To save the forest |

To save the forest

Eileen JoyceMadrone (left) and Otter (right), supporters of a tree sit, talk to customers outside BriarPatch Monday about the new effort to stop logging along the Pacific Crest Trail.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A tree sitter is perched in a giant Douglas fir alongside the Pacific Crest Trail in Sierra County and won’t come down until Sierra Pacific Industries agrees not to log the tree and meets other demands.

That’s according to environmental activists who set up a table Monday outside Grass Valley’s BriarPatch Market and collected funds for the tree-sitting effort.

“I’m not letting them cut these trees,” said one activist, who declined to give his name.

Tim Feller, area manager for SPI, said this is the thanks the timber company gets for granting an easement to allow hikers to use the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada.

“This is exactly what most private landowners are so fearful of,” he said.

Language that established the Pacific Crest Trail emphasized timber companies’ right to grow and harvest trees, but the activists apparently don’t care about that, Feller said.

The logging is part of the Milton Creek Timber Harvest plan, an SPI proposal to cut 2,880 acres of its land, including 60 acres of clear-cuts.

Feller said SPI “carefully marked the trees along the trail to minimize the … impact as best we could.”

But the activists praised the beauty of the grove they’re trying to save near Milton Creek.

“It’s just a magical place,” said “Otter” – the alias used by a Nevada City man at the fund-raising table. He estimated the Douglas fir – which the activists have named “Uno” – is 600 years old.

If a logging company climber came after the tree sitter, the sitter would go to the very top of the tree and lock a U-shaped bicycle lock around his or her neck and the tree trunk – making removal impossible, the activists said.

The activists, who have no formal names, declined to identify the tree sitter.

The trees are to be logged by helicopter, but that may not occur this fall because “we’re not sure about the availability of helicopters,” Feller said.

Asked if protesters could make it through the winter, he said, “It snows an awful lot there. It gets very cold at night.”

The activists’ demands of SPI include 1,000-foot buffers near the trail; no logging of old growth forests; no use of herbicides after logging; no clear-cuts; and larger buffers, or areas without logging,

around streams.

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