Richardsons Grove:Widening Our Minds / Widening Our Roads?
Albino Redwood Twig
From Avenue of the Giants
Redwood needles aren’t always green. And environmentalists sometimes don’t have their facts straight. For those of us who consider ourselves conservationists this hurts. We want “our side” to be right all the time. But that just isn’t the case.
The controversy over widening Richardsons Grove* climbed to new heights today with this ad on Craig’s List. The ad while touting some of our favorite Southern Humboldt protest activities like tabling, guitar playing, and drum circles gets a major fact wrong. The ad bellows, “Cal Trans is planning on cutting down some of the Old Growth in Richardson Grove.”
Breathlessly, the rhetoric continues, “The trees are scheduled for removal on June 10, 2009. Be there! Carpools are organizing… It is all about defending the environment, …Massive Protest! … Come out and show you care …”
The ad concludes passionately, “These trees have been protected since the 1920’s. It is not right to cut them down,… these protections should preserve these Old Growth Trees for our children and our grandchildren. Future generations should be able to appreciate this great environment, it should not be ruined by a single generation of uncaring, unethical people! Help us defend the rainforests of California!”
If I didn’t know better, I’d be there myself.
I grew up playing under the tall shaggy trees and among the wide leafed ferns. I love all the redwood groves but Richardson’s is a special place where I passed from childhood to young womanhood and I want my grandchildren to enjoy the incredible beauty, too.
But, the ad has the facts wrong, CALTRANS isn’t cutting any old growth trees. In fact, Kim Floyd, the project manager told me categorically, “Absolutely, no old growth will be cut!”
According to Floyd, around 29 trees will be taken in the park. Half of those are less than 7 inches in diameter at breast height.
Now, stand up. put you hand out at breast height and look at the distance between thumb tip and little finger tip–mine is 8 inches. That is the size of the tree.
I’m always a little sad when a tree must be removed–whether to build a home or provide firewood or to allow a road to go through. I can just about guarantee though that all of us reading this use wood in some form–and the trees used were probably much bigger than these described. The largest tree to be taken is a 24 inch in diameter tan oak. That is a nice sized tree–probably about the size of one of the ones used to build your house… .
If you don’t believe in cutting trees ever, then maybe you should be protesting. But if like the rest of us, you live in wood homes and write at wooden tables, you might want to broaden your mind past incorrect rhetoric even when put out by people you normally side with. I almost always vote environmental and follow the environmental line but this time the people against the widening haven’t gotten their facts straight.
It might be easy to dismiss CALTRANS as a faceless corporation filled with “uncaring, unethical people” but I’m married to a man who works there. I know how he stays up nights, pacing the floor, figuring out ways to minimize the harm to the environment, save us tax payers money, and balance the needs of different interests.
Kim Floyd, the project manager for the Richardson’s Grove project, struggles through the same process as my husband. She and many different people have worked months to minimize the impact on Richardsons Grove.
Like me, if you consider yourself concerned with environment, you probably value input from many diverse points of view and you value having an open mind to consider all the facts and opinions by different people–even if they work for CALTRANS.
If that is the case, take a moment and consider…
Just the Facts ma’am: Kim Floyd (and the Environmental Impact Report) informs me
- Caltrans plans in the park to remove around 29 trees
- Altogether, Caltrans plans to remove up to 87
- They will remove only 2 redwoods in the park– one 6 inches in diameter, the other 7 inches
- 20 of the 29 trees proposed for removal in the park are 4 – 12 inches in diameter and half of those trees are tan oaks.
- The largest tree proposed for removal in the park is a 24-inch diameter tan oak.
- The next two largest are a broad leaf maple and a douglas fir at 22 inches in diameter each
- Outside the park, over half the trees to be removed are tan oak, 4-10 inches in diameter
- Outside the park, 30% are douglas fir 4 -24 inches in diameter
- Outside the park, seven redwoods would be removed from 4 -16 inches in diameter
The Environmental Impact Report is not impossible to plow through–though, at 192 pages, it isn’t a quick read. (Please pay particular attention to photo 7a, 7b, table 8, and figure 8 ) but it shows the level of thought and care that Kim and the designers have put into this project. Here is a small sample quote, “The top 4 inches of duff (redwood tree litter) shall be removed, stored at a staging area location and subsequently spread out on exposed disturbed soils within the park boundary. …Ferns and other shrubs will be salvaged when possible and replanted onsite.”
Let’s widen our minds a bit. Let’s see the proposal for what it is– an adjustment in the road line that will reduce pollution throughout the area by reducing the number of truck loads that need to come through here. And it will help consumers and small business owners by minimizing their costs.
Some of the opponents to this plan are people I respect but when I hear them say things like “Richardsons Grove will be ruined…” I know they’ve misunderstood the facts. Take a moment to read the brochure (or take several hours to read the EIR.) I think you’ll be reassured.
. . . . .
Kim Floyd asked me to be sure and include her contact information. She wants to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Kim Floyd, Project Manager
She’s a very nice woman who is working hard at a difficult and politically sensitive project. Even if you disagree, please accord her the respect that any sincere, hardworking person deserves.
*To review:What is this Widening and why do some people want it? Right now the alignment of Highway 101 through Richardsons Grove doesn’t allow for the longer, more fuel efficient and cleaner STAA trucks to access Humboldt County from the south. This adds to pollution and fuel waste and increases costs to consumers and business owners.
Further Links: both pro and con so you can make up your own mind.