Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) is at it again, planning to clearcut forested areas in Nevada County. The Wash Timber Harvest Plan (THP) outlines their plans to engage in industrial forestry on 160 forested acres five miles from Nevada City, on land right next to South Yuba State Park. According to the local Forest Issues Group, the THP “contains significant errors, contradictory information, omissions, and misinformation,” which “should have made this document legally inadmissible to the timber harvest plan review process.”
First, for those who don’t know about SPI, it is the largest private landowner in California. Its overall long-range plan is to clearcut 70% of its holdings on a rolling basis in order to create “even-aged forests,” that is, tree farms. This involves clearcutting intact forest ecosystems, applying herbicides to prevent the re-growth of native species, and then planting stands of commercial timber that can be harvested like carrots. Their plans are well underway.
Industrial tree farms do not provide the habitat needed by the diversity of species that inhabit regular forest ecosystems. Chief Seattle said, “When the animals are gone, humans will die of a great loneliness of spirit.” As our natural world is diminished, I recognize that loneliness of spirit in myself.
Today is the last day of public comments. (Send comments to email@example.com) Few members of the public have the technical expertise to read and understand the complexities of forestry law, with its details, classifications, and regulations. I don’t know these specifics, so my comments will not be technical. Many thanks to the Forest Issues Group, who sent a letter addressing SPI’s questionable motivations for purchase (just two years ago) and the details (including omissions and apparent illegalities) of the Timber Harvest Plan.
The above photo was taken outside of Nevada City, beyond Cascade Shores. A couple of years ago, a group of us went out for a ceremony of Amends and Healing for Mother Earth. We planted seeds, sang songs, and read the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. I hope that the community asserts its power to protect the 160 acres in the Wash Timber Harvest Plan. Whether this blog post or my comments have any bearing on the decision, they demonstrate my refusal to simply stand by while the machine of ecological devastation rolls on.
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