Photos and video by Andrew Goff
The Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) has recently been cracking down on protesters camping at Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole forest. Today two protesters locked themselves to a gate on Monument Road, about five miles outside of Rio Dell, to prevent HRC from accessing the area a logging old growth Douglas fir forest.
Andrew Sawyer, a member of Lost Coast League — an organization fighting to protect the Mattole Forrest — told the Outpost that their goal is to facilitate a conversation with the Fisher family, the primary investors behind HRC, as well as owners of the GAP and Banana Republic. He’s hoping that conversation will wind up preserving the forest.
“We’re buying a little bit of time,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer said that the group’s relations with HRC used to be better, but recently company officials stopped talking to them. “It’s no longer polite,” he said.
It does seem that HRC has recently taken stronger disciplinary action against the protesters. Today’s blockade follows two arrests on HRC’s property this week. Two protesters were arrested at about 5 a.m. on Sunday, and another protester was arrested on Wednesday afternoon.
HRC Director of Forest Policy John Anderson told the Outpost that the reason for the recent crackdown is safety. A recent incident involving a protester being burned caused fear of injury and wildfire.
“We learned one of the protesters out there was burned to the point of needing medical attention a few days ago,” Anderson said. “When it comes to people getting hurt, we’re going to be very serious about that.”
KHUM Program Director Bayley Brown interviewed Anderson today, as well as a protester who wanted to use the alias “Brad.” Brad explained that the woman injured had been burned by a pot of coffee, which was heated up by a propane stove.
“Even during fire season, people are still allowed to use propane stoves,” he said, adding that no one has been making ground fires.
However, Anderson told the Outpost that no flame of any kind is permitted on HRC’s property.
Anderson also addressed HRC’s logging intentions, explaining that they have a strict policy against logging old-growth trees, including Douglas firs, and that all their foresters are well trained in that policy.
As far as the protesters, who have been locked to the gate since 5 a.m. they may be there for a while. HRC Director of Forest Policy John Anderson told the Outpost that HRC has no logging plans today and does not plan to take any action against the protesters.
“We’re just gonna let them be,” Anderson said