Appeals to the Fisher family result in "green-washing" campaign...


On September 28, several watershed and environmental groups in Mendocino County, along with wildlife, fisheries and toxics experts--some 40 people in all--met with John Fisher, who is in charge of the Fisher family logging investment. We gave Mr. Fisher a four-hour presentation on the condition of the forests that his family had purchased from Louisiana Pacific, and the reasons for our strenuous objections to clearcutting, herbicide spraying, logging the last big trees in these cut-over forest lands, and winter operations (high impact on endangered fisheries).

We also objected to the behavior of the Fishers' logging company, Mendocino Redwoods, in regard to a public interest lawsuit that the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance had filed against four of Louisiana Pacific's worst logging plans--plans that Mendocino Redwood Company is aggressively defending and seeking to implement.

One of the presenters, the Kaisen Gulch group, asked for a small conservation land trust to protect some of the very last big trees in the Albion River watershed. Mr. Fisher's response was, "Who's going to pay for it?"

That answer pretty much sums up the Fisher family response to our appeals. (Note: The Fishers possess a fortune from Gap clothings stores reported to be over eleven billion dollars, and are the primary investors in this logging venture.)

Our positions on these issues are detailed in the letter to the Fisher family that appears below. The letter was presented to John Fisher at the meeting. There has been no response from the Fishers or their logging company, except for an aggressive public relations campaign in defense of clearcutting, herbicide spraying, logging the last big trees and winter operations.


Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
tel (707) 877-3405, fax 877-3887 P.O. Box 90, Elk, CA 95432 E-mail: pirohuck@mcn.org



September 28, 1998

To: Fisher family, Sansome Forest Partners and Mendocino Redwood Company

Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC), on behalf of its investors, the Fisher family, founders of the Gap clothing stores, has made the following settlement offer to petitioners in the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance lawsuit involving four Louisiana Pacific (now MRC) logging plans: 1) MRC will abandon the 1989 Enchanted Meadow logging plans in the Albion River; 2) MRC will proceed with the clearcutting plan in Greenwood Creek; 3) MRC will proceed with the current CDF re-circulation of the clearcutting plan in Elk Creek, which is occurring during litigation; 4) MRC will contribute an amount of $7,500 to $10,000 to RCWA's legal costs; 5) MRC will contribute $5,000 to restoration work.

The petitioners in the RCWA lawsuit wish to inform MRC that they reject this settlement offer and will not consider any settlement offer that involves a "trade" of Enchanted Meadow for clearcutting in Greenwood Creek, nor any proposed trade of one watershed for another.

The signators to this letter stand solidly in support of petitioners' rejection of this or any similar settlement offer. We furthermore endorse the following statement of facts with regard to L-P forest lands:

Statement of Facts:

Conditions for negotiations and discussions:

The lawsuit petitioners in Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance v. CDF, and the north coast environmental community, would like to begin discussions with MRC regarding the fate of the coast Redwood forest.

These discussions cannot begin while MRC is clearcutting Redwood forests, and logging old growth, and while MRC is actively seeking to implement logging plans that local groups and communities consider to be particularly illegal and damaging.

If MRC wishes to enter good faith discussions with environmental groups and affected communities, MRC must make the following good faith gestures: 1) withdraw THPs 445, 352 and 100 & 145, and pay petitioners' attorney's fees; 2) suspend operations on the Kaisen Gulch plan and begin assessment for a conservation easement; 3) stop all clearcutting operations; 4) stop all winter operations; 5) stop logging the Mendocino coast's meager portion of old growth trees; and 6) stop herbicide spraying.

"Mendocino Old Growth," as it is called, means trees of approximately 150 years of age, that began growing just before the era of logging began. There are precious few trees left in this age group on L-P forest lands. There may be a few scattered old growth trees between 150 and 250 years of age, which must also be protected. As for the once magnificent coast Redwoods that could grow to 2,000 years of age and older, there are none left.

MRC has stated that it needs to remove 40 million board feet per year from its forest lands. Many independent foresters and other experts maintain that MRC forest lands can only be feasibly and sustainably logged at a rate of 20 million board feet per year, considering their depleted condition. These forests and their associated resources cannot take the level of logging that MRC proposes. They will cease to be forests, and will become (and are becoming) tree farms with no wildife and no fish.

Attached you will find a Petition that has been signed by over a thousand people during its first two weeks of circulation. The Petition continues in circulation and is spreading nationwide and worldwide, including signatores from as far away as the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Mexico and Finland. The Petition asks you to place all of these depleted Redwood forests into a conservation land trust, and to employ loggers, fisherfolk and other displaced workers in restoring forests and fisheries. Many watershed group members and concerned citizens feel that this is the best solution.

If you would like to begin discussions with environmental groups and affected north coast communities, we would be glad to facilitate such discussions provided that you agree to the six good faith gestures stated above.

Sincerely,

Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
The Mendocino Environmental Center
Forests Forever
Bay Area Action
Sierra Club Regional Conservation Committee
The Kaisen Gulch group
Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap
Guardians of Elk Creek Old Growth
Friends of Enchanted Meadow
Friends of Ten Mile
Big River Watershed Council
RCWA Forest Practice Committee