A timber harvesting plan at the exclusive Bohemian Club's Monte Rio retreat has been approved by the state, ending three years of controversy.
The San Francisco-based club said that no old growth redwoods will be among the trees that are removed through 2016. The intent is cut tan oak and thin Douglas fir trees to protect a stand of old growth redwoods from fire danger.
"We will remove the tan oak and thin the Douglas fir that is prevalent there, so if there is a fire, it won't sweep through the grove and impact the old growth redwoods the club treasures," Bohemian Club spokesman Sam Singer said Wednesday.
While some young redwoods would be felled, redwood seedlings would be planted where any tree is taken out, he said.
Some critics called the promise to protect the old growth redwoods a positive step, but said there still are patches in stands outside of the two main groves that could be at risk.
"Although two of the major stands we forced them to protect," there are a number of old growth patches and stands in which the protection is not as clearly defined, said John Hooper of the Bohemian Redwoods Rescue Club, Forest Unlimited. "A lot of mistakes happen on the ground."
Some of the redwoods that don't meet the old growth criteria may be 110 years old, Hooper said.
Other opponents said the plan still allows too much logging.
"We are displeased they approved the plan, we think the rate of harvesting is still too high," said Jay Halcomb of the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter. "It is unjustifiable over-logging."
Halcomb said the redwood grove rivals that of the Armstrong Grove State Park in Guerneville.