For the last couple of years, a group of local activists have been attempting to prevent the Humboldt Redwood Company from carrying out logging operations on Rainbow Ridge, in the Mattole watershed. They’ve written letters of protest to state regulators and people associated with the Forest Stewardship Council, a third-party nonprofit organization that certifies the company as a producer of “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” lumber. Last summer they took to direct action.
But they’ve failed to persuade the company to cancel their harvest plans, or to persuade regulators to deny the plans. Earlier this year, Calfire approved the company’s plans to log about 380 acres of a 560-acre chunk of Rainbow Ridge, on the company’s property. So in the last week, as the company prepares to cut, they’ve again taken to direct action. A week ago, four elderly Petrolia-area members of the Lost Coast League were arrested at the gates to the logging operation, and this morning comes word that the Sheriff’s Office is arresting more people today.
The area to be logged consists of Douglas fir and hardwood. Second-growth Doug fir will be harvested; some tan oak will be removed using herbicide (aka “hack-and-squirt“). There are some old-growth Doug fir trees within the limits of the proposed timber harvest area, but as per company policy they will not be logged. Calfire’s timber harvest division approved the plan earlier this year.
While people on the ground continue to try to stymie the company’s access to the site, members of the Lost Coast League have been applying pressure via the company’s Forest Stewardship Council’s “ecofriendly” certification, which must be renewed annually. Late last year an auditor toured the Rainbow Ridge site with Lost Coast League members and found many of their complaints to be unfounded — the area has, in fact, been logged previously, and it wasn’t what the FSC would consider an “old-growth forest.”
However, the auditor did say that the company should update its policy on herbicide usage and to clarify how it goes about determining which of its lands have “high conservation value.” (Read the auditor’s report of his investigation at this link.) The company says it has done those things and has submitted them to the auditor.
The Lost Coast League recently issued a press release about the most recent round of direct action, and its objections to logging at the Rainbow Ridge site; the company response can be found here.
Meanwhile, here’s the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office on today’s arrests:
On June 17, 2019, at about 3:42 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Monument Road, in the county’s jurisdiction of Rio Dell, for the report of protesters blocking an access gate to Humboldt Redwood Company property.
When deputies arrived on scene, they located about 15 protesters, in addition to an approximately 24-foot ladder standing in front of the gate, tethered to nearby trees with a subject at the top.
Three protesters, Michael John Gammariello, 32, Brittany Krystal Soohoo, 25, of Los Angeles, and Georgia Hanrahan Doremus, 32, of Arcata, were taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of trespassing, resisting arrest and impeding traffic.
Humboldt County Public Works responded and deployed a boom truck to assist deputies in lowering the ladder in front of the gate. The protester on the ladder, Isabel Xochitl Osheroff, 24, of Berkeley, CA, was safely taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of trespassing.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to obey all laws when protesting a cause. Sheriff’s deputies will continue to respond as needed to Monument Road if further violations of state law occur.