Forest Defenders Head to Woods to Defend Mattole Forest From Loggers and Paramilitary Security

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Things are heating up in Northern California, as corporate logging crews aided by high powered security are trying to stay one step ahead of forest defenders who have now taken to the trees.

Lost Coast, CA – Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) brought logging crews and paramilitary security into in the last remaining unprotected, intact Douglas-fir/hardwood forest in coastal California late on Wednesday, June 5.

On Thursday morning, Mattole Forest Defenders headed to the forest. HRC has again hired paramilitary-styled security company Lear Asset Management of Ukiah, which employs tasers, dogs, drones, and night-vision goggles. This equipment is familiar to Lear personnel who are veterans of U.S. wars in the Middle East. Last year, there were safety breeches by Lear employees using aggressive tactics. Thursday morning they showed up in camo gear on 4-wheelers.

Rainbow Ridge, located about 25 miles south of Eureka in the Mattole River Watershed, has been the scene of resistance to old-growth logging since 1990.  Lawsuits, blockades, and tree-sits have kept much of the forest standing.

The remote area is the home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, and Northern Spotted Owl and is the headwaters for the wild Mattole River stocks of coho and Chinook salmon.

In 2018, the Lost Coast League (LCL) filed formal complaints challenging HRC’s “green” sustainability certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC’s auditors (SCS Global Services) found the complaint to have merit in two areas: lack of a plan to designate and protect High Conservation Value Forests, and lack of a plan to phase out the widespread use of herbicides routinely used by HRC.

The Petrolia-based LCL was assured by SCS Global’s founder, Dr. Robert Hrubes, that logging would not happen until HRC completed its reports as required by SCS Global and delivered them to LCL for evaluation. Neither documents have been delivered to the Lost Coast League.

Despite negotiations between HRC and Mattole citizens groups (Lost Coast League, Mattole Restoration Council, Mattole Salmon Group) and other environmental organizations on the North Coast, as well as persistent forest defense actions, HRC has refused to allow the groups to achieve permanent protection for these Mattole watershed land, which lie adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home to the largest contiguous stands of virgin Coast redwood in the world and habitat for many endangered species.

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Rainbow Ridge Direct Action Mobilization! June 12 – 19, 2019 in so-called Humboldt County RSVP to check in, get directions, and get more details on what to bring – efhum@riseup.net Logging season is upon us! Do you want to take part in the ongoing direct actions to protect the Mattole forest? With the spring rains abating, Humboldt Redwood Company has their greedy eye on the mighty trees gracing the precious ridges of the Mattole watershed. Come to base camp to train and prepare to join in backwoods action with like-minded forest rebels! There are also many roles to fill in base camp. All are welcome! Base camp will be located at an outdoor group camp. If you have specific accessibility needs, please be in contact via efhum@riseup.net . Vehicle parking is quite limited, so please be in touch to coordinate rides. As the situation escalates, forest defense in the Mattole has become a year round effort. Your involvement can make a big impact! Monetary and gear donations also help make it happen! Online Fundraiser at – http://tiny.cc/supportbasecamp RSVP to check in, get directions, and get more details on what to bring – efhum@riseup.net #savethemattolesancientforest #showupatthethrowdown #stophabitatdestruction #banglyphosate #glyphosate #roundup #extinctionrebellion #anthropocene #directaction #swarm #buzzword

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“We are shocked and disappointed that Humboldt Redwood Company would rush in to log these trees without fulfilling the promise of their Forest Stewardship Council ‘sustainability’ audit,” said Michael Evenson, Vice President of LCL. “Violating the terms of the audit should call into question the certification of their operations. This is an irreplaceable natural treasure.”

This logging also shines a light on programs of corporations like Home Depot’s that charge a premium price for lumber certified as sustainably sourced. “Claiming lumber from such sources to be sustainable,” said long-time Mattole activist Jane Lapiner, “is cheating the consumer.”

“Humboldt Redwood Co. is wholly owned by the Fisher family, San Francisco real estate moguls that also own the GAP and Old Navy. Though the Fishers claim to have serious environmental principles they have apparently have given the go-ahead on this logging.”

Tree-sitters and forest defenders have pledged to stop the logging until HRC comes to its senses and negotiates the protection of these natural treasures.

There is an action prep camp in the Mattole area in Humboldt County June 12-19. See “Save Mattole Ancient Forest” on FB.


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Earth First! Journal
The Earth First! Journal is the voice of the radical environmental movement. Published quarterly, it contains reports on direct action; articles on the preservation of wilderness and biological diversity; news and announcements about EF! and other radical environmental groups; investigative articles; critiques of the entire environmental movement; book and music reviews; essays exploring ecological theory and a sometimes-lively letters to the editor section. The Earth First! Journal is an essential forum for discussion within the Earth First! movement. It is meant to be bold, controversial, amusing and diverse in content and style. You won’t find hard-hitting news like this anywhere else.