Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch Organizes to Stop Clear-cutting
Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County is named after its ancient Giant Sequoia trees. Giant Sequoias are the prized behemoths of the tree world, growing up to 280 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter. These trees stand for centuries; the oldest Giant Sequoia on record is 3,500 years old (1). Perhaps due to their unmatched age, size, and regal stature, many visitors to the park describe having a religious experience while there. Some even refer to the park as a “cathedral.”
So in 2000 when Calaveras residents learned that the logging company Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) planned to clear-cut about 880 acres near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, they had to let other citizens know. After several community meetings, they formed Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch (EPFW) to take up the fight against clear-cutting. Clear-cutting, or “even-aged management”, is a logging technique where all trees in one area are cut down at the same time regardless of size or age.
Clear-cutting is one of the most profitable methods of logging for timber companies largely because it is much less labor intensive than the traditional method of lumbering, selective harvesting, which only takes out some trees at a time.
However, for the diverse forests in the Sierra, the negative impacts of clear-cutting are devastating. Clear-cutting destroys forest diversity and habitat. Wildlife corridors are fragmented by the checkerboard of tree plantations across the landscape created after clear-cutting. It threatens the Sierra's majestic beauty, which is important to the Sierra's economy. Watersheds are endangered by runoff and silting.
The even-aged plantations that result from clear-cutting increase fire danger by increasing the risk of crown fire and young trees being more susceptible to fire. Clear-cutting also contributes to climate change by producing more CO2 emissions than other logging methods.
Documents filed with California Department of Forestry state that SPI, the largest private landowner in the state, intends to clear-cut over one million of its 1.6 million acres in the state. In response to SPI’s proposed logging plans, EPFW joined with the group Forest Ethics in the "Save the Sierra" Campaign. The campaign's goals are to get SPI to stop clear-cutting, to identify and protect endangered forests in the region, and to get Forest Stewardship Council certification, seen by conservationists as the only credible standard for logging.
The "Save the Sierra" campaign is also educating consumers on making smart and environmentally friendly choices. The campaign’s website (www.savethesierra.org) includes a map of lumber yards and businesses across the United States that are supplied by SPI, so that consumers can avoid these stores and bring pressure on SPI to change its timber practices.
The Forest Stewardship Council provides locations of FSC-certified lumber facilities at their website at: http://www.fscus.org/.
EPFW's website is http:/www.epfw.org.
(1). Flint, W. D. (2002). To Find The Biggest Tree. Sequoia Natural History Association, Inc.)
Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch
Contact Name: John Trinkl, President
Address: P.O. Box 2862, Arnold CA 95223
Phone: 209-795-8260; 415-826-4616
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Website URL: http://www.epfw.org
Issue Focus: botanical, forest, global warming, water supply, watershed quality, wildlife and habitat
Group Type: volunteer
Public Events: guided tours; educational forums and presentations; annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival; annual Valentine's Concert
Volunteer Opportunities: water monitoring, office help, tabling, cleanup events
Accepts Donations: Yes
Description: The mission of Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch is to protect, promote, and restore healthy forests and watersheds to maintain the quality of life in the Sierra Nevada. We have a number of educational programs about sutainable forestry practices as well as the damaging affects of irresponsible practices. Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch organized to oppose SPI's forest harvest practice of clear-cutting.
EPFW conducts ground and aerial tours of clearcuts and plantations for media, legislative staff assistants, county board of supervisor candidates and other interested people. We conduct educational forums for supervisor candidates, religious organizations, homeowners associations, community groups, and other environmental organizations and sponsor speaking engagements. EPFW routinely does aerial missions to photo-document clearcuts and plantations in the Central Sierra, maintains a GIS mapping database, and comments on Timber Harvest Plans. We regularly attend Board of Forestry meetings to keep current on timber management practices and to provide public comments; and we inform and educate legislators in Sacramento about forestry issues. We actively work on the "Save the Sierra Campaign" with the conservation group Forest Ethics. EPFW is also involved with citizen action groups in our county directed toward empowerment to maintain and improve quality of life issues, including the environment.
Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR)
Contact Name: Jeremy Terhune
Address: 4555 Pershing Avenue #33-373 Stockton, CA 95207
Phone: (209) 922-8215
County: San Joaquin County; Calaveras County
Issue Focus: Support for the Calaveras River Barrier Removal Project; NOAA HCP for the Calaveras River; Water Quality; Restoration; Education/ Outreach
Volunteer Opportunities: River Clean-up Events
Accepts Donations: Yes
Public Events: Proposed “Calaveras River Appreciation Day”
Description: The Friends of the Lower Calaveras River is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the sustainable management of the resources and the conditions in the watershed of the Lower Calaveras River. Our objective is to increase public awareness and education about the river.
Contact: Bob Kelso
Address: Mountain Alliance P.O. Box 762, Arnold, CA 95223
County of Activity: Calaveras
Issue Focus: air quality, land use, transportation, water quality, watershed health, wildlife, botanical
Group Type: volunteer
Volunteer Opportunities: Working with the USFS on off-highway vehicle issues
Accepts Donations: Yes
Description: Mountain Alliance is a community based organization dedicated to the preservation of our mountain environment and rural way of life. We focus our efforts in Calaveras County, focusing on the Highway 4 corridor. Some of our projects have included fighting to keep more dams off the North Fork of the Stanislaus River, working for proper environmental review on building projects in our area, and lately our focus has been on working with the USFS, off road vehicle organizations, and interested community members to develop a plan to manage off road vehicle use on public lands.
PUBLIC OFFICIALS & AGENCIES
Calaveras County Board of Supervisors
Mailing Address: 891 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249-9709
Senate Representative – 1st District:
Counties Represented: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas and Sierra, as well as portions of Nevada, Placer and Sacramento Counties.
Assembly Representative – 25th District
Counties Represented: Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, Mono