Youth Lead March to CalFire Meeting Ft. Bragg — Elders Disrupt, Shut It Down
press release from Redwood Nation Earth First! and Mama Tree Network
Ft. Bragg CA – Led by local youth, demonstrators carrying signs and banners protesting logging in Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF) and calling for a Moratorium, marched down Main St. to the Ft. Bragg Town Hall to an August 3 meeting of the Jackson Advisory Committee (JAG). Longtime Albion resident and forest activist Linda Perkins explained the ostensible purpose of the JAG meeting was to answer the general public’s questions gathered at CalFire outreach events held in June. Perkins emphasized that the responses were “not specific to the concerns raised by the Coalition to Save Jackson State Forest”.
CalFire’s recent public outreach blitz follows months of growing protests and nonviolent Direct Actions including tree sits at the Caspar 500 site and blockades at the entrances to the Timber Harvest Plan (THP), which also serve as much-used recreation areas. On June 16, employees of Anderson Logging Company continued falling trees in extremely close proximity to forest defenders on the contested Caspar THP. CalFire has since “paused” logging in JDSF. Calling it a People’s Moratorium”, forest protectors continue to monitor for logging activities. However, many fear that once CalFire’s “outreach” phase is completed, logging will be allowed to resume.
Outside the meeting, Middle school student Ravel Gautheir reminded the crowd of the urgent need to address climate change by reducing logging, stating, “Ten percent of all global warming emissions are caused by deforestation… 48 football fields of forest are logged every minute, and redwoods are not just any trees — they’re the best carbon sequestering organisms on the planet. Climate change is real. And my generation is who will pay — some of us with our lives — for what this generation has done.”
Inside the meeting, the JAG presentations on sustainability, carbon capture and cultural protection were interrupted by members of the audience calling out questions and comments about the use of Imazapyr (used to poison tan oaks), the cutting of late seral (large, old) redwoods, the lack of Indigenous representation in Jackson management, lack of carbon sequestration, excessive water needed by logging during a drought and the fire dangers of 3-story high slash piles left in the forest. During a public Q & A period, these themes were reiterated but the answers did not satisfy. JAG members’ statements were challenged and fallacies pointed out, such as the debunked notion that carbon is stored as effectively in wood products as it is in living trees.
Native American David Martinez testified eloquently and bitterly to the damage done to the original forests by greedy, extractive non-Native land practices, admonishing the JAG members for “still not listening to us” or learning how to care for the Earth. Martinez concluded: “The forests you found in my great grandfather’s time didn’t just get that way by themselves, they were managed by Indigenous people for 10,000 years.”
Brushing off these cogent public comments, the JAG members tried to resume their regular agenda but had to pause as four activists rose and walked to the front of the room, linked arms and began chanting “No business as Usual” and “Moratorium”. The meeting adjourned.