It has been a very busy year. We salute the dedicated, brave and very persistent activists who have sat in trees, written briefs, argued in court, tested temperature and turbidity in streams, taken video, sat at tables with a donation can, brought hot meals to tree-sitters, hauled tree-sitter's recycling away, written press releases, called reporters, testified at hearings, sat through two days of Board of Forestry meetings, written letters to the editor, harangued elected representatives, given slide shows, printed newsletters, done data entry, locked themselves to trees and persevered. Together, we stand to make a difference.
Lawsuit filed by EPIC, joined by the Sierra Club, with a parallel lawsuit filed by United Steelworkers of America challenging the Headwaters deal, 30 days after the deal was signed on March 1, 1999. For more complete SYP case story, see story, this issue.
A young woman from Olympia, Washington named Remedy climbs an ancient redwood that activists have named Jerry in Freshwater watershed. Two months later, a New Jersey visitor to the north coast named Wren climbs a tree within shouting distance of Remedy. The THP they are sitting in calls for 138 acres of clearcut.
August 29, 2002
Judge John Golden ordered a halt to all logging operations by Pacific Lumber (PL) authorized by permits under dispute in EPIC's Sustained Yield Plan (SYP) lawsuit. These permits cover most of PL's active logging plans.
The season in review
Sept. 3, 2002
Tree-sitter Remedy reports that she has called the Calif. Dept. of Forestry, the Sheriff's Dept. and other agencies reporting that PL is ignoring the court-issued stay and logging, but gets no response. Tree-sitters do respond. An unprecedented number of tree-sits go up in several watersheds.
Sept. 23, 2002
Rally held to celebrate Remedy's 6 months in Jerry. An action involving 13 women in 13 trees for 13 days begins.
Oct. 7, 2002
Sue Moloney, Director of the Campaign for Old Growth, begins a hunger strike on the steps of the State Capitol to pressure Gov. Gray Davis to make good on his campaign promise to "spare old growth trees in California from the lumberjack's axe."
Oct. 21, 2002
Corporate raider Charles Hurwitz settles for a paltry $206,000 in a savings and loan failure case that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.
Oct. 28, 2002
The tree-sitters in the Mattole are cut out of lock boxes, as PL cuts at a rate of 1 million board ft./day, despite the court stay.
Oct. 29, 2002
Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo shows up on day 22 of Sue Moloney's fast to support her, and BACH activists deliver nearly 200 letters to Gov. Davis to keep his promise to stop logging of old growth.
Nov. 15, 2002
Two tree-sitters are lowered from their perches naked, where they were protesting logging in sensitive species habitat. They are held for 3 weeks on $100,000 and $200,000 bail.
Nov. 22, 2002
Julia Butterfly and musician Melissa Crabtree join Sue Moloney on day 50 without food, as Former Congressman Dan Hamburg and Woody Harrelson speak out against Gov. Davis' refusal to meet with Sue.
Sue Moloney eats her first bite of solid food in 52 days after Legislators schedule a hearing to address the problem of old growth logging.
As the case to determine whether PL is in contempt of court by violating the court-ordered logging stay is postponed until February, PL begins logging the residual old growth forest known to be nesting habitat of the endangered marbled murrelet in the Grizzly Creek area.
Residents of Freshwater watershed, where about 17 activists are occupying trees, express concern about the logging on steep unstable slopes, allowed under weakened standards approved in August 2002. Wren celebrates her 200th day in the tree on Dec. 8.
Late December 2002
and early January 2003
Ancient redwood trees along the world famous Avenue of the Giants are buried in sediment torrents originating in PL's logging sites, as others adjacent to PL's logging are forced to abandon their flooded homes or salvage their possessions as they are trapped by floodwaters. Floods occur in Elk River watershed, along Nanning Creek and in Freshwater.
PL continues logging dangerously close to Freshwater tree-sitters without a required waste discharge (sediment) waiver.
January 23, 2003
The Regional Water Quality Control Board hears from a panel of scientists who, in their report verify what residents and salmon and forest advocates have been saying for years: there is a link between soil erosion, sedimentation of streams, polluted drinking water, landslides and flooding--and the accelerated rate of logging by PL on steep, unstable slopes. The meeting is jammed with residents who show slides of their flooded out homes. PL busses down employees to appear before the Board. (See winter 2003 Bay Area Forest Activist on our website).
January 28, 2003
The Senate Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on old growth logging, with
testimony from Sue Moloney, Julia Butterfly and scientist Michael Soulé. Sen. John Burton asks the question on the minds of us all --"Isn't it time we did something about it?"
Feb. 24, 2003
Humboldt county D.A. Paul Gallegos, one month into his term in office, makes good on his campaign vow to NOT go soft on corporate crime by filing a $250 million
lawsuit against PL alleging fraud and deceptive concealment in their submission of data during the Headwaters deal negotiations in order to squeeze more board feet into the allowable cut. (see story, this issue)
March 3, 2003
The Reg. Water Board grants waivers of waste discharge permits for 3 PL logging plans in Freshwater, clearing the way for logging to resume there. PL hired a new security firm, and PL and Columbia Helicopter employees stepped up their harassment of the dozen plus tree-sitters in Freshwater.
March 5, 2003
After hiring Initial Security to patrol the Freshwater tree-sits, taking pictures of anyone who stops at the trees, PL contractors post legal papers on trees occupied by tree-sitters, serving them a TRO (temporary restraining order) ordering the forest defenders to vacate their perches and remove their belongings within 24 hours.
PL takes out the first in a series of full-page ads calling forest activists "eco-terrorists".
After illegally closing the county road to witnesses, climbers from Eric Shatz Tree Service, hired by PL, climb two giant redwood trees in Freshwater to forcibly remove tree-sitters Wren, approaching her 10 month mark, and Remedy, a few days short of her one-year mark without touching the ground. They were booked into jail. Both trees are immediately reoccupied.
Shatz and his climbers forcibly remove tree-sitter Annapurna, binding her hands and ankles before lowering her to the ground. The tree is immediately reoccupied. A logger "girdles" the tree, cutting the cambium layer around the trunk, effectively killing it. Tree-sitter Silver Willow is removed and the trees is immediately cut.
As the U.S. waged war on Iraq half a world away, contract employees get more aggressive in their attempts to remove tree-sitters, bringing grinders up old-growth trees to cut activists out of lock-boxes, hanging tree-sitters upside down, and chasing one young woman to the tippy top of a 200 ft. ancient tree (Jerry) before throwing a rope around her ribcage as she stood on a branch about 5" in diameter. Shatz hauls a chain saw up the tree and limbs it almost entirely, cutting off a secondary trunk. The tree is immediately reoccupied, though nearly limbless and 20 ft. shorter.
Tree-sitter Remedy's mom and sister travel from Michigan to join about 200 activists at a rally celebrating Remedy's one-year long tree-sit. Remedy is on the ground and out of jail to speak at the rally after 361 days without touching earth. Several other long-time tree-sitters who were extracted from the trees the previous week also speak at the rally, including Wren, Anna, Lodgepole and others. Arrests of sitters and supporters stand at about 25.
Week two of the reckless tree-sit extractions in Freshwater begin with 5 high altitude removals having taken place, but only one previously occupied tree unoccupied and cut down, as replacement sitters scramble up trees during the night.
PL begins a propaganda campaign in the print media, running full-page ads calling their forest defenders terrorists.
Several 4-5 foot diameter trees are cut and PL contractors continue to forcibly remove tree-sitters, carrying out law enforcement activities and assaulting forest defenders. PL has served nearly 40 people with their SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation--their fourth SLAPP suit in 2 years), as more arrests are made and dozens of activists work their way through the court system, most without benefit of attorney. Penalties range from $27 infractions to jail time to large fines.
A package of forestry regulation reform bills, such as forest advocates have not seen in over a decade, is introduced into the Calif. State Legislature, addressing clearcutting, old growth logging, water quality issues, state purchase of wood products made from old growth and riparian system protections.
PL's ad campaign goes to tv and radio and focuses on one activist--Rod Coronado--whom they call a terrorist who is endangering lives, when he has neither threatened nor harmed anyone. Rod, a long-time animal rights and Earth First! activist and journalist, challenges PL's president to a debate.
More than 60 doctors, lawyers, City Council members, clergy and local residents from rural Humboldt communities call for the cessation of ads broadcast on radio, tv and newspapers by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber in a letter to the company.
PL climbers raid the tree-village in the area where David Gypsy Chain was killed by an angry PL logger in 1998. Activists have continuously occupied the site since Chain's death to have the area preserved.
PL climbers ascend the ancient redwood called Jerry for a third time to evict Smoky, a tree-sitter whose arms are locked into a 600-lb. barrel of cement. Another tree-sitter uses a u-lock around his neck to lock to a traverse line between two trees. A third tree-sitter stands on a traverse between Jerry and an adjacent tree for ten hours to defend the two trees. Ultimately, Smoky and the barrel are lowered, still attached.
Two intrepid Humboldt county activists climb trees in Houston, Texas, down the road from Maxxam corporate headquarters. Houston media goes wild.
Houston demonstrations take place at the homes of Maxxam corporate headquarters, CEO Charles Hurwitz, president Paul Schwartz and v.p. Diane Dudley
PL loggers find the last 2 tree-sits empty in what was the expansive Freshwater lower tree-sit village, after the activists descended briefly for dinner. They returned to find the trees, mere feet from the road, cut down, even though PL had not been logging in the area for 2 months.
Activist Legal Round-UP
Many forest defenders are getting quite a legal education as they take responsibility for their acts on behalf of the forest. PL's 2003 tree-sit eviction campaign, with major assist from Eric Shatz saw roughly 35 arrests. The harassment lawsuit, PL vs Remedy, Wren and "Does 3-50 had another 29 people added to the suit, originally filed in Sept. 2002. Most of the spring/summer 2003 civil disobedience arrests stemmed from some form of alleged trespass, but there were a few overzealous cops arresting observers. Some activists took their cases to trial, acting as their own attorney, with a good deal of success. Several trials resulted in hung juries, including long time forest activist Naomi Wagner's. Wren and Arcata activist Bee, both of whom defended themselves in pro per argued trials that yielded deadlocked juries. Between the DA's office and PL, no one was able to prove who owned the trees in the road right of way, where some people were arrested.
Excessive force was used by Shatz, the contractor hired by PL who took license to carry out law enforcement duties. One of the incidents caught on video tape was when Shatz and 2 other climbers removed a forest defender from the tree Jerry and engaged in a struggle with another activist who ascended the tree during the removal. That second activist, Phoenix, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, though the alleged deadly weapon has not been identified, even to the judge.
At print time, the harassment (SLAPP) lawsuit is being challenged aggressively and most criminal cases have been resolved.