Comments Invited on Headwaters Forest Reserve

For those of you who have been rolling with us a long time, you will remember when the campaign to save the giants in Headwaters Forest culminated in purchase by the government of 7,500 acres of redwood forest, corporate raider Charles Hurwitz driving Pacific Lumber into bankruptcy, and finally that villain of the forest leaving California for his lair in Houston, Texas.
We, as Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, participated actively in the development of a management plan for that forestland purchase, which became the Headwaters Reserve, with the largest grove (3,000 acres) of ancient redwoods remaining at its core. We include this snippet of that larger story in this news update because that management plan is now being updated in a relatively small way, with the addition of a trail. HWRhikers

The Headwaters Reserve, under management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has been overseeing public access at the northern access point to the Reserve, the Elk River Trail, and allowing limited access–docent tours—at the southern access via Salmon Creek Trail. The proposed new trail is essentially parallel to the existing Elk River trail, on the opposite side of the river, in the “buffer zone” of recovering but previously logged land around the core grove. BLM has been doing extensive restoration in the Reserve since the 1999 acquisition, removing logging roads, repairing massive erosion from horrendous logging practices from the Hurwitz era, and removing non-native species.

The proposed plan for Headwaters Reserve also includes a re-design and slight enlargement of the parking at the Elk River trailhead. Comments will be received by BLM until Dec. 9, 2016.
The Environmental Assessment document and maps can be found here:

We are developing a list of sample points for you to include in a communication, if you respond during BLM’s public comment period. That list will be sent out shortly. For the moment, this is a heads up, and link to information if you want to respond on your own. It is important that BLM understands that many people are paying attention, and that people across California care about the management of this precious piece that was so hard won during the fractious and long campaign.

News from the same neighborhood: Humboldt Redwood Company

Cannot Escape Pollution Permits 

Humboldt Redwood Co. (HRC) is the company that bought the old Pacific Lumber holdings when Maxxam/Hurwitz skipped town. The timber company had sued the North Coast Water Board over a disputed Timber Harvest Plan around water quality permit issues. The court upheld the authority of the water agency to uphold pollutant and sediments limitations into the severely impacted Elk River watershed (i.e., uphold the state’s Water Quality Control Act), thanks in part to intervention by EPIC and the Pacific Federated Coast Fishermans’ Assoc. This photo shows a road flooded with sediment discharge from logging erosion.

Traveling Log to go on an epic trek

We at BACH had helped with media outreach when a 54-mile “March to Let the Forest Heal”in October took an intrepid group of activists and a log from Comptche to Mendocino Redwood Co.’s log deck in Ukiah, Mendocino County.  Now a new alliance has formed and BACH is part of it: the Alliance to Protect the Cascadian Rainforest. We helped edit and send out a press release locally, announcing this alliance and the connection to the role in stabilizing climate and carbon sinks, while simultaneously, a press conference was held in Marrakesh during the COP 22 for Mattole River watershed residents there to announce the work for Pacific Coast slope protection.

The log from the previous 54-mile walk will be passed on to other groups for a walk through the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County, with the potential for a relay to other marches up through the great, connected coastal forests to highlight various issues pertinent to different bioregions. This alliance is in its early stages, so you’ll be hearing more from us about it.

Redwoods in San Mateo County

Closer to the Bay, a Timber Harvest Plan (THP) to log most of the old growth redwoods on a 40-acre forested parcel off Highway 9 near the coast in San Mateo County is being reviewed by the regulatory agency for THPs, CAL FIRE. Other wildlife trees and all but 13 of the 87 ancient redwoods on the land are proposed to be cut.

You can offer public comments to CAL FIRE about this plan here (sample letter from Committee for Green Foothills) or write your own communication about THP  1-16-080 SMC [20160729_1-16-080SMO_Sec2.pdf] and email to the Santa Rosa CAL FIRE office at

In addition to providing habitat for many wildlife species, old growth redwoods capture more CO2 than any other tree on the planet. They are our past; they are our future.

Standing Rock

And of course we stand strongly in solidarity with the struggle at Standing Rock, and are solidly behind action that can happen here in the Bay Area and North Dakota to stop the pipeline threat to the sacred water there at the confluence of the Cannonball River and the Missouri River. We feel deep solidarity with the water protectors who have shown extraordinary strength, commitment and vision and have been resolute in the face of escalating repression to their resistance.


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