David Kaftal discusses the current (Summer, 1999) situation for the California Redwoods

California Redwoods

David Kaftal on the current state of the California Redwoods

Written Summer, 1999

reprinted with permission of the author

Incoming email to Russell D. Hoffman, Summer, 1999:

Dear Russell,


I wanted to thank you for plugging the plight of the Redwoods up here in Humboldt County. The situation is really a sordid mess, and a lot worse than it was in 1996 when you wrote that article. You really need to update it, a lot has happened in the past three years.

Pacific Lumber really trashed the old growth in Headwaters Forest before recently selling a few groves to the state of California for an exhorbitant sum, particularly considering that Pacific Lumber (a formerly privately-owned company which had been a model of sustainable practices but which was then taken over back in the 80s in a hostile move by the Maxxam Corporation, funded by illegal junkbonds which they paid off by "liquidating" Pacific Lumber's "assets;" i. e., clearcutting the old growth and raiding the employees' pension fund to boot) should really be paying huge fines to the public instead of the other way around.

That was the backdrop behind whatever carnage you saw back in '96, but it has really accelerated since then, and the huge raw open clear cuts that we now have up here are just unbelievable. The forests don't come back after that kind of abuse, and even where there is second or third growth, there's no old virgin growth redwood ecosystem left. It's not just spotted owls--they're important because they're what's called an "indicator species"--when they're in trouble, so is everyone else who lives in their habitat. Just since you were up here most of Headwaters, the last great ancient redwood wilderness, has been destroyed. Salmon Creek in Headwaters was crystal clear when I saw it in the early or mid-90s, but when I went back more recently it was badly silted and there were huge expanses of clearcut bordering the grove. What had been an large intact redwood wilderness has become a few isolated groves, some of them with logging roads punched into them, surrounded by unimaginable destruction.

The silting of the watercourses and heating up of the water as a result of overlogging are killing off most of the salmon that are left, so now they've approved killing sea lions around here at taxpayer expense to "protect" the salmon instead of doing anything about the real causes of the problem, like irresponsible logging practices and excessive amounts of water being diverted from our rivers.

Anyway, there's my update from the front.

David Kaftal


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End of incoming email to Russell D. Hoffman, Summer, 1999

This statement has been presented by The Animated Software Company and represents the views of the author.

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First placed online July 10th, 1999.
Last modified July 10th, 1999.
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