Community Elders Arrested
Founders Of The Lost Coast League Protect Their Community; Now They Are In Handcuffs.
On June 10, 2019 Four Prominent Mattole residents–Michael Evenson, Ellen Taylor, David Simpson, and Jane Lapiner–were arrested trying to stop Humboldt Redwood Company from continuing logging operations on Rainbow Ridge, said the Lost Coast League. These community members have spent the last 40 year putting their heart souls creativity and hard work protecting the Mattole watershed. According to the CISION News Wire “When logging appeared imminent in 2018, the Lost Coast League (LCL) challenged HRC's "green" sustainability certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) by filing a formal complaint. FSC's auditors (SCS Global Services) found the complaint had merit in two areas: lack of a plan to designate and protect High Conservation Value Forests, and lack of a plan to phase out the widespread use of herbicides HRC uses routinely. LCL was assured by SCS Global’s founder, Dr. Hrubes, that logging would not happen until HRC completed its plans as required by SCS Global and delivered them to LCL for evaluation. "
Neither documents have been delivered to The Lost Coast League.
"We are shocked and disappointed that HRC would rush in to log these trees without fulfilling the promise of their FSC 'sustainability' audit," said Michael Evenson, Vice President of LCL. "Violating the terms of the audit should call into question the certification of their operations. This is an irreplaceable natural treasure."
Also brought to the public's attention by this logging is a re-examination of programs like HOME DEPOT’S that charge a premium price for lumber certified as sustainably sourced. "Claiming lumber from such sources to be sustainable," said long-time Mattole activist Jane Lapiner, "is cheating the consumer."
Activists observing the forest operations said that HRC has again hired the paramilitary-styled security company, Lear Asset Management of Ukiah, which employs tasers, dogs, drones, and night-vision goggles. This equipment is familiar to Lear personnel who are veterans of U.S. wars in the Middle East.
"HRC is wholly owned by the Fisher family, San Francisco real estate moguls that also own the GAP (Old Navy & Banana Republic). Though the Fishers claim to have serious environmental principles they have apparently given the go-ahead on this logging.” - Source : CISION News Wire
Not Just Any “Elders” Defending “Elders”
The individuals arrested have dedicated their lives and careers to restoring the Mattole Watershed and building community. After 45 years of restoration progress, and Tax Payer investment, the logging on Rainbow Ridge would set back the salmon restoration efforts by years. The area being cut now, has some of the steepest slopes above the Mattole River Valley. Once the soil and sediment is disturbed, runoff occurs during winter storms, sending tons of sediment down into the creeks and streams that lead to the Mattole River. As a result, streams are chocked and endangered Salmon habitat is destroyed. This is an area of Northern California directly above a massive Fault line. Earth quakes like the 5.6 felt on June 23, 2019 could cause landslides on the defrosted slopes, resulting in catastrophe for the Salmon breeding habitat down stream. All the public grants and tax payer dollars spent restoring this watershed would be wasted considering the grave impacts of the Rainbow Ridge project.
45 years of Restoration Recovery At Risk
Let’s not forget about How Upstream Logging effects the Salmon
1985 McNeal Lear Report : Mattole Salmon Restoration
The Elders arrested not only spearheaded several Restoration Groups and participated in hands on recovery of the Mattole Watershed and Salmon Runs, but they are individuals at the heart of the Mattole Valley community. Two members of the Group were original Diggers out of San Francisco. Playwright & Actor, David Simpson, and Choreographer & Director, Jane Lapiner collaborated many plays about environmental stewardship and climate change. One such play “Queen Salmon” preformed in the late 1990’s (throughout the Pacific North West) addresses the habitat loss still challenging salmon recovery. In the wake of logging on Rainbow Ridge, it is clear there is still much to be learned from their work.