[UPDATED With Input From HRC] Truckers and Protesters Concerned About Plans to Log Rainbow Ridge Clashed Near Scotia Mill Yesterday
Several days of protests over plans to log old growth Douglas Fir on Rainbow Ridge reached a crescendo just before 3 p.m. yesterday after demonstrators blocked the southernmost exit/entrance from Hwy 101 to Scotia and the Humboldt Redwood Company Lumber Mill.
Video by Earth First in Humboldt uploaded to YouTube and embedded above shows a trucker with empty trailers driving through a large banner held by two protesters blocking Main Street in order to enter Hwy 101.
Another video uploaded to YouTube by Rick Shreve, an environmental activist, and embedded below shows a trucker hauling logs arguing with protesters including one who stepped up onto the semi.
The California Highway Patrol received reports that the blockade forced truckers to stop on the exits and this was impeding traffic. They also received reports that demonstrators were climbing onto the trucks.
Several law enforcement agencies were dispatched to the scene but protesters dispersed before law enforcement arrived.
Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) owns the 18,000 acre piece which is located on the headwaters of the upper and lower forks of the Mattole River. The company has received approval to log [a portion of] it.
John Andersen, Director of Humboldt Redwood Company, said that the company has “a very robust policy” against logging old growth trees. However, he said that the protesters had a very different idea of what constitutes old growth.
“They believe that trees much younger than our policy should be protected,” he explained. One person, he said, had even told him that old growth was any tree older than him.
He said that what HRC did while harvesting timber mimicked natural fires and helped prevent the massive wildfires currently plaguing California. “The thinning we do in the forest mimics natural fire selection,” he said.
Below is a video of the company’s policy on old growth trees.
Andersen said that for years protesters had been allowed on Rainbow Ridge. “HRC supports the rights of individuals to express their views about forest management policies,” states an HRC statement Andersen pointed out. “At the same time, HRC seeks to avoid risks to people and property.”
Andersen said that prior to the recent removal of protesters from Rainbow Ridge, a woman protester had been burned there badly enough to need treatment. According to him, when a campsite there was looked at, grass around a fire ring had been burned.
“I don’t need to tell you how much of a concern wildfire is right now,” Andersen explained. The statement Andersen reference said,
Additionally, unauthorized dirt bikes have been witnessed off trail operating in an unsafe manner and it is unclear if the dirt bikes have proper fire prevention equipment. Campfires and dirt bikes are a common ignition source of wildfire.
When we learned of someone suffering a burn injury in the midst of wildfire season and people operating dirt bikes unpermitted and unsafely on the property, we felt compelled to act for the safety of people and property in order avoid additional accidents or an uncontrolled wildfire.
A Rainbow Ridge video shared by protesters that describes their argument for protecting the area:
Note: The Humboldt Redwoods Company’s director, John Andersen, returned our call and information from him has been incorporated into our piece.
- Two Protestors Arrested at Rainbow Ridge Logging Blockade
- Protesters Say They Are Locking to Gate to Stop Logging After Humboldt Redwoods Company Removed Tripod Sitter
- Man Protesting Logging Rainbow Ridge Describes Ordeal
- Demonstrators Picketed Humboldt Redwoods Company Yesterday in Hopes of Stopping Logging Planned for the Rainbow Ridge Area