The Coastal Post - June, 1997

Forest Protection Initiative Needed

Currently, California State Law allows any private landowner to harvest timber on their property without having to get approvals from the local county. All the owner needs to do is file a Timber Harvest Plan (THP) with the California Dept. Of Forestry (CDF) and thirty-five days later, he can commence cutting down trees. There are no requirements for geological surveys, traffic impact studies, or environmental reports. Unfortunately, 70% of the landslides and forest fires which occur in the California Coastal region are the direct result of shoddy logging practice.

Residents and government officials may make "recommendations" to the CDF, but the CDF is under no obligation to incorporate them into the THP and, in fact, routinely ignores erosion hazards, potential watershed damage, and property damage which will occur due to logging. The CDF has an economic interest to promote timber harvest and approve as many THPs as possible.

Neighbors for Responsible Logging (NRL) in Santa Cruz County is working to place an initiative on the November 1998 California ballot which would amend the Forest Protection Act to require county approval of any THP which is located in their jurisdiction. This would allow public input into a process which certainly is of grave concern to local residents.

We are interested in recruiting groups and individuals to help in gathering signatures for this initiative. We need to collect 500,000 signatures by June 20, 1998. We ask that anyone who is interested in volunteering contact us at our website www.dasb.fhda.edu\forest\, or write NRL at 21884 Bear Creek Road Los Gatos, CA 95030, or telephone (408) 231-9863.

Elise Moss

Neighbors for Responsible Logging