May 26: Violence in Mattole Escalates, Lewis Logging Hires People to Attack Protesters
Lewis Logging, based in Fortuna, hired people to attack treesitters in the Mattole on May 26, escalating the violence as the company attempts to begin logging again. A treesit was raided by Pacific Lumber security and Humboldt County sheriffs on May 24; three were arrested. A Mattole activist received a two month jail sentence on May 23. Another received a 30-day sentence and two year probation. That night, people spoke at a Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting, again requesting that a human rights observer be sent to the Mattole Free State.
The Maxxam Shareholder Meeting in Houston was protested in solidarity with Mattole actions on May 25.
In October, the FBI will be on trial for their involvement in the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. A rally in remembrance of the bombing was held at the Oakland Federal Courthouse on May 24. Audio: 1 | 2
May 15: Logging Begins After 161 Days of a Logging Shutdown
On May 6, clear-cutting of old-growth Douglas Firs resumed in Mattole.
Forest activists call out for help and an international convergence with an action training camp planned for May 18-24. MAXXAM Corporation has closed 2 saw mills within the last two weeks as what is suspected as being an attempt to supress and divide workers turning them against forest activists. Activists report threats of violence by logging crews. New SF-IMC telephone updates now available. Check out the new Tree Sit Trailer by Headwaters Action Video Collective.
Direct Actions in the Mattole Halt Maxxam/Palco Clearcuts
April 10, Rainbow Ridge:
Residents and activists in the Mattole, now faced with a Pacific Lumber Co. lawsuit, are maintaining their struggle against logging plans that threaten to level endangered old-growth forests and despoil sensitive watersheds. On April 10, Humboldt County Sheriffs again stormed the Mattole Free State; blockades were dismantled and burned along with plastic tarps, buckets and sleeping bags. One activist had to be jackhammered out of her cemented lockbox to be taken into custody. Three others were run down in the woods by Sheriffs and Fish and Game officials. One of these activists was being chased by a Fish & Game officer when he slid off a cliff, falling 40-50 feet into a creek drainage. He had to be air-lifted out of the area by CDF Fire & Rescue to a hospital in Eureka. X-rays and cat scan revealed no broken bones or internal injuries, only a bruised hip. The three lockdowners arrested on April 5 - Verbana, Osprey and Acorn - were released from custody on April 9 after being charged with tresspassing and resisting arrest. No logging has yet been attempted in the Free State, but law enforcement will likely maintain their position and begin escorting in logging crews. Mattole residents have pledged to keep a presence at the outer gates to slow law enforcement's progress and support the forest defenders remaining in the woods. The free state has been under siege since Tuesday April 3. April 10 Morning and Evening Reports from the Mattole
|April 6: Forest Defenders Rally After Free State Arrests|
State-sanctioned, potentially illegal clearcutting continues in northern California's dwindling old-growth forests, some of the most endangered natural habitat in North America. In the Mattole watershed, roadblocks, treesits, and lawsuits have slowed Maxxam timber harvests significantly since September 2000. Ongoing direct action - and legal action - continues.
The chief culprits of clearcutting in northern California are Pacific Lumber Company (owned by Maxxam), Sierra Pacific Industries, Mendocino Redwood Company (a division of the Fisher family's Gap empire), and the California Dept. of Forestry itself, which approves Timber Harvesting Plans (THPs) after reviewing them for compliance with the Forest Practice Act and other state and federal laws.
29: Residents blockade a Mendocino logging
site with help from poet La Tigresa
Voices of the Mattole Forest Defenders: RealAudio MP3
|April 3-6: Mattole Free State Under Siege|
April 3-6, Rainbow Ridge:
On April 5, Palco/Maxxam security and county sheriffs invaded the Mattole Free State at Rainbow Ridge, where non-violent Forest Defenders are blocking the logging road in defense of 3000 acres of old growth Douglas Fir. Three forest defenders were removed from lockdown and arrested. On April 6, a large contingent of Mattole residents and concerned citizens arose before dawn to blockade all of the gates leading to the timber harvest plan. No law enforcement personnel or timber workers attempted to enter the area. April 5 and April 6 Reports
March 8, Rattlesnake Creek: A new treesit complete with a billboard-sized banner was unveiled on Maxxam/Palco's timber harvesting plan (THP) 1-00-309 along this tributary of the Mattole River. Twelve miles to the northwest at Rainbow Ridge, forest defenders gathered to celebrate the hundredth day of the mass blockade that has halted clearcut logging of old-growth Douglas Fir since November on THP 1-99-475. Full Report from the Mattole
March 5: In a last minute settlement, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Company agreed to pay $3,300,000 to victims of the 1996 Stafford landslide caused by the company's clearcutting practices.
Eureka, Feb 23: Echoing the RWQCB's own scientists, Earth Firsters protested the Waterboard's failure to halt clearcuts on timberlands surrounding five critical watersheds. In a study released last year, the regional staff recommended that logging in these watersheds Cease and Desist. Details
Pacific Lumber Company (Palco) owns over 211,000 acres of Northern California land zoned for commercial timber production. Company headquarters are in Scotia, California, and other sawmills are located in Fortuna and Carlotta; its 1,300 employees make Palco the largest private employer in Humboldt County. In 1986 Palco was the victim of a hostile takeover by Maxxam, Inc., a Houston, Texas holding company also engaged in aluminum production, real estate development, and horse racing. Since the takeover, Maxxam has attempted to quickly recoup its investment by overharvesting Palco's redwood and douglas fir holdings. Clearcuts have impacted the water quality of streams and rivers, dramatically increased the loss of topsoil, and depleted such species as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, western snowy plover, bank swallow, chinook salmon, coho salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, steelhead trout, California red tree vole, Pacific fisher, California black bear, northwestern pond turtle, southern torrent salamander, red-legged frog, tailed frog, and foothill yellow-legged frog.
Maxxam Logging In The Mattole
|Feb 2001: Actions and Arrests in Mattole|
County Sheriffs pick off douglas fir defender
Sheriffs search activists in state park
Naomi is arrested after leading law enforcement away from fall zone
Sheriffs escort loggers into THP 309
Mattole defenders keep warm while waiting for loggers to arrive
Although Palco signed agreements in 1999 to preserve parts of the Headwaters Forest, it has since applied for permits to decimate its remaining old-growth and second-growth holdings in the Mattole River watershed. Five of the eight Rainbow Ridge (see map) Timber Harvesting Plans (THPs) have been approved by the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF). The health of vast expanses of forest and miles of sensitive riverine habitat is now more threatened than ever before. But the last few months haven't been all smooth-sailing for Maxxam/Palco executives. Local residents and activists are outraged that the company has shifted from sustainable practices to destructive clearcut production in hopes of maximizing its short-term profits. Now that Maxxam/Palco has locked out union sawmill employees and raided pension funds, becoming "one of the most worker unfriendly companies in the world" (according to the Timber Workers Industrial Union), a new alliance of environmentalists, labor unions, and concerned local residents has taken action.
Mattole Free State
Since November 2000, a citizens' blockade known as the the "Mattole Free State" has prevented Maxxam/Palco from logging old-growth douglas fir on Rainbow Ridge. The Mattole Forest Defenders include many local residents as well as activists and students; some are permanently stationed at critical locations in the forest and on logging roads, while others travel in and out of the forest ferrying supplies and providing logistical support. Maxxam's choice to not challenge the blockade and the near constant presence of 30 nonviolent Forest Defenders in the wood has effectively shut down their operations for 12 weeks, a Humboldt County blockading record. It was on November 28th that Maxxam/Palco last sent in Columbia helicopter loggers accompanied by Humboldt County Sheriffs to log old-growth douglas fir in the Mattole. Since then Mattole Forest Defenders have moved almost 2 miles up Long Ridge to create the Mattole Free State, a blockade complete with several lock downs, a junked car, a wall of debris and a hanging pod across the road. Forest Defenders have endured some of the harshest Humboldt County winter weather seen in years.
|Jan 2001: Mattole Free State on Rainbow Ridge|
"Dragon" lockdown at the entrance to the Free State
Second lockdown structure on logging road
Any vehicle attempting to drive past "the Spatula" would send it, and its occupants, crashing to the ground
Marked trees face the axe
Preserving old growth hasn't exactly been a priority of state authorities like the CDF
Rattlesnake Creek Actions
During the week of February 5th through 9th, the Mattole Forest Defenders defended another Mattole plan along Rattlesnake creek. THP 309 is in the lower north fork of the Mattole, about 12 miles from the Mattole Free State blockade and Long Ridge Area. Mattole Forest Defenders confronted Maxxam/Palco-hired Columbia logging crews three days in one week, halting logging until almost noon each of those days. Four activists were arrested over the week while shadowing timber fallers as they attempted to cut trees. THP 309 is 63 acres in size and calls for clearcutting and selection of second-growth douglas fir forest and 15 acres of old-growth douglas fir. Rattlesnake Creek is directly adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and logging crews parked within the state park to hike to the units which in some cases are only 200ft from the county road. THP 309 was opposed by a number of community groups for its lack of proper cumulative impact analysis on the effects on late successional forest and threatened Mattole fisheries. No watershed analysis was conducted by Maxxam in the Mattole before THP 309 and four other THPs in North Fork of the Mattole were approved. It's another example of clearcutting in unstable areas and targeting pockets of old-growth left on Maxxam holdings.
"Hole In Headwaters" Logging Plan Approval by CDF
According to the Mattole Forest Defenders, THP 520, the so-called "Hole In Headwaters" plan, could be approved at any time; CDF has been silent on the issue since public comment closed on Jan 11. This present incarnation of THP 520 was in direct response to the EPIC/Sierra Club lawsuit which was granted an injunction on logging last July and is set to go to trial in March. Palco has also filed five new logging plans (THPs 1-00-352, 1-00-387, 1-00-388, 1-00-448 & 1-00-452) that span both sides of the South Fork Elk River and total nearly 700 acres of mature second growth forest. The land inside the "Hole" and across the river from it, some 7,000 acres of forest, were traded to Maxxam/Palco as part of the Headwaters "Deal." This 7,000 acres of forest was identified in the state law that funded the "Deal" as a priority for acquisition with whatever funds remain after the purchase of Owl Creek, for which $80 million was allocated. The state just announced that it is buying Owl Creek for $67 million, potentially leaving $13 million for this acquisition. These new logging plans pose a serious threat not only to the proposed acquisition area, but also to the biological integrity of the Headwaters Reserve itself. New logging on the South Fork Elk River (except on THP 97-520) is currently constrained by a so-called "moratorium" that was imposed by the CDF in January 1998. This moratorium requires additional information on aggravated flooding and public safety concerns for downstream Elk River residents. However, in nearby Freshwater Creek, the same so-called "moratorium" has been lifted under a substantially weaker standard than that originally imposed by CDF.
You can try to make your voice heard in Sacramento by calling or writing Governor Gray Davis. See the latest Mattole update for Maxxam and Palco CEO contact info, as well as a long list of essential supplies needed by the Forest Defenders.
Local Organizations and Media
photos and streaming videos
Maxxam Background Info
Maxxam Board of Directors
named one of the worst by Fortune
In response to the approval of potentially devastating Timber Harvesting
Plans (THPs), activists and residents organize ongoing blockades that keep
loggers out of the Mattole|
November: Forest Defenders block the entrance to Rainbow Ridge
December: Locked down in a junked car on the logging road
November: Local residents stage an early morning blockade
Protesters Demand an End to Clearcutting by SPI
On Feb 18, Earth First! activists and Humboldt State University students rallied at a Sierra Pacific mill outside of Arcata. Article
Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), with 1.5 million acres of timberland in California, is the largest private timberland holder in North America and the second largest landowner in the US. Pacific Lumber Company/Maxxam has long been the scapegoat of the California timber companies. Recently though, SPI has come under increasing scrutiny - with good reason. SPI's use of clearcutting, one of the more environmentally harmful logging techniques, surged from 2,000 acres in 1996 to 23,823 acres in 1999.
Direct Action vs. Gap/Mendocino Redwood Co.
California Forestry Links
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Last updated Fri Jun 1 01:36:10 PDT 2001