Man Protesting Logging Rainbow Ridge Describes Ordeal

Protestors are locked down at Monument Gate.

Protestors locked down at Monument Gate today. [Photo provided by protestors]

Today, two protestors locked down at Monument Gate southwest of Rio Dell to stop heavy equipment from being brought in to log Rainbow Ridge after a tripod used to block the access road was removed. One of the protesters at the tripod was arrested and another fled into the woods.

Tripod and vehicle used by Lear Asset logging protest

Tripod and vehicle used by Lear Asset Management. [Photo provided by protesters]

Yesterday, personnel from Lear Asset Management removed the tripod that was perched over the road to impede access, according to protestors. Cowote (similar to coyote) Pete, a protestor who didn’t want to give his legal name, said he had been marooned in the pod since Sunday when two of his companions were held at taser point by Lear personnel until members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office eventually arrived and took them into custody.

The protesters say they are there to stop logging by the Humboldt Redwood Company of an untouched forest of old growth Douglas Fir. They say, “Rainbow Ridge area is the most seismically active region in the continental U.S. and is vital habitat for rare and endangered species such as the Pacific fisher, Coho salmon, Northern goshawk, Golden eagle, Northern spotted owl, and a large distinctive type of old-growth-dependent medicinal fungus, the agarikon. The area contains over 1100 acres of ancient Douglas fir and hardwoods.”

Pete told us that around 2:15 p.m. yesterday, he had moved across the rope to a tree anchoring the tripod when Lear personnel began attempting to climb into it with a ladder. He said that he was told they were coming to remove him for his own safety.

“They gave me a 30 minute ultimatum,” Pete said. “Paul [Trouette the owner of Lear Asset Management] told me basically ‘We’re taking you down because you are dehydrated. It is taking you six seconds to pee.’ Then I realized they were observing everything.”

This made Pete frustrated, he explained. “They were creating a situation where I was sleep deprived and running out of water and then telling me that those meant I needed to be rescued.”

Pete said, “When they gave me that ultimatum, they were starting to take down the anchor rope.”

Pete said he told them, “I am standing on a skinny little branch and the traverse was what was keeping me from falling…I’m like in the air. The rope is my only connection to being alive.”

They didn’t stop, according to Pete. “They said if I get hurt it was my own fault,” he explained. “I felt that the disregard for my safety had reached a point they were willing to hurt me. I got jittery. I [was] in a dangerous situation. I was starting to panic a little bit.”

He said the guards had frightened him from the first time they showed up with tasers on Sunday. He felt one of his fellow protestors had been in danger of getting shot with one of the tasers. “I saw the red dots line up on his chest,” Pete said. “I’ve been in some protests where people are getting tased. It’s no good. It’s horrible.”

Pete said over the days since the Lear personnel had been there he had talked to them. “I do respect them in some ways,” he explained. “I don’t believe that any one of them personally wanted me to get hurt, but I believed them when they said they were going to follow their orders and do what it takes to get [me] down.”

He added, “There are good places in these people’s hearts but when they are under orders…they are military.”

After they gave him the ultimatum, Pete said he started to hurriedly pack up his belongings. What he knew, but he doesn’t think the guards knew was that there was a woman protester in the tree, too. Pete climbed down to her and told her they should try to escape.

Choking up, Pete said she told him, “I don’t think I am going to make it. You just need to go.”

Quietly, he began moving down the tree.

“I knew they had one guy, Frank, under the tree,” Pete told us. “He was one of the nicer ones. But I knew he would do the job if he had to.” Over the time the Lear team was there, he and Frank had chatted and although Pete wouldn’t give his name, Frank began calling him Bob.

Scared that dropping the tripod could lead to him plummeting to his death, Pete described rapidly rappelling down the tree. “Descending,” he said, “descending.” He paused and added in a shaky voice, “I really did feel like I was in danger.”

Pete said Frank saw him reach the ground and called, “Hey, Bob, where you going?”

Pete said he’s not sure he answered. “I wish I’d said good-bye,” he told us. “I ran like a hunted animal. That’s how I felt when I saw my friends getting rounded up [Sunday] with tasers.”

According to Pete, one of the Lear guards had a Belgium Malinois. The guard spoke to it in German which made Pete think it was a trained attack dog. Now he was worried, “This dog could be coming after me at any moment. I thought I could hear them coming for me.” So he says he ran until he was exhausted.

“I wallowed in a little creek once,” he said. Eventually, he was able to make contact with other protestors and somebody rendezvoused with him and picked him up.

The woman protester saw Lear personnel take down the tripod. They eventually learned she was tehre. They gave her an ultimatum to come down or be extracted. She was arrested.

“She’s doing okay,” Pete told us. “She returned to civilization before I did.”

Pete said the experience changed him. “I feel very resolved to continue this struggle. The Douglas Fir has been depleted so intensely on this coastline that this may be the largest privately held forest…I just don’t think we can continue to treat our watershed this way.”

Then he added, “I am really worried they are in there chopping the forest right now.”

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55 comments

  • Aaaah poor wittle butterfly wannabe

    • Judgment is coming for all those involved in damaging the environment and for their hired Mercenaries no place to hide not even in the dream world time for you to pay trumpets are sounding and Horsemen are riding

  • We have a hard time feeling sympathy for self-inflicted pain.

  • Pete’s an idiot.

    • he sure doesn’t have balls or much commitment..
      he shouldn’t have come down..
      good job lady activist who stayed up!
      dont give up activists!!
      you have no idea how many people are behind you..
      keep fighting the good fight..
      we have no choice..
      this planet is in such dire condition.. it’s really a matter of survival at this point

  • Get a job coyote.

  • Poor A.E Ammons.

  • Hey, looks like LEAR Assets mercenaries read this blog!

  • Thank you to the people who care so deeply about the health of our forests and watersheds.

    • Seems almost pointless protesting the sustainable harvesting of a few acres of trees when the rest of the state is being destroyed by merciless wildfire.

      • Those acres of old growth are better at withstanding fires, we need them or it’s all capable of burning down.

        • SickofSocialists

          You have it backwards. These forests, without fire or a mechanical method of hazardous fuels reduction, are MORE prone to catastrophic wildfire than younger forests.

          This level of concern over doug fir is laughable. They are damn near an invasive species!! In fact there are many areas where they are taking over the oak woodland, and efforts are underway to restore these areas to historic conditions. AKA: without doug fir.

  • LEAR asset management is a private military-style contractor in the area that contracts out for things like marijuana raids and CAMP back in the day. I understand that there are a lot of remote areas here, and it’s a lot of ground to cover. But for private security to be tasing protestors and chasing them out of trees while dehydrated, and with attack dogs?

    I’ll be reaching out to Humboldt Redwoods to see if they can find a better way to go forward, both with logging and their willingness to work with environmental activists to save these habitats. I hope others will, too.

    • Mendocino Mamma

      These are the guys that admitted they were behind the mystery raids in Mendocino a year or 2 ago.

  • leave the beautiful forest alone sell it to gov.

  • Tired of liberals

    I agree with the tree huggers but they are the ones trespassing what the hell do they expect. Trump 2020!!

  • Amazing what Belgian Malanois dogs can do
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orAGU04T0rc 3 mins. (mute the volume)

    If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a spectator, shearing off these woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious citizen. As if a town has no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
    -Thoreau

    • Thoreau was bitching about deforestation in an era lit, heated and powered by fire. Also he had his laundry sent out from Walden Pond.

      • The forests have always been a focal point of the villagers. The Magna Carta was so named so as not to be confused with the Charter of the Forest (the Magna Carta’s forerunner)

      • it was coal. you can still find some that fell out of wagons on the dirt roads. most all of New England was clear cut for farming before Henry’s time, which is why there are stonewalls in forest. most of the ponds in that area are contaminated.

        • The farms of the time had lots of wood fencing. If stone walls exist, it’s because farmers needed to do something with the stones in their fields, not that they didn’t have access to lots of wood.

  • Humboldt Native

    So sick and tired of these environmentalists ! They did a fine job contributing to the sad state of Humboldt County. Loss of businesses , families displaced , unemployment . Who cares about the well being of mankind, save a damn tree! They make me sick.

    • your [edit] of comprehension of what really happened is sad.. everyone knows your jobs disappeared bc the forests were not managed properly, not bc of activism.. Charles Hurwitz and other greedy fuckers like him are who is to blame.. only [edit] old loggers are still hanging onto this bullshit “the activists took our jobs”.. cut and run mentality.. that’s what took your jobs

      • Anti troll league

        Poor Kym. Having to deal with idiot insults when she is busy with trying to provide coverage of the horrendous fires but she will hopefully find time to delete this post that manages to stuff self indulgent pettiness, ignorance and general nastiness into one short paragraph.

      • Conservative Stupidity

        Bingo! Useful pawns for the rich won’t like it.

      • If you really research it- or are old enough to have lived it- you would know that Humboldt Native is somewhat right. Certainly more correct than chickadee. The Redwood Park Expansion Plan in 1970s took way, way more forest land out of production than Maxxam ever logged in its 20 years of clear cutting.

        It was the disregard and lack of understanding of the values of PL, which was geared to a long time horizon for sustainable logging, that allowed Maxxam to do a hostile takeover in 1986 and start their scorched earth clear cutting. Humboldt could have had both a reasonable logging future and much would have been preserved if there had been protests in support of PL rather than trashing all logging. Like so many angry people, they did not know when they had it good until it was gone.

        There was a time when Humboldt County’s major industry was not government subsidies and government pay checks.

        • resource extraction is not sustainable, period. go research Maine, which has 200 years of additional timber extraction history than California. most all of Maine, except the coast is like the Pacific Northwest, fucked and full of problems related to no jobs and drug use. there will never be a time in the future that will be like the past. Tourism which includes an environment tourist would want to visit is the next and probably only thing we have coming that is positive. Green Diamond is logging tracts that were last logged in the 40s, they are last of the 2nd growth stands. what comes after that? they sell the tracts they can and file. this all going to happen over the next 10 years.

          • Went from Land of many uses to vacationland

          • Breathing is resource extraction by that definition. You can’t eliminate all the jobs and not have poverty. Disneyland is the only sort of tourism that generates long term jobs. Or maybe Caribbean beaches but somehow that creates poverty too.

          • The past is never like the future. But Sweden is harvesting timber after more than 1800 years of doing it.

  • Alt Right For Life

    Stories like this give me hope regarding the arrival of a hippie free Humboldt.

    Leer Asset Management are some cool cats in my book.

    Great work guys.

  • 4 people don’t count as a protest. And way to stick to your convictions.

  • Killing mother earth for profit will continue until we wipe our existence from it. Earth will survive. We humans are only in it for money to live our short temporary shitty life here. Enjoy your ego and greed. Your children’s children will thank you. To survive , one needs water,food,shelter…… not money. Ironically, we are killing the very thing that keeps us alive . We are all to blam

  • Well from an old eart firsters point of view. Wtf get up high. When climber Dan and Eric tried to kill Ramsey there was a court ruling that said they can’t do tree extractions above 100 ft again. Use that and go high

    • Even old Earth First!ers are invited to make a move on this, EF!ers don’t age out!

      Not sure you fully grocked the situation out there. The point was defend the blockade protecting hundreds of acres, not just to stay in one tree.

      Could you provide a reference for that court ruling? I think you may be in error because there were other forcible extractions high up after that, but I’d like to be proven wrong.

      At that point climber Dan had already retired from removing trees sitters for Maxxam/PL because it was too dangerous, honorable move on his part. It was the tree trimmers Eric Schatz and Mike Oxman that brutalized Jungle and Ramsey in that tree.

  • [Lear] “Asset Management” says it all. Tree Re$ource v. Human Re$ource. Mooooo.

    “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” Jefferson

  • Great job Forest protectors when it comes to large tracts of ancient intact Forest people need to be aware of my heart go out to you the art of Peace in a time of War crimes against humanity and nature

  • Testes, testes, one two...three?

    More power to all the tree sitters, you’ve got lots of love and support on the ground. You’re real heroes in this era of out of control development. The forests aren’t getting bigger, the buildings are getting bigger and closer, every year without fail. The trees on this speck of the globe are trees of the whole world. Look at satelite photos of northern California and Humboldt County and you will see horrifying amounts of logging. Keep up the fight!

  • Greenrushers have done far more environmental damage to Soho than cutting down a few trees on legal timber harvest land.

  • HRC is third-party certified by the international group, Forest Stewardship Council. This is one if the most strict certifaction systems for actively managed lands in the world. HRC is prevented from harvesting type one old growth. This is documented in their management plan and enforced by the habitat conservation plan (HCP). Type two old growth has many restrictions but may be managed with timber harvests. Type 2 Old growth: 20 acres or more that have been logged, but which retain
    significant old-growth structure and functions. Even within these type two old growth stands there are trees that will never be cut. Any Douglas-fir tree, 36” DBH and larger, established prior to 1800 C.E. will be retained. The days of slash and burn logging are long gone. Land managers, foresters and loggers are highly trained professionals. If anyone has a timber sale map or harvest plan I’d appreciate seeing it. Until then we don’t even know the proposed harvest prescription or exact location of the sale. Thanks in advance.

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