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WALL: Time tells of the Headwaters tragedy

Nicholas Wilson nwilson at mcn.org
Thu Oct 1 23:22:40 EST 1998

larryc at teleport.com (Larry Caldwell) WROTE:

>In article <329_9809232200 at extra.lafn.org>, ay903 at extra.lafn.org says...
>> HEADLINE: The Redwoods Weep;
>> In California's ancient forests, the clash between industry and
>> idealism culminates in tragedy
>> BYLINE: John Skow

>>    To anyone who has spent a night in Headwaters Grove, awakening at
>> dawn to hear the cries of marbled murrelets, the endangered seabirds
>> that nest in the huge trees, and to watch the great trunks take form
>> in the lightening mist, the idea of owning such a place is daft. But,
>> yes, if the Deal goes through, Maxxam won't own Headwaters. Won't cut
>> it. And California will have a beautiful new tree museum.

>> flourished like mushrooms in the timid Clinton years. They are
>> intended to mollify the rage of landowners against the Endangered
>> Species Act.  Well, they might, because they immunize loggers, miners
>> and the like against ESA violations. It is illegal to kill a marbled
>> murrelet or wreck its habitat, but if you should do so while
>> conducting your rightful business, that is an incidental taking. The
>> "Oops!" factor takes over, and you are in the clear. The HCP filed by
>> Pacific Lumber will immunize the company for 50 years.

>Interesting focus on the m.m.  This is a funny little bird that flies up 
>to 50 miles inland to lay a single egg on a bare horizontal branch 100 
>feet up a tree.  They don't build a nest, and only lay one egg a year, so 
>if you cut the tree down you eliminate the reproduction of a nesting pair 
>for that year.

>Regs are that you can't cut murrelet habitat during the nesting season.  
>Once the chicks are gone, you can go back to cutting.  Murres are good 
>flyers, and will just find another tree next year.  I doubt John Skow 
>could tell the difference between a murrelet and a loon.  He sure didn't 
>hear any in the woods this time of year.  

>We have marbled murrelets here in Oregon too.  As long as you don't 
>destroy the eggs, the bird does just fine.  AFAIK, Pacific Lumber wasn't 
>violating any ESA provisions regarding the bird.

>-- Larry

In fact Pacific Lumber WAS in violation of the rules. They
were cited by the California Dept. of Forestry on Friday
9/25 for two violations in the logging operation in which
David Chain was killed. One of the violations was operating
too close to a Marbled Murrelet protection area. The other
was operating outside the time boundaries stated in the

The Marbled Murrelet's nesting needs are more complicated
that stated by Larry. They nest only on the large,
moss-covered limbs of old-growth. There is less and less of
that left.

Check out the following news story, which was lifted from

Tragic Incident in the Forest
Pacific Lumber cited for illegal logging at site of David
Chain's death 

by Mark Bult, <mark at enews.org> -- 09-30-98 

The California Department of Forestry on Friday issued a
citation to the Pacific Lumber Co. for violating state
forest practice rules during the logging operation at
Grizzly Creek, where Earth First! activist David "Gypsy"
Chain was killed September 17.

Chain, 24, was killed by a tree felled by a logger while
activists were documenting illegal logging on Maxxam/Pacific
Lumber land near Grizzly Creek State Park. They were using a
protest technique called "cat and mouse," in which forest
defenders confront a logging crew in the woods and engage
them in dialog, urging them to stop cutting. Often the aim
is simply to make loggers aware that there are humans in the
immediate vicinity, typically causing the fallers to stop
their cutting because of the risk of injury.

In this case it didn't stop them.

Videotape released by Earth First! at a press conference the
day after the incident cast doubt on the timber company's
claims that the loggers didn't know the activists were in
the forest. On the tape, PL employee A.E. Ammons curses and
yells at the protesters. "I wish I had my fucking pistol,"
he is heard to yell.

"I saw a huge Doug fir coming down and it landed
approximately six feet away from me," EF! activist Jeremy
Jensen told reporters at the press conference. Jensen was
near Chain when he was killed.

Earth First! members put their bodies in harm's way--in the
way of timber production efforts--when all other means of
protest or legal recourse have failed. This can take the
form of a treesit, in which activists inhabit a tree that is
slated to be cut down, or sometimes a lockdown, where
activists physically lock themselves to immobile cars,
logging equipment, and gates, preventing crews from entering
or leaving a logging area. "Cat and mouse" is another
favorite "backwoods" technique.

EF! is calling for an independent investigation based on the
fact that the Humboldt County Sheriffs, currently the agency
investigating the incident, "is not a neutral agency."

The Sheriffs Department is being sued in federal court by
Earth First! activists whose eyes were swabbed with pepper
spray last year during a nonviolent sit-in in Humboldt. 

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