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This is a Bad One…

Many years ago, 1974 I believe, the Redwood Peanut mounted on a flatbed led a caravan of logging trucks around and around the headquarters in Sacramento of the then boy Governor, Jerry Brown. His administration was shifting from the previous all out deforestation system where people were charged a tax on standing trees, mandating cutting, and shifting instead to a system requiring an Environmental Impact Statement. This was just too much too soon. The environmental movement on the Northcoast hardly existed. Isolated, the Governor crumpled before the pressure.

The bizarre*Timber Harvest Plan* was born. It never saw a tree it couldn’t cut. Sometimes the plans are to be “mitigated,” sometimes by a court, and then everything was cut pretty much the same way afterwards. Occasionally one of the gyppo chiefs might do a little time for skipping the “mitigation” altogether but by then the clearcutting was finished and the duff was blowing in the wind.

Times have changed. We can’t get away any longer with pointing in horror at Brazil as it deforests the Amazon while we in the US smirkingly pretend we are merely “harvesting timber.” It is time to return to the idea of demanding an EIS for anyone in the “harvesting” business. With climate catastrophe a daily occurrence, the Environmental Impact of THP 1-19-00083-MEN is unacceptable. Period. Use your head. 

“Harvesting” trees is planetary suicide.

Already we have had a series of THPs by Soper Wheeler, an outfit from the Sierras so lame that they had Nancy Reagan planting their millionth tree. They have seized a remarkable piece of our coast from just south of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park all the way down to the Rockport beach where the Cottoneva ends its 9 mile journey to the ocean. Anyone can see their work by dipping in at Google Earth, 2014 and then again 2019. Are you kidding me? It looks like North Korea. And so far CalFire has let it happen.

Let’s get real with your name. It is seriously inappropriate. CalFire, aka CDF, needs to do its job and start saving the vast young redwood forest that is still here on the Northcoast, a forest that is our best defense against the inevitable forest fires which will rack this region.

No more cutting of Redwoods. This recovering forest is more important than the bank account of Soper Wheeler. Worse, letting them get away with this disastrous plan sets us up for the extremely heavy damage MRC will eventually be doing on its “holdings” along the Cottonenva. 

However, with cable logging above the banks of the Cottoneva as these guys are planning, MRC couldn’t do worse! You are letting this happen?

Soper Wheeler has been running its turf as a “hunting preserve” of some sort. Or whatever. I pass by their gate monthly and one time I did see a humongous water tanker parked inside their gate. This is the gate that they hung their “Intent to Harvest” on. It was full of false information, directing the reader to the Fresno office of CalFire aka CDF with a reference number to the plan that did not exist. After all, who needs to know?

Let Soper Wheeler return to the Sierras. They are not the foresters needed in our community, but corporate interlopers. They have been banking, so to speak, on the lack of neighbors to call for a halt. The philosophical conundrum here is that if a lot of trees fall in the woods and there are no neighbors to protect it, does that mean we’re not deforesting the planet?

What’s good about this plan? The archeologist is on vacation. No tribal observer has apparently reviewed the plan. Who knows then what sites exist, undisrupted, or maybe only partially destroyed thanks to Soper Wheeler’s previous THPs. The forest above the Cottoneva Valley should be seen as the obvious extension of the Sinyone Tribal Wilderness State Park. Stopping this THP will buy time until the entire Usal Road from Four Corners down to the Rockport Beach can be adequately protected.

CalFire has already allowed Soper Wheeler to hack away at a very delicate ecosystem, one of great beauty as it skirts the steep cliffs of the Lost Coast. This must be stopped. I mean who’s kidding who? Four clearcuts on the cliff side of the Usal Road, utilizing cable/tractor logging right on the edge of an abyss that a good spitter could probably drop a wad down to the water’s edge without hitting the sheer sides. Really? This is a serious plan?

Meanwhile, huge chunks of forest are to be taken out on both sides of the Usal Road. This road is itself a public treasure, offering continual breathtaking views of the blue sea. This area needs to be protected for the people of California who will still be here long after the corporate depredators have changed their names and their games in search of easy money elsewhere. Let us skip the logging and send them packing now. As public servants, CalFire has an obligation to put the people’s future first, last and always.

The Usal is a road that already cuts through publically owned land of the Sinkyone Wilderness. This contiguous forest, threatened by Soper Wheeler, cries out for re-evaluation. We should be adding this to our public land, securing the historic ridge that looks down into the Cottoneva on one side and on the other onto the spanless blue sea. We boast that most of the old growth Redwood was eradicated for high class tickytack but the redwood forest has not been completely destroyed. It remains right here, a huge one with trees that aren’t much older than me, short of a hundred perhaps.

The Redwoods are a self-restoring forest and one that could shield us in the age of forest fires, don’t you think, CalFire fighters? Meanwhile, every inch of this Lost Coast is precious — a heritage that if not assaulted will assure us of a future.

Imagining the forest without Soper Wheeler, or MRC, is to bet on Planet Earth. By allowing the Redwood forest to return to itself, to revert to its vastness, to continue to flourish, we are betting on the return to a survivable Green Age. While what the logging company offers instead is that — as long as we all shall live — it will make sure that the forest will never be a real forest. It is time to stop them “bleeding” the planet. We cannot survive the loss of the Redwood forest. It is a dynamic field that has, will, would provide the very atmosphere that our human culture has thrived within. There is no safe amount of timber removed from this forest, or any other. The planet needs a decent Environmental Impact Report for the Cottoneva. The impact of course is the climate crisis itself. Duh.

The re-assertion of a de facto EIR standard is a demand I make of you, forest practices program manager, until the real thing comes along. “Harvesting” is being clearly revealed as inoperable in the age of Climate Crisis. ”Logging” itself has becomes an obscene word, a euphemism for what’s taking place, here, there and everywhere — “Deforestation.” We can spare the forest for the trees we aren’t cutting. CalFire must be prompting stewardship not entrepreneurship.


  1. petrip August 29, 2019

    Please add info regarding who and how we contact our state and county reps to best fight this thing.

    • James Marmon August 31, 2019

      Actually, Dan rode with one of Jerry Philbrick’s drivers, he was only 16, Bill drove my dad’s truck which was a show truck in its day. See above photo.


  2. Pat Kittle September 1, 2019

    Wasn’t the “redwood peanut” sent to Washington DC to flatter peanut farmer Jimmy Carter into cancelling the expansion of Redwood National Park?

    Carter’s immortal reply:

    “Inappropriate use of redwood.”

    That’s how I’ve always told the story. Am I making this up?

  3. Jeff DeVilbiss April 24, 2020

    I weep at the scars of greed on my Family’s old Ranch.

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