Clearcuts in Redwood National Park—really?
The state of California has a project for construction of three communication towers in the far northern coastal corner of the state, including one in Redwood National Park.
Because of maintenance and access issues, these towers always come with clearcuts that must be perpetually maintained. A total of three communication towers, with a height range of 120 to 270 feet and with adjacent clearcuts are proposed for Rodgers Peak (in Redwood National Park), Alder Camp (a state-owned prison facility), and on Rattlesnake Peak (owned by Green Diamond Timber Co.). The towers would provide radio coverage for federal, state and local agencies but would not provide any cell phone reception for nearby communities.
The three new towers would replace the Red Mountain Communications site, which must be removed from Red Mountain by 2022 because it violates the Six Rivers National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, since the Red Mountain facility is within the Helkau Ceremonial District, sacred to the Yurok People and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This poor placement necessitates the removal of the current Red Mountain site. But according to filings by project proponents, “Portions of the (new) project area are considered highly sensitive for cultural resources and are in the Helkau Ceremonial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction activities could disturb cultural resources or possibly human remains.” In short, the proposed development would desecrate the same sacred area as the one it is replacing!
Situated on the top of three of the area’s tallest mountains, the sight of these proposed towers would be an aberation to say the least—grotesque in a majestic ancient redwood forest. Besides the towers themselves, each of the three proposed sites would come with chain link fences, possible flashing red lights if height reaches over 200 ft, structures for housing batteries, generators, and the like, a propane or diesel tank, on-site parking and an adjacent area that would be maintained as a clearcut in perpetuity.
To site one of the towers within Redwood National Park (RNP), a place with international importance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve is unacceptable. This area is home not only to important cultural resources sacred to the Yurok People, but threatened and endangered species, such as the marbled murrelet and the northern spotted owl.
Our friends at EPIC have called for a full analysis in an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to comply with state CEQA and federal NEPA standards. The impacts of the proposed project are potentially major, and controversial especially because the proposed project would have unacceptable irreversible and irretrievable effects to the park resources, which is inconsistent with the Park’s purposes or values.
Advocate for real climate action, not a plan that ignores the realities of deforestation
Public comment is now being solicited on the “draft Forest Carbon Plan”— a design in the works for a future California climate change mitigation policy.
Friends of the Earth/U.S. is circulating an email action for easily submitting a comment to voice support for stronger climate change mitigation protections for California’s forests. F.O.E. makes it easy by including a sample letter you can simply sign on to, but for policy wonks, you can certainly write your own comment as well, using the points in their letter or your own research.
The timber industry is being given a free pass on this one.
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