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Redwood timber battles rage on

Trees October 9, 1996
Web posted at: 3:45 p.m. EDT

SCOTIA, California (CNN) -- A hard-won agreement to head off logging in an old-growth forest in northern California was jeopardized Tuesday when salvage logging began in an adjacent stand of ancient redwoods.

The sounds of chainsaws and other heavy equipment rang through the trees as loggers cut and removed huge fallen trees from private land owned by Maxxam Corp.'s Pacific Lumber Co.

The operation is legal, but it threatens to inflame the timber battles that have been raging in this part of the state for more than a month.

The logging operation caught anti-logging activists by surprise, coming after Maxxam agreed with state and federal negotiators to spare nearby Headwaters Forest, the nation's largest privately owned ancient forest.

The company is removing only downed trees from the forest floor, said Pacific Lumber spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkel, and has no plans to broach the Headwaters land.

"There's absolutely no activity, no harvest, no salvage in that area at all," she said.

But one of the chief negotiators who helped forge the Headwaters agreement said the proximity of the salvage logging threatens the deal.

Feinstein

"It is correct that this is not part of the agreement so in that sense Maxxam is correct," said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. "(But) it clearly will have an effect and I thought they understood that. I mean it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand it."

Activists kicked off what has since become an ongoing protest September 15, when more than 1,000 were arrested.


protest

The Headwaters agreement would cost federal and state governments $250 million, and would protect only the two most prominent of six ancient redwood groves owned by Maxxam. Activists continue to push for protection of all the old trees in the Headwaters area.

Prompted by ongoing demonstrations, the state board of forestry met in Shasta to consider environmentalists' demands for new rules for salvage operations, including restrictions that might block logging entirely in certain old growth groves.

Pacific Lumber is clear about its position. It wants to be able to log all of its trees, even old growth redwood. The company says it has already sold or otherwise set aside some 25,000 acres of the best stands of redwoods, and that, the company says, should be enough.

From Correspondent Don Knapp
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