a letter from Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty which listed the tribe as a supporter of the controversial Willits bypass.

Dougherty sent the letter March 20 to state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, in response to a letter Evans had sent to Caltrans over bypass concerns.

The Rancheria does not support the bypass, said tribe Chairman Michael Fitzgerald. The bypass runs through Little Lake Valley, which is aboriginal land, Fitzgerald said.

The tribe wasn't directly consulted by Caltrans over the bypass, although Caltrans has consulted with the tribe on a different project, Fitzgerald said.

The tribe will advocate for a cultural resource specialist to be present during construction. The bypass site could run through Pomo archeological sites, Fitzgerald said.

The tribe will meet with Caltrans April 25.

Caltrans officials were unavailable for comment Monday.


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