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River Views

Last week’s AVA contained a letter to the editor from a spokesperson for a group that calls itself “Friends of Enchanted Meadow (FOEM).” FOEM presently seeks $15,000 in donations for a matching grant to preserve the Albert Cattalini Conservancy, ten acres of land on and near Deadman’s Gulch close to the Albion River. The Cattalini Conservancy would link two previously protected land trust conservancies, Raven’s Call and the Enchanted Meadow Wetlands Sanctuary.

The letter goes on, attempting “to clarify some details in the ‘River Views’ column of 2-6-13.” According to the letter writer, our county supervisors, in 2008, approved the name “enchanted meadow” for the wetlands sanctuary. The letter claims this occurred in response to community efforts to preserve river and forest habitat.

The truth is that a few dozen protestors a couple of decades ago did not come close to fully stopping Louisiana-Pacific’s logging in the lower Albion, but a handful of individuals did succeed in persevering in lawsuits against L-P. Chief amongst those litigants were Beth Bosk and Zia Cattalini. As a result, Beth Bosk essentially made a gift of 52 acres of tidewater flats running east and northeast from the Albion Boom toward the mouth of Duck Pond Gulch to the Coastal Land Trust (not to be confused with a similarly named conservancy in North Carolina).

Zia Cattalini is the prime mover behind the already protected Raven’s Call Conservancy and the proposed conservancy (named for her father) that is currently seeking funding.

The truth is that the county planning commission and the Board of Supervisors acceded to the wishes of a handful of people (and possibly to those of Zia Cattalini alone) in approving the name “enchanted meadow,” and not to the wishes of an entire community. The approved map also calls the man-made island at the Albion Boom, “Lone Pine Island.” That man-made island has been called “the fill” for over a century by anyone who actually knew what purpose it was built for. The 2008 map approved by the Board of Supervisors, who almost always could care less what happens on the lower Albion, contains other whimsically inspired names that bear no resemblance to the place names used by Anglos in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries or Pomo names that came before.

What irritates me most about the FOEM letter writer and the group as a whole is their insistence that the fundraising poster they have tacked up in public, and which they display prominently on their website, purports to be part of the Albert Cattalini Conservancy.


The poster shows the dilapidated remains of the Deadman’s Curve railroad trestle above marshland; marshland which is part of the “Enchanted Meadows Wetlands Sanctuary,” a separate conservancy administered by different folks. The timber shown in the poster stands west and south of the Cattalini Conservancy and belongs to Mendocino Redwood Company!

All three of these established and proposed conservancies are better stewards of the land and waterways than Mendocino Redwood Company. Mendocino Redwood Company’s haul road adjacent to Deadman’s Gulch repeatedly fails, sending mudslides down to the river. That haul road was constructed, with state agency approval, by MRC’s immediate predecessor, Louisiana-Pacific, despite the advice of my father, Lorne Macdonald (born along the Albion in 1907), to build a gentler-sloped road up the ridgeback north of the boom.

However, I will not support these conservancies in any public manner as long as their historically inaccurate place names remain on public maps and as long as their fundraising posters prove as deceitful as their big lumber company neighbor’s application for eighty year permits.

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