December 18, 2002
About Freshwater Watershed and THP's
Freshwater Watershed, like all forest ecosystems in the Western United states is an area suffering serious ecological damage due to the cumulative impacts of the last 150+ years of logging. before that time, a thriving redwood forest flourished here for twenty million years. The introduction of saws, and trains that carried the ancient giants out of the forest to the mills that suddenly dominated the landscape began a fast and furious downward spiral that led to us to here. Now, with the last remaining remnants of the mature forest clinging to the hillsides, helicopters have been brought in to extract the giants previously protected by their steep and precipitous locations.
In Northern California ancient stands of trees that have been previously protected are now being liquidated based on the reasoning that 90% of the "lesser quality' critical habitat has already been cut down.* The state agencies in charge of caring for the health of our water, forests, and wildlife fall all over themselves in their rush to bow to the timber companies, and pave the way to ecological collapse. While cases go to court, further lawsuits are filed, and important documents shuffled, huge, ancient trees are being cut down every day. Critical, endangered species habitat is eking destroyed in the name of corporate domination over our lives.
Our defense are strengthening here in the Freshwater tree-sits of Humboldt County, California. Eleven of the thirteen tree-sits are in Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 01-451, which is 138 acres laying along side Greenwood Heights Rd. The trees are mainly second growth and third growth, but also includes ancient trees like the massive redwood I’m sitting in. This THP is made up of four units. Unit 1 encompasses 35 acres, and houses the "Lower Village" as a grouping of six tree-sits whose occupants are able to travel from tree to tree along a series of traverse lines set high above the ground. Unit 2 is 32 acre, and is home to the "Upper Village" and the "Upper Upper Village," both of which have walkways and traverse lines set to neighboring trees. Both of these units run along Greenwood Heights Rd.
Greenwood Heights Rd. is a sometimes endless host to residential and commercial traffic. Dump trucks, log trucks, water trucks, and fuel trucks belch and roar like nightmarish little boys toys up and down this steep and windy road. Dump trucks are the most frequent travelers of the industrial rigs, and the possibility that this road will slide after the removal of the trees is a concern voiced by many local residents.
This THP is also called the McCready-Cloney THP, and in the Cloney Gulch of the Coho salmon population has been nearly annihilated in the last 10 years due to the unsustainable increase in logging implemented after the takeover of Pacific Lumber by MAXXAM Corp.
MAXXAM/PL owns 77% of the Freshwater watershed, and neither the corporation or the state agencies consider the health of Freshwater Creek, which has been on the EPA's list of "impaired and degraded waterways" (section 303d of the Clean Water Act) since 1997, when filing and appealing THP's that call for hundreds of acres of clear cuts.
The issue of not taking environmental damage and community suffering in to consideration is not unique to Freshwater. Here we are experiencing a microcosm of the macrocosm. Corporations have staged a hostile takeover of our government, our communities, and our lives. To get it back we must have a clear definition of our values and then live them. We must accept the reality that the responsibility is ours, for personal, social, and environmental solutions.
The responsibility is ours.
* Only three percent of California's ancient trees remain.
December 13, 2002
Riding storms out in Jerry
Toughing out storm 130 feet up a tree feels like an initiation in to something bigger than myself. It is a lesson in surrender. An exercise in faith.
When I first climbed Jerry, the ancient redwood I’m defending, I decided I would not "fear the gear." I would trust the ropes to stay securely tied to the tree and have confidence that my platform would do so as well. So when I found myself riding out the worst storm Humboldt County has seen since 1998, I comforted myself with that decision and remember to breath deeply. Moments of clenched muscles and fear would arise, and I would let it go in a deep exhale, and give myself to the experience. Jerry was really moving, the massive trunk swaying in the high costal winds. It burst butterflies in my stomach. It recalls floating in the protective waters of the womb.
In my practice of letting go, I found great waves of jubilation coming from the tree, in the power to move and be strengthened by this ancient dance of the elements. Powerful rain propelled by unusually high winds freed the darkening green needles from the long summers dust and dry resolve. The storm was a cleansing, sacred bath, and Jerry rejoiced at its promise of renewal.
Great gusts would grab the tarps and threaten to tear them away. I visualized them holding protectively around the 4x8 platform and the ropes it is suspended from. A similar, though less powerful wind storm early in the year had led me to make up a little diddy that I like to sing with a Loretta Lynn Coleminers daughter twang:
"I hope the tarps hold, I hope the tarps hold,
I hope the tarps hold, I hope the tarps hold,
'Cause if they don't
I'm gonna be cold."
(repeated as often as necessary)
This first storm of the year, worse storm in four years, was followed by two days later by a thunder storm, complete with lighting that cracked open the sky. I couldn't be sure at first if the distance rumble was thunder or the increasing militarization of our culture, but the flash of lighting let me know "who's bad," as Michael Jackson would say. I had experienced lighting once before in the first weeks of my tree-sit last spring. But the timing in that storm between the flashes of light and the grumble of thunder was a matter of seconds. On this November morning, their accompaniment was simultaneous and sounded to strike right behind me as I lay reclined back on a soft pile of storm survival necessities. I quickly pushed down the antenna of my radio that was pointing in the direction of nature's primordial display. I attempted to reconcile the fact that I was high in one of ht tallest trees in the area with the lighting striking all around. With sincere reference I gave thanks for the powerful experience, of the opportunity to greet the natural world that I am part of, the world that the dominate culture strives to tame in to a pleasant mono-reason with controllable mono-crops.
As I seek to heal my connection with the Earth in order to better save her, I am honored with the most incredible gifts, the meteor showers views through these ancient branches, on a sunset with the salamanders who live in a hollow haven in Jerry's trunk. As I continue to resist the state sanctioned destruction of our ancient trees and watersheads, I grow closer to the conscious, living world I am defending. It is important to know what you're fighting for as well as what you're fighting against.
December 02, 2002
Taking a stand for the old growth forests
We are engaged in a struggle to preserve the last unprotected old growth trees and wilderness areas that are currently being laid to waste by the corporate industrial complex. We are engaged with our hearts, bodies, and minds in the resistance of the destruction of this Earth, which ultimately will lead to the destructions of ourselves. While MAXXAM Corporation perpetuates it's state sanctioned ecocide to fill Charles Hurwitz's already bloated pockets, we stand together to say we do not approve of the poisoning of our water with herbicides and diesel fuel, we do not approve of the destruction of endangered species habitat, like the Marbled Murrelet nesting area which the state of California has irresponsibly placed on the corporate timber chopping block, and we do not approve of the sale of our children's future, or the quality of our lives to a pompous corporation that has seized Humboldt County like a modern day Al Capone. We will not look in the other direction while corporate timber proceeds with it's forest-into-desert agenda. We will not stand aside, while the real eco-terrorists, in their three piece suits, order devastation of the last of these natural treasures in this abused and hijacked land.
We continue to stand in the way of this systemic injustice in the form of tree-sits, road blocks, law suits, phone calls, public comments, media attention, music, theater, and public outreach until these profit driven companies actually become what they are annually spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in public relations propaganda to convince us that they already are, Which are good stewards of the land and responsible members of this community. Let us continue to remind them of the surefire way of getting we, the people, out of their hair and out of the tree tops:
The pictures and memories of the homes in Stafford, buried up to their roofs in mud, speak for themselves.
- STOP CUTTING THE OLD GROWTH!
- Put an immediate end to clear-cutting
- Stop spraying herbicides! We can not live with poisoned water.
- Stop cutting on steep and unstable slopes.
Continue reading "Taking a stand for the old growth forests"
Posted by Remedy at 08:17 AM
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November 05, 2002
Pacific Lumber arrived about 8:30
Pacific Lumber arrived about 8:30 Tuesday morning and immediately began working it two separate areas. In the first area they began cutting trees in the vacinity of one of the tree-sits, cutting 4-5 trees down. In the second area they went at the small trees with a tractor that did not cut the trees down but merely pushed them over to make way for the logging road they are putting in. The workers would engage in any dialog with the tree-sitters, not bothering to find out if there were any tree-sits they didn't know about.
There were many Humboldt County sheriffs vehicles here, and the keepers of that office appeared to have no problem with PL cutting trees so close to the tree-sits, nor any problem with PL ignoring a judges two-month old order to halt all Pacific Lumber timber operations. They were quite happy, however, to make a couple arrests of non-violent citizens, and handle them roughly in the process. It reminds me of my own comparison of Charles Hurwitz to Al Capone, who had all “authorities” in the city of Chicago in his pocket during prohibition. Hurwitz has accomplished something similar, obviously, as while he lives his cheap millionaires life in Houston, Texas, he’s got a fully equipped army here to ensure that the forest is destroyed and the money keeps coming in. Make no mistake, any profit gained from destroying the forest and integrity of this area of Northern California is being siphoned directly into the pockets of a Texas corporate raider.
One activist, Gibbon, climbed a second growth redwood where they were working to ensure it would remain standing. He called out to me “Hey Remedy, this tree made me climb it!”
Several dump trucks came in to deliver loads of dirt for the logging road they are putting in, which was the majority of the work they did. Dialog occurred between workers and citizens though they went ahead with their work.
There are currently four tree-sits in this unit, which is 38 acres of mainly second growth trees with a couple ancient redwoods that survived previous logging operations. This is the second largest Timber Harvest Plan in Freshwater Watershed, and is an area where the federally listed coho salmon have been nearly annihilated in the last five years due to Pacific Lumber’s negligent logging practices.
Posted by Remedy at 03:01 AM
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November 04, 2002
Wow! Computers in the trees!
Wow! Computers in the trees! It took about 15 minutes for the thing to boot up because it had to scan for any errors due to incorrect shut down. It seems to be sucking the life out of my big battery up here. Maybe a third battery would be appropriate…
Melissa Crabtree and Rachel Garlin, who are traveling in a bio-diesel van, came to play us some music and show support for the tree-sits. They saw Ani play last night, who talked about the tree-sits and dedicated a song to the tree-sitters. Live music at the base of Jerry is so wonderful, and the view as I hang a few feet above them is spectacular, Jerry’s massive roots reaching deep into the Earth create a stage so moving as the 200ft. trees dance. It’s lovely to live in a tree and greet such awesome people like Melissa and Rachel.
It’s November and far sunnier than July. Other than the days being shorter, it feels like summer. It makes me think of the Democracy Now when Amy Goodman talked about global warming, 120degree temperatures in India, massive flooding in Dresden, Germany and Prague. It felt like a horrible futuristic movie, where climate change suddenly became real and detrimental, only yes, it is real.
So many ancient trees have been lost in these past two plus months since Judge Golden put a stay on all Pacific Lumber timber operations, an order that PL has refused to comply with. Residents in the Elk River Watershed reported seeing more old growth being hauled out than they had in years. PL continues at its suicidal million board feet per day while the CA dept. of (de)forestry sits on their hands and "defers to PL on this one."
For eight weeks I watched as PL used weapons of mass destruction on an area of forest that they turned into 22+ acres of clear-cut wasteland. This is in an area where they have nearly annihilated the coho salmon population in just the last five years. For twenty million years an ancient forest flourished here, offering life and shelter to countless living beings. In just under two hundred years, the euro-american value system has killed off the grizzly, the wolf and is working on the marbled murrelet and the last of the giant redwoods, like the one I’m living in.
Susan Moloney has nearly completed one lunar cycle on a hunger strike to encourage Governor Gray Davis to keep his four year old campaign promise to save the last of the ancient trees, which he clearly has not done. He has so far taken no public notice of Susan’s action or the ongoing tree-sits, even in light of the death of a tree-sitter in Santa Cruz last month.
I’m signing off before I loose all my juice!
Posted by Remedy at 02:57 AM
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