Protests continued every weekend in December
Dec. 1999, S.F. We continued to protest every weekend in December. The holiday fervor was capped by Gaptivists hanging a giant banner over a Gap billboard on Union Square: "Save Our Redwoods! Boycott the Gap!" ...It hung there for two days.

San Francisco Bay Guardian
December 2, 1998 -
Boycott the Gap
THE SONS of Don Fisher, the Gap founder who has become one of San Francisco's modern robber barons, are taking the family tradition up north. Bob and John Fisher used their dad's money to buy up 235,000 acres in Mendocino Countyand now they're logging it to death.

Mendocino Redwood Company, owned by the Fisher brothers, is clear-cutting the land, which was severely damaged by the previous owner; Louisiana Pacific.

MRC says it plans to be a responsible environmental steward, but the company's logging plan suggests otherwise. According to the plan, logging in the least despoiled areas of the forest will proceed apace: the only areas where cutting will be slower are the ones that are most damaged. That's not a conservation plan - its a bottom-line-first-and-the-hell-with-the-environment business plan.

So environmentalists are pushing a boycott of Gap stores, including Banana Republic and Old Navy. They're demanding that the company stop clear-cutting and old-growth logging, stop logging in winter, stop spraying herbicides, and establish a recovery program for the forest.

Gap Inc. spokespeople are acting like they're the innocent victims-they say Mendocino Redwood is a completely separate company. But you can be sure that, if logging activities in northern California cut into the Fisher family's holidayseason bottom line, the Gap kids will pull out fast.

Do your Christmas shopping somewhere else.

San Francisco Bay Guardian
December 2, 1998 -
Regeneration Gap
Activists call on shoppers to boycott the Gap

THOR SWIFT / Guardian
Chop Shop: Friends of the Forest activist Aaron Mitchell, dressed as a tree, hands out flyers urging shoppers to boycott the Gap, Banana Rupublic, and Old Navy Nov. 27. Boycotters hope to pressure the family of Gap chair Don Fisher to end unsustainable logging practices in Mendocino County.

SHOPPERS at San Francisco's Union Square the day after Thanksgiving were confronted by environmental activists urging them to boycott Gap Inc. stores. Boycott organizers hope to pressure the family of Gap founder Don Fisher to curtail logging on Mendocino County timberland.

Gap representatives have denied any connection between timber firm Mendocino Redwood Co. and Gap Inc. stores, which include Banana Republic and Old Navy as well as the Gap chain. But a letter obtained by the Bay Guardian confirms the Fisher family's involvement and says the family intends to use the lands responsibly -a claim environmentalists say is belied by MRC's logging practices.

MRC is owned by Sansome Partners, a private Fisher family investment firm headed by John Fisher, son of Gap chair Don (see "The Fisher King," 8/12/98). Six months ago MRC bought 235,000 acres of logged-over redwood lands that had been abandoned by logging company Louisiana Pacific (LP) and continued to clear-cut the lands, some of which are home to old-growth trees. The company has also begun spraying herbicides and logging in winter, which causes greater erosion, threatening marine life.

Friday's demonstrators carried painted likenesses of skeletons of marbled murrelets and coho salmonnorthern California species that are threatened by logging. Similar events took place in some 50 cities nationwide. Boycotters demand that MRC stop logging the last of the old growth, stop clear-cutting, stop all winter operations, stop spraying herbicides, withdraw the worst of its logging plans, and establish a recovery program gram for these seriously damaged forests.

Mary Pjerrou, president of the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance, told us the company is "defending some of the worst LP clear-cutting plans we've seen in five years."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends 300-foot no-logging zones on either side of redwood forest streams to protect the endangered coho salmon. Pjerrou told us MRC's plan calls for buffers of just 100 feet.

Pjerrou suggests that the company has plans for the land after the clearcutting is done. "This is the final liquidation of the forest-next its the real estate subdivision," she said.

Gap spokesperson Kristy Van Koughnet called the boycott "unfair and unfortunate."

"Gap Inc. and our stores are in no way affiliated with the Mendocino Redwood Company and their operations, 11 she told us. "John Fisher is the only member of the Fisher family who has any operational involvement with Mendocino Redwood Company." Another Gap spokesperson took the same position in a Nov. 28 article in the Satz Francisco Examiner.

John Fisher does not work for Gap Inc. But a letter from Gap executive vice president and chief operating officer Bob Fisher (also the son of Don), addressed to Mendocino County activists Linda Perkins and Bill Heil makes it clear that MRC is a project of (he Fisher family.

"Our family invested in Mendocino Redwood to pursue two equally weighted goals: first, to operate these lands with a high level of environmental stewardship, and second , to operate a successful business , " the Aug. 11 letter reads. "I view Mendocino Redwood as a chance to demonstrate that sustainable forestry and the operation of a successful business can both occur within the same company.... For this investment my family is further represented by my brother John."

Representatives of John Fisher referred us to MRC president Sandy Dean. Dean reiterated the company's good intentions. "We are moving towards certification- having an independent third party validate that the environmental practices on our land are exemplary," he told us.

MRC's Web site says the company is logging at a conservative rate-up to 2.5 percent of its holdings a year, or two-thirds of the 60 million board feet allowed for in LP's logging plan. But local activists say that the company is only logging at that lower level because much of the land is already devastated -and that MRC plans to concentrate its logging in less damaged areas.

"They're taking 40 million hoard feet this year. Twenty-five percent of that will come from the Albion watershed-which is 6 percent of their land base," Perkins, whose property abuts the company's Albion holdings, told us. "They're taking a disproportionate amount [from the Albion area] to bring us down to the level of their average holdings."

Former Mendocino County supervisor Norman L. de Vall attended the Union Square rally. He had high hopes for the boycott. "The society, and especially the younger generation, is ever more concerned about their future and the resource base," he told us. "The older generation has simply taken more than their share. Corporate America doesn't want to hear that they've taken more than their share."

For more information contact Save the Redwoods at (415) 731-9062 or (510) 548-2220 or go to or

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