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Critics of Jackson Forest logging to hold rally; warn of potential civil disobedience when logging resumes

Community, environmental and tribal activists opposed to renewed logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest plan to rally in the forest Sunday and warn of potential civil disobedience in the future.

The notice comes in response to a Cal Fire announcement that tree cutting would resume as early as this week on at least one of four incomplete timber harvest plans in the Mendocino County forest. Those plans were recently revised to halt removal of the largest trees.

The return of logging crews ends an eight-month pause on tree removal that allowed state officials to start rethinking priorities for the nearly 50,000-acre forest and begin negotiations with local tribes that are seeking co-management rights.

But critics say it’s still too soon to end the pause. They argue that ideas floated in a “vision statement” released last week don’t amount to the updated forest management plan demanded by advocates and promised by Cal Fire.

“Redwood forests have amazing climate mitigation potential, and management needs to maximize that potential,” said Sara Rose, a member of Mendocino County Youth for Climate, who has been on the front lines of the fight to halt logging in the forest and change the forest’s future.

“My generation will have to live with what the planet becomes if we don’t save it,” she said. “We have to face the reality of climate change.”

Michael Hunter, tribal chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, became engaged in discussions with Cal Fire and California Natural Resource Agency representatives about six months ago under an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraging co-management of public lands with California tribes.

He was stunned to learn Wednesday that logging was about to resume.

“The state still does not understand that there is a difference between co-management and tribal consultation,” Hunter said Thursday. “Tribes must not be relegated to an advisory role in managing their ancestral lands. For co-management to succeed, it must be a government-to-government relationship that creates equal decision-making power.”

“Cal Fire appears intent on burning bridges,” said Matt Simmons, staff attorney with the Arcata-based Environmental Protection Information Center in a news release. “The ‘pause’ in operations made community input and tribal negotiations possible. Now, any progress or goodwill has been shattered.

“We call on Cal Fire not to resume logging until they have a new Management Plan,” Simmons said.

Sunday’s rally is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. at the “Caspar Scales” and trailhead on Road 500.

More information is available at Mama Tree Mendo on Facebook and Instagram.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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