After a seemingly endless saga of court cases, environmental documents and hearings spanning the past eight years, the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection today finally approved a new and improved management plan for Jackson State Forest. Sierra Club has been following this issue since 1996, has been intimately involved with this process, and is very pleased with the outcome.
At nearly 50,000 acres, Jackson State Forest in Mendocino County is California’s largest state-owned forest, and is by far the largest public redwood forest between San Francisco Bay and Humboldt County.
A working group of industry and enviro reps in Mendocino County worked for 18 months to craft consensus recommendations aimed at resolving much of the ongoing controversy surrounding the management of Jackson Forest. The Board, recognizing a historic level of agreement between disparate interest groups, followed nearly all of these recommendations.
The Board of Forestry adopted the new approach to Jackson on an 8-1 vote, with Tom Walz, the representative from Sierra Pacific Industries, opposing all aspects of this historic agreement. We wish we were surprised… On the other hand, we commend Board members David Nawi and Pam Giacomini who comprised the Jackson Forest Sub-committee and put endless hours into this effort over the past few years.
Major kudos need to go to Vince Taylor at the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest for his years of work to bring the mis-management of Jackson Forest to the attention of the courts and the public. Check their website Thursday for a more extensive update. We have worked closely over the past several years both at the Board of Forestry and in the Legislature to fundamentally change the management direction at Jackson, and we’ve finally cleared a historic hurdle.
Victories in the realm of state-regulated forestry are few and far between, but this is clearly significant progress on a long-festering issue. Here’s to more successes in the near future.
Paul Mason & Kathy Bailey
Sierra Club California