Six Rivers National Forest Just Got 320 Acres Bigger

Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, July 23 @ 5:28 p.m. / Nature , wildlife

So basically, the Forest Service acquired 160 acres (apparently with oil company money) from the Smith River Alliance, who then handed over another adjacent 160 acres.

Both organizations are pretty excited, since the Smith River, its Siskiyou Fork, and Hurdygurdy Creek are premiere salmon spawning grounds.

From a Six Rivers National Forest press release (see below):

“This stream (Hurdygurdy creek) is a true salmon sanctuary,” said Gasquet Ranger District Fisheries Biologist Mike McCain. He added that one reach within the protected area contained the most Chinook salmon habitat in the entire 2013 Siskiyou Fork survey. 

These parcels were heavily logged over 50 years ago, Grant Werschkull of the Smith River Alliance told the Lost Coast Outpost. He emphasized that in addition to fish habitat, the parcels also serve as a wildlife travel corridor for bears, cougars, and other fauna.

The land will stay accessible to the public, but timber harvest, gravel mining, or other resource-extraction will be prohibited in perpetuity, he said.

Grant Werschkull:

“It’s incredibly important to protect these large landscape areas from fragmentation, and it’s a good investment so that the public isn’t obligated to fight fires around these little islands of private property.”



Six Rivers National Forest Press Release:

Smith River land purchase and donation
to protect wildlife habitat and public access

Eureka, California, July 22, 2014 – The Smith River Alliance and the Six Rivers National Forest announced Friday, July 18, the permanent protection of 320 acres along the Siskiyou Fork of the Smith River for public recreation access and wildlife habitat purposes. The Siskiyou Fork is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Smith River, about 10 miles upstream from Gasquet.

Through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Forest Service was able to secure funding to purchase one 160-acre parcel – called the Hurdygurdy parcel, from the Smith River Alliance (SRA). The SRA donated the second 160-acre parcel, the Siskiyou Fork area of the Smith River. Established in 1965, the LWCF is funded through federal offshore oil and gas drilling revenues. A portion of these revenues, about $900 million per year, is reinvested through LWCF into conservation and outdoor recreation sites on public lands.

Over the last eight years, the Forest and SRA have worked to obtain LWCF funds to convey 3,705 acres into the Smith River National Recreation Area. The sale and donation are associated with the Hurdygurdy Purchase, where the Forest Service is making phased acquisitions of approximately 5,300 acres for inclusion in the national recreation area.

The SRA retains 1,812 acres of land and will continue to seek additional LWCF appropriations to add the land to the national recreation area. “We’re extremely pleased to have permanently protected the entire property—and to have conveyed the 3,705 acres into the Smith River National Recreation Area,” said Grant Werschkull, Executive Director of the SRA. “We’re also grateful for the partnership of our elected representatives and support of the many state and national agencies and organizations that have worked with us.”

“We’ve been working collaboratively with Smith River Alliance for many years to make this happen,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Mike Minton. “With the efforts of the Alliance and funding from the LWCF, we’ll be able to further protect spawning and rearing habitat for salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout, which are listed as Forest Service Sensitive Species.”

Hurdygurdy Creek is a significant spawning and rearing tributary for salmon and steelhead and it’s one of the most productive salmon streams in the Smith River National Recreation Area.


“This stream is a true salmon sanctuary,” said Gasquet Ranger District Fisheries Biologist Mike McCain. He added that one reach within the protected area contained the most Chinook salmon habitat in the entire 2013 Siskiyou Fork survey. “Fish use almost all of the available spawning gravel in this reach and twenty redds—or spawning nests—were observed during the survey,” he said.

Many wildlife species also benefit as the new public lands provide habitat and a travel corridor for species such as black bear and cougar, as well as smaller mammals. The Siskiyou Wilderness is only a few miles upstream and passage through these lands is necessary to reach the lower reaches of the Siskiyou Fork and the Middle Fork.

The project also guarantees public access in perpetuity to the Siskiyou Fork. “This is a win-win for public access and fish and wildlife, said David Palmer, District Ranger for the Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area. “Here we’re protecting habitat for salmon and wildlife and we’re also making sure the public will always have access to these lands.”

This is a first for the Six Rivers NF, to be able to simultaneously close two land adjustment cases working with the same partner.

The Smith River Alliance is a watershed organization, founded in 1980, to provide for the long-term protection, restoration and stewardship of natural resources in the Smith River watershed. SRA efforts focus primarily in the Smith River watershed, which includes the Smith River National Recreation Area, 490 square miles of watershed land managed by the Six Rivers National Forest, Redwood National and State Parks, Lake Earl Wildlife Area, and acreage held by private landowners.

Over the course of the campaign, many agencies and organizations endorsed the project including the American Rivers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Trout, California Wilderness Coalition, Del Norte County Fish and Game Advisory Commission, National Wildlife Federation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Salmon Restoration Federation, Save The Redwoods League, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Trout Unlimited and the Wild Salmon Center.



Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Says Deputies Shoot at Armed Marijuana Growers

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 23 @ 5:09 p.m. / Crime

Trinity County Sheriff’s Department Press Release:

On July 23, 2014 at approximately 7:30am, Law Enforcement Officers from the Trinity County Narcotics Task Force (TCNTF) and U.S. Forest Service entered an illegal marijuana garden located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest West of Wildwood. Upon entering the garden Deputies were confronted by two armed male Hispanics. Deputies ordered both males to drop their weapons at which time one male Hispanic, armed with a rifle, began to raise his weapon toward the Deputies. Deputies fired approximately 10 rounds at the suspects who then fled into the underbrush and out of view. A systematic search of the area by ground and air failed to locate the suspects or any evidence that anyone had been struck by the gunfire. No law enforcement personnel were injured during the operation. The shooting is currently under investigation by the Trinity County District Attorney’s Office and more information will be released when available. 

Arcata Police Raid Todd Court Marijuana Grow Op

Andrew Goff / Wednesday, July 23 @ 4:11 p.m. / marijuana

Arcata Police Department press release: 

Officers from the Arcata Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in the 2500 Blk of Todd Court on Wednesday morning.

Upon searching the property, officers located a marijuana growing operation encompassing the majority of a detached mother-in-law unit, several rooms of a detached garage and two greenhouses. Officers seized nearly 300 growing marijuana plants, approximately 40 pounds of dried marijuana in various stages of processing, approximately one pound of concentrated cannabis along with over $10,000 in cash. 

The growing operation that was being conducted inside the home consisted of numerous 1000 watt grow lights, and was utilizing nearly six times the electricity of a typical Arcata family home.

Ryan Barker, 37, of Arcata,was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

  • 11358 Health & Safety-Cultivation of Marijuana        
  • 11359 Health & Safety-Possession of Marijuana for Sale

City of Arcata Building Inspectors along with Arcat aFire Protection District Personnel responded to assess the unpermitted wiring modifications that had been made to the home.

It was determined the wiring posed a significant hazard that necessitated the disconnection of electrical services.

They’re Angels in My Eyes: Henry Shares a Smile and Shows His New iPad

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 23 @ 2:31 p.m. / Feel Good

 Henry Stratman whose iPad was stolen is shown here with his new treasure in front of Simply Macintosh in Arcata. [Photo provided by Wendy Kerr.]

“I can’t thank the anonymous donors enough,” said Wendy Kerr the mother of 15-year-old Henry Stratman whose iPad was taken in a robbery on July 14. “They’re angels in my eyes.”  Her son, she said, had been devastated when his device was taken. He had used it for educational games, music, and movies. After reading about his loss in the Lost Coast Outpost, a group of mostly anonymous donors banded together and purchased Henry a new iPad. [See photo above.]

When mother and son showed up at Simply Macintosh to pickup the new iPad, “Henry was so nervous and excited he couldn’t communicate,” Kerr explained. The two went outside to take a photo in front of Simply Macintosh whose owner, Simeon Tauber, had helped with the purchase of the item. Kerr said that they got to feel like celebrities because “a woman asked, “Aren’t you the kid who got his iPad stolen?” Again, Henry was too excited to talk.

But he did talk to her when they got home. There, he asked her about the new iPad. Kerr said she explained that he had gotten a new one because “there are a lot of people who really care about you and like you. They think what happened to you was wrong.” He grinned at the answer.

But, not much later, he told her, “Mom, we have to find a really good hiding place.”

Kerr said she answered, “Yes, we do.”

As Kerr explained to the Lost Coast Outpost, “I’m so happy Henry has his iPad back, but what I want back is that feeling of security.”

Isn’t it wonderful that people can do so much to heal the wrongs that happen? …Isn’t it sad they can’t fix everything?

For those interested in helping other children with disabilities purchase iPads, donations can be made to Families Advocating Autism Now at this link. Or, Wolf Dawg, the Vance Hotel’s Hot Dog Joint will be donating 10% of their proceeds on their anniversary, August 2nd, from 12 p.m. til 9 p.m. to Families Advocating Autism Now. There will be contests and challenges from 12- 2 p.m. at the store as well as face painting, animal balloons for kids, contests and raffles for adults and for kids. For more details see Wolf Dawg’s Facebook page.


Driver Allegedly Evades Spike Strips and Pursuit/ Eureka Police Put Out a BOLO

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 23 @ 12:49 p.m. / Crime

Eureka Police Department Press Release:

On 07/22/14 at approximately 5:24 p.m., Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Detectives were conducting an investigation on a “Problem House” in the 800 block of “O” Street. A detective observed a 1993 blue Dodge van park approximately a half block from the “Problem House.” When detectives attempted to contact the driver of the vehicle, the driver fled in the vehicle in an aggressive manner.

A nearby officer observed the driver commit a traffic violation and attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver briefly yielded but then fled and a pursuit ensued with speeds reported to be approximately 35-55 mph. As the pursuit approached the Henderson Center area an officer attempted to deploy spike strips but the driver was able to avoid them.

Officers discontinued the pursuit when the suspect drove the wrong way on “H” Street between 10th and 7th Streets. Officers spotted the vehicle traveling southbound on Myrtle Avenue but eventually lost the vehicle near the Myrtle Avenue Market. The vehicle was later located and towed near Myrtle and Pennsylvania streets.

The driver has been positively identified as John Wayne Ellis, 34 of Eureka. Ellis has two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle, misdemeanor warrants for eluding in a vehicle, resisting arrest, and possession of a controlled substance. Ellis now has an arrest warrant issued by the Eureka Police Department for felony evading and driving on a suspended license from this incident. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Ellis contact the Eureka Police Department at (707)441-4060.


Victim Named in Monday’s Rancho Sequoia Homicide

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 23 @ 9:41 a.m. / Crime

According to Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the victim in Monday’s homicide in Rancho Sequoia is Scott W. Johnson, age 57. Johnson was a resident of that area. Hanson said that there was only one victim on Monday night not two as initially reported. “There were no other victims,” Hanson said.

He also said an autopsy is scheduled today. Normally, a forensic autopsy in this area can take over a week to occur. However, because a forensic pathologist was already in the area to perform an autopsy on the victim of Friday night’s homicide, Neil Decker, then Johnson’s autopsy can take place relatively quickly.

Hanson was unable to go into details about Monday night’s homicide yet. However, he did say that two deputies had been assigned out in the Alderpoint area because the suspect of Friday’s shooting, Matthew Brown, had been sighted in the area. [See photo right.]

On Monday night, Hanson said, the two deputies were west of downtown Alderpoint when they heard some gunshots. 911 calls started coming in.” The officers were able to arrive at the scene with only a “10 to 15 minutes response time.” This, Hanson said, is very quick for that remote area. Meanwhile other officers had been dispatched from Eureka. So, at this point, the deputies in Alderpoint, “used common sense and waited for more resources to get there.”

Hanson described the deputies in a situation that was “very tense.”

More information should be forthcoming in a press release later today.



Thunderstorm Warning for Northeastern Humboldt

Andrew Goff / Tuesday, July 22 @ 5:19 p.m. / Weather

National Weather Service press release:  

A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect until 5:30 p.m. PDT for northwestern Trinity and extreme northeastern Humboldt counties.

At 5:01 p.m. PDT, national weather service doppler radar continued toindicate a severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter sizehail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.  This storm was located over northwestern Trinity County, or 17 miles east of Hoopa, moving north at 25 mph.

The severe thunderstorm will otherwise remain over mainly rural areas of the indicated counties.

In addition to large hail and damaging winds, continuous cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm. Move indoors immediately! Lightning is one of natures number one killers. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.