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December 10, 2013
Dear Friend of the Forest,

If a brave activist climbs high in a tree’s branches and sits there for two months, and trees fall around her, but no cameras are in the forest, does anyone hear?

Tree-sits, crane-sits, hard-hitting stories on state wide TV and the LA Times, months of strategizing, scores of press releases, dozens of demonstrations and actions—it takes a community. We at Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (BACH) are proud to be part of the community working to find a better alternative to the boondoggle highway project under way in Willits in Mendocino County, plowing roughshod through precious wetlands and old oak woodlands. It is another Caltrans project.

As in any community, we have our niche. Besides the considerable outreach BACH has done to expose Caltrans’ bad decisions, lack of accountability and destructive path, our contribution is our media work.  Writing and editing press releases; building and maintaining lists of reporters and figuring out how to best pitch them—that’s our piece of the campaign pie.

BACH’s involvement in the Caltrans Willits Bypass campaign grew out of our involvement in the larger campaign looking at Caltrans’ incursion into the redwoods of Richardson Grove in Humboldt County, and the pristine redwood forest ecosystem in the wild Smith River corridor further north in Del Norte County.

Caltrans’ highway expansion in Richardson Grove State Park has been on hold, thanks to public input (that’s you!) and a court decision in favor of the environmental legal eagles, but the prospect of heavy equipment is at the Park’s doorstep again. Caltrans has announced it plans to move forward with work in spring of 2014.  We think it is a step backwards.  However, we can move forward with a renewed campaign to protect these venerable ancient giants, with your help and your involvement, and we must.

We must also partner as best we can to work with the people in Del Norte County and elsewhere who are opposing Caltrans highway expansion in the wilds of that county. We can, with your support and your involvement.

We’ve had great success working the media with the Willits Bypass story, sounding the alarm bells about wetlands destruction there, and bringing a needed measure of support and recognition to the courageous and unflinching activists who have daily been putting their bodies on the line and their energies to work.  We intend to leverage that media attention into a bright light exposing Caltrans’ larger agenda.

When the three projects I’ve mentioned—Richardson Grove, the Bypass highway in Willits and the highway expansion in Del Norte—come into view together, Caltrans’ agenda is exposed.  What comes into focus is Caltrans’ intention to transform the north coast area all the way up to the Oregon border so that a larger interstate similar to I-5 can accommodate larger trucks, and larger volumes of traffic. This agenda is neither common sense for the short term nor sustainable for the long term, nor is it even necessary! The redwoods and the species that depend on them; the wetlands and the birds that need that habitat; the salmon in the streams impacted by these projects—all are too vital and too scarce to bargain away with some pie-in-the-sky claim that Caltrans can “mitigate.”  They cannot.

We have re-vamped our website (check it out—at www.HeadwatersPreserve.org!); we have gotten a lot of information out in the Bay Area about Caltrans’ ecologically calamitous construction projects on California’s sensitive north coast; and we have worked very closely with activists in the north counties to provide top notch media services.  We want to ensure we can continue to do our part. To do that, we need your support.

I hope you can support BACH’s work with a donation check today.

Please make sure checks are made out to Ecology Center/BACH.  Our address is below.
You can also make a secure donation on line through www.HeadwatersPreserve.org. Just click on the donate button at the top. Any size donation matters a great deal to our work and is hugely appreciated. Your support helps amplify many voices.

For wild forests everywhere,
Karen Pickett
for the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters

P.S. To get a taste of some of the media coverage we were able to garner on the Bypass issue, see a great story that aired in October on Bay Area TV, exposing the truth at http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=9316519

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