FISHERS TO CLEARCUT THE LAST OLD GROWTH

The Fisher family of Gap, Inc., and their logging company, Mendocino Redwood, are about to destroy the last of the ancient forest in Greenwood Creek--with 15 strip clearcuts that will stair-step down an extremely steep ridge, ripping the heart out of the forest, fragmenting and eliminating precious Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl habitat, and further polluting an endangered Coho salmon fishery and Elk's town water supply with sediment. (CLICK HERE TO SEE A MAP OF THIS TERRIBLE CLEARCUTTING PLAN.)

They are also shredding something else - any credibility they might have had with the public that they want to be "good stewards of the land," as they so often repeat. (CLICK HERE FOR THE LETTER OF SANDY DEAN, President of the Fishers' logging company(MRC) which says that clearcutting this old growth forest will be a "lighter touch" upon the land (!) - and the GREENWOOD WATERSHED ASSOCIATION REBUTTAL.)

A citizens' group of forest lovers visited this special old growth forest in Greenwood Creek (near the town of Elk in Mendocino County, California), and found a wonderland of rare wildlife habitat, with at least a hundred trees of 200 to 600 years of age--trees that began growing back when Shakespeare was writing "Romeo and Juliet" (16 the Century) - at least - and may go back to Columbus's mistake (15th Century, wrong continent). They may be the last people to behold such a forest in this watershed. Here is what they found...


Entering a "late succession" or ancient forest, at the western edge of the logging plan (walking toward the bottom of Clearcut Unit G-1)...
 

This lovely spiraling tree exhibits the multi-layered canopy of an old growth forest (Between Clearcut Units G-1 and G-3)...

They found well over a dozen trees like this in Clearcut Unit G-1 alone, estimated to be 200 to 600 years old, including this tree of 5 feet in diameter and 250 feet high, on a south facing slope in very dry, semi-arid soil (Clearcut Unit G-1)...
 

The trunk of this magnificent redwood is 4 1/2 feet in diameter, and estimated to be at least 300 years old (in Clearcut Unit G-1)...

Endangered bird habitat...
 

Huge trees are growing on near-vertical slopes.

Walking under the tall trees...
 

Another example of the canopy (Clearcut Unit G-3)...

Dense branches providing ideal wildlife habitat (Clearcut Unit G-4)...
 

Endangered bird habitat...

Endangered bird habitat...
 

Three giant trees, downed woody debris (good wildlife habitat), and extremely steep slopes (Clearcut Unit G-1). Lots of downed woody debris was also noticed in Clearcut Unit G-2.

Clearcutting on these extremely steep slopes will result in loss of valuable topsoil-thousands of years in the making-landslides and dirt in the headwaters of salmon spawning streams.
 

Another huge redwood, with a nest in the top ­ see next photo (Clearcut Unit G-1)

Possibly an osprey nest ­ where there is one nest, there can be many more...(Clearcut Unit G-1)
 

Five redwoods estimated to be 150 to 250 years old (Clearcut Unit 1)...

This unusual tree, a magical union of an old Douglas fir and a madrone, was found near the plan site...
 

More tall trees, branches for birds and high canopy...

Three old redwoods estimated to be 200 to 250 years old, downed woody debris (Clearcut Unit G-1A, west facing, very wet environment)...
 

Another giant...

And another...
 

And another...

THP 1-95-315 MEN Amendment No. 10. This is a Timber Harvest Plan map (click map image to see full-size map). It tells you the story of the planned shredding of this forest with 15 clearcuts of 1.5 to 2.5 acres each. The line at the top of the map is the Greenwood-Philo Road. The town of Elk is seven miles to the west (left side of map). Greenwood Creek - a salmon and steelhead stream--is right at the bottom tip of the plan, in close proximity to Clearcut Unit G-1 which cuts along the south portion of the ridge. The town of Philo is about ten miles to the east (right).
Some of these strip clearcuts cross watercourses (particularly in the lower half of the map) and are associated with unstable areas (marked by an upside "U" shape with short cross-hatching inside of it ­ some are not visible here). Watercourses are marked with lines broken with two dots, three dots or one dot. One dot is a Class I fish-bearing watercourse. The Class II stream in this plan is misclassified as non-fish bearing in the lower reach. The main stem of Greenwood Creek is visible in the lower left-hand corner ­ right below the plan area)

A new dirt road was cut all the way down the ridgeline on the eastern border (right) of the THP. The new road is already falling apart. (See below for road failures and landslide photos.) More new road will be cut between G-9 and G-11. An old road is marked down the west side of the THP.





The original THP 1-95-315, filed in 1995, called for "commercial thinning" and part of it was to be helicopter logged-a relatively light logging plan. It was a compromise plan, coming out of the town logging protests in 1990, called "Breakfast First!", when 17 townspeople got arrested for blocking logging trucks. The community sued Louisiana Pacific for damaging the town water supply and other resources, and got this lower-impact plan, in 1995, for all their blood, sweat and tears-one of the few low-impact logging plans Louisiana Pacific ever filed. Now the Fishers have added Amendment No. 10, drastically changing the plan to strip clearcuts-in order to take the last old growth out of Greenwood Creek.

Clearcut Unit 14 (hidden by a mistaken cross-hatch area that was to be tractor-logged in the previous version of this plan) is reported to be a lush environment, as is G-4. Not all the units were visited, but most were seen from the upper road to contain substantial forest.

A thousand year old tree...

Clearcut Unit 15 was later discovered to contain a tree estimated to be a 1,000 years old. The Mendocino Redwood Company forester was persuaded to mark this tree for retention ­but it will stand in lone majesty amidst a devastating clearcut. Isolated redwoods sometimes become diseased and die when their interconnected underground root system is harmed. (Starhawk teaches that there is really only one redwood tree in a forest of redwoods-the visible redwoods spring from one massive root system that is millenia old. Redwoods have very shallow roots for their size, and hold each other up, and hold the hillside in place by binding together underground in the root systems.)

PHOTO LIBRARY OF BARN GULCH (GREENWOOD CREEK) - THP 1-95-315 MEN (Amendment #10)
Click the folders below to see the photos

mark

maryrose

maryt

redwoodm

norman

Fishers' "Green-washing":
Sandy Dean says this is not an old growth "stand"...

[Click here for Sandy Dean letter]



These folks say otherwise...

And so does the Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap

[Click here for Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap commentary]



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