Let’s Bring the Campaign for the Redwoods to the Bay Area!

On June 30, the California Transportation Commission approved the funding of the widening and straightening highway project through Richardson Grove State Park (to the tune of $7 million), approved by Caltrans in June with the release of the final EIR. (For background, see EPIC’s website and the Coalition’s Save Richardson Grove site.) Arcata-based EPIC, the champion of north coast forests, filed suit against Caltrans in June using the California Environmental Quality Act, and were joined by the Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and several individuals. The legal machinations move slowly, but there are strong organizations, excellent legal resources and dedicated people behind this part of the effort. Read on to hear what else is happening.

The destructive highway widening project threatens to destroy one of the few remaining stands of irreplaceable ancient redwoods–in a state park! Underlying the intent of the expensive, boondoggle project are economic interests, as the argument is based in the “need” to allow oversize trucks to travel up Highway 101, from LA and the Bay Area to Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. But exemptions already exist to allow these larger trucks on 101 (they just have to slow down going through the Avenue of the Giants area). The unspoken argument more likely lies with the intent to part the “Redwood Curtain” to allow for the entry of the “Big Box Nation”–the giant chain stores Humboldt has been relatively successful at fighting off until now. Some trees that are not old growth would be cut down, but most importantly, the root systems of at least 72 ancient redwoods would be carved up and moved out of the way, compromising the survival of those trees directly.

The active Coalition campaign in Humboldt County has generated thousands of letters, gotten support from local businesses, lobbied the County Supervisors and has people preparing for direct action if and when the bulldozers start running. But these ancient trees are part of California’s precious biological heritage and home to diminishing populations of wildlife, and the campaign needs to bust through the Redwood Curtain and grow in the Bay Area!

Things are happening on several fronts: postcard campaign, events and activist organizing, and YOU can plug in via BACH in the Bay Area!

Many of you signed postcards this past spring in opposition to the Richardson Grove project while it was in comment period, and thousands of postcards were forwarded to Caltrans and the Calif. Dept. of Transportation. Since Caltrans approved the project despite this massive show of public opposition, the recipients of the current postcard campaign has shifted to California’s state government–specifically Gov. Schwarzenegger.

We have stacks of these postcards ready to hit the streets and this is the ideal time to set up information tables at Farmers’ Markets, fairs and other events, but we need YOUR HELP to do this! We also have newly printed posters and full color brochures for these information tables, as well as the tables themselves, so if you can help at any time, please contact us via email or phone (all info below). Nearly everyone we encounter is outraged about this project once they hear about it, but we need a big push to inform Bay Area audiences!

Coming up very soon is a special event in Richardson Grove hosted by TreeSpiritProject and Jack Gescheidt on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 12. This is a bold community art project designed to show support for the trees and celebrate in the redwood grove. Some of you may remember Jack from the stunning tree photos he took at Berkeley’s oak grove. You can participate, bear witness, and hear more details from Jack via <jack@treespiritproject.com> or the TreeSpirit website.

We are planning a Bay Area Richardson Grove informational event, as soon as we can organize it. We are a volunteer organization and if you can help, it will happen sooner, bigger and better! Please send us a message via email or phone if you want to help this event happen, and we will call you to involve you in the organizing however you like. This depends on all of us, and now is the time!

We want to send a mailing out with postcards and information about Richardson Grove, which will involve MORE people in the tabling, the events and the campaign. Can you help? Refer to EPIC’s and the Save Richardson Grove websites for regular updates. BACH will be sending updates out to our Bay Area activists as well. That’s you! We hope you will jump in and get involved.

Tax-deductible donations will allow us to continue to inform and organize, and to send out our mailing. Checks payable to BACH/Ecology Center to the address below, or you can donate via our website, www.HeadwatersPreserve.org.


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