Editorial: Reserving the Redwoods
San Francisco Chronicle
May 2, 2008
The 145-year era of Pacific Lumber may be eking slowly and painfully toward a close, but the fate of more than 200,000 acres of Douglas fir and redwood forests in Humboldt County remains – maddeningly – uncertain.
After 15 bitter months of shifting alliances, legal wrangling and mediation, the multiple parties tangled up in the timber company’s bankruptcy may finally close a deal in a matter of days. Unfortunately, in the parties’ haste to conclude proceedings, they appear to have forgotten to make the public one promise: that whatever deal gets struck, it will come with a conservation easement that permanently limits development and manages the forest in a sustainable way.
A conservation easement would preserve this forest’s beauty and majesty for generations to come – and it needn’t have negative impacts on shareholders’ bottom lines, either. The Nature Conservancy is eager to work with the new owners to buy an easement at fair market rates, making the idea a win-win for everyone.
“It’s important for the local community, for the future of that particular forest and for the future of sustainable timber resources,” said Jordan Peavey, a spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy. “To us it makes perfect sense.”
It makes perfect sense to us, too, and maybe that’s why it’s going to be difficult to get one.
Fortunately, these trees have a long history with environmentalists and activists – remember Julia “Butterfly” Hill, and her two-year sitting stint in an ancient tree she named Luna? That demonstration took place in Pacific Lumber’s trees. While we would not recommend that anyone try to duplicate Hill’s tactics, the future of this forest is certainly important enough for concerned local citizens to make their preferences clear in more conventional ways. When the deal to liquidate Pacific Lumber has finally been done, we urge the new owners to promptly agree to a conservation easement.Posted in PALCO | Tagged HRC, MRC |