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This fish does not exist.
(This logging plan is now owned by the Fisher Family, owners of Gap, Inc., who purchased it from Louisiana Pacific, along with 220,000 acres of timber lands.)

(Click on photos to see full-size versions)

Are your eyes deceiving you?

According to Louisiana Pacific Corporation, the California Department of Forestry, and the California Department of Fish and Game, there is either a 12 foot fish migration barrier (L-P), or a series of waterfall rapids, logjams and other conditions (CDF, DF&G) that make it impossible for the fish in this picture to exist in the South Fork of Elk Creek, a creek on the south coast of Mendocino County, California, that has been heavily impacted by logging.

They say it's okay for L-P to clearcut 418 acres of this forest directly above the South Fork of Elk Creek, while giving this Creek the lesser protection of a non-fish-bearing stream. L-P will clearcut right down to the minimal fifty-foot protection area on very steep slopes above this fishery-and they will do no restoration work to improve this fishery--because they say this fishery does not exist.

Young fishermen who have lived and fished in this area all their lives got curious about the alleged barrier to fish migration, and went up Elk Creek to the South Fork to see if there were any fish. Within five minutes, they were catching and releasing Steelhead Trout.

This fish--and the fish in the photo above--are Steelhead Trout caught and released by these local fishermen a half a mile above where L-P and CDF say there are no fish.

Coho Salmon were recently listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. There used to be 50,000 to 125,000 Coho Salmon in north coast rivers. Now there are only 6,000 to 10,000. Coho Salmon are close to extinction. Steelhead Trout are also in trouble. They are a candidate for listing.

One of the main reasons our north coast fisheries are dying is the impacts from logging-dirt from logging roads, landslides and clearcuts on steep slopes, that gets into the creeks and smothers fish eggs; lack of pools for the fish to live in; streamsides stripped of trees making the water too hot, and logjams and other barriers to migration.

Coho Salmon and Steelhead are born in Elk Creek, migrate out to the Pacific Ocean, and then return here to spawn. When they return, they often face obstacles created by humans, such as the logjams above. They are very good jumpers. Steelhead can jump 10 feet high out of the water up a waterfall; some say they can jump as high as 17 feet.

Somehow these fish made it up past the barrier that is alleged by Louisiana Pacific and state agencies on the South Fork of Elk Creek. But can they survive 418 acres of clearcutting?

Elk Creek is an historical Coho Salmon and Steelhead fishery, well-known to local fisherfolk whose families have fished in it for generations. The logging plan that will destroy this fishery is called Timber Harvest Plan 1-97-445 MEN.

The California Department of Forestry is about to approve a second clearcutting plan in this fishery, about two miles to the east (Timber Harvest Plan 1-98-019 MEN). And yet another L-P clearcutting plan has been approved in the adjacent watershed, Greenwood Creek (Timber Harvest Plan 1-97-352 MEN).

Impacts from this plan can already been seen in the muddy water from the road.

Clearcutting not only destorys fisheries, it also destroys wildlife habitat, soils and water quality.

This land in Elk Creek will never be the same.

Coho Salmon and Steelhead evolved along the Mendocino Coast in dense Redwood forests with magnificent trees that got to be thousands of years old, 20 feet and more in diameter, and over 300 feet tall. There are only a few of these old Redwoods and Douglas fir left.

The fish need deep, dark, dense cool forests with big old trees to survive.

After years of over-logging, eighty percent (80%) of Louisiana Pacific lands in Greenwood Creek contain only 11 inch to 15.9 inch diameter trees. Another ten percent (10%) is in even smaller trees. Only 2-3% contains trees of 24 inch diameter or greater with good wildlife habitat. And only 8% of L.P. lands in Greenwood Creek has any Redwood forest left. Yet Louisiana Pacific is still being permitted to log these lands - far beyond the forest's ability to recover. The fish clearly can not recover in these conditions.

Yet another L.P. logging plan in this two-watershed region is about to be approved, so L.P. can log the last significant Redwood Forest on L.P. lands in Greenwood Creek (Timber Harvest Plan 1-98-042 MEN).

On top of all this, two very old Louisiana Pacific logging plans from 1989 have just been approved by the California Department of Forestry, in March 1998 (Timber Harvest Plans 1-89-100 and 1-89-145 MEN). These logging plans lie to the north of Greenwood Creek and Elk Creek, in the Albion River, in an area called "Enchanted Meadow," a forest the local community has been fighting to protect for ten years.

Hundreds of people were arrested during protests in the mid-1990s, trying to protect this beautiful place. Louisiana Pacific Corporation sued one hundred and twenty of the protestors, trying to punish them and frighten them. They tried to take the houses of poor people. They tried to ruin their lives. This is what L-P did to Enchanted Meadow:

But some of the trees still stand to this day - after numerous protests and lawsuits at great cost to local people. These few remaining trees are about to be logged - ten years later.

Louisiana Pacific Corporation recently announced the sale of all of its timber lands in California. These timber lands have been ravaged by L.P. logging, and all of their forest resources such as the fisheries, are in jeopardy. The reason for the sale is that these lands are no longer productive. So why are all these NEW clearcutting and other high-impact logging plans being rapidly approved by the State of California?

To avoid possible regulation by the federal government to protect the endangered fisheries? A political pay-off? Part of the L-P land sale deal? We don't know. All we know is that these terribly hammered timber lands are going to get hammered again - unless people put a stop to it.


Write letters. Local people who live near these watersheds have sent hundreds of public comment letters and petitions on these logging plans - which have fallen on deaf ears. We need help convincing government officials and politicians to stop this outrageous destruction of our forest and fisheries.

Write to...
Governor Pete Wilson
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
tel. (916) 445-2841
fax (916) 445-4633
Richard Wilson, Director
California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection
1416 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
tel. (916) 653-7772
fax (916) 653-4171
California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection
135 Ridgeway Ave./P.O. Box 670
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
tel. (707) 576-2959
fax (707) 576-2608
Mark A. Suwyn, C.E.O.
Louisiana Pacific Corporation
111 S.W. Fifth Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97204
tel. (503) 221-0800
Mention the following Timber Harvest Plans:

THP 1-89-100 MEN (Enchanted Meadow, Albion River)
THP 1-89-145 MEN (Enchanted Meadow, Albion River)
THP 1-97-445 MEN (Elk Creek, where fish DO exist)

THP 1-97-352 MEN (Greenwood Creek clearcut)
THP 1-98-019 MEN (Elk Creek clearcut)
THP 1-98-042 MEN (Greenwood Creek - last of the Redwoods)

Contact political candidates in the coming state elections and ask them what their position is on Louisiana Pacific clearcutting in Mendocino County.

Tell them to STOP the clearcutting of Mendocino County!

This fish DOES exist. Somehow it and others of its kind have migrated back to Elk Creek, despite all that we humans have done to destroy its home. We owe it an equal effort in return - to protect and restore the place where it was born.

For questions and comments please e-mail us!

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