Protests and the Redwoods...

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Don
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Protests and the Redwoods...

Post by Don » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:27 pm

After graduating with a pre-Forestry degree in 1968 from our community college in the Southern San Joaquin Valley in mid-California, I drove up to Arcata, California where my prospective college experience loomed ahead of me that Fall. On my way to my first summer job away from home, all the trappings of adventure were there. I was off to check out my future, to be shaped by Humboldt State College (HSC) Forestry Department.

I recall driving along the Trinity River on Hiway 299, which amounted to a three hour drive through some of the finest scenery I had seen (still quite worthy!). The last thirty miles was a very steep and very curvy stretch of two lane road, loaded with logging trucks, loud with their engine brakes, big with their heavy, one-log loads (some only 8', few longer than 16'). So steep it was, the trucks had reservoirs of water that were gravity-fed through hoses to the big, finned brake drums to cool them, in their long descent into Humboldt Bay. My car, large by today's standards, seemed rather small in their presence.

Loggers and logging truck drivers and contractors in support of the numerous timber operations, all depended on the uninterrupted supply of big redwoods. It had been their source of income, way of life for many decades, generations even, and woe unto anyone who would disturb their way of life.

Well, outside of Humboldt County, and for that matter, the Southern San Joaquin Valley, the era we now know as "The Sixties" had begun. Many things the "Sixties" were, but my focus here is that of the protest movements that came with them. By the late 60's, a fair number of HSC students (most of whom came from outside the County, often urban areas where parents were looking for a safe haven for their kids) had been exposed to some of the movements going on across the US. Awed by the redwood forests they had driven through to get to HSC, they were dismayed at the number of logging trucks, and the redwoods transported by them.

Protests became common (whether for wars, or what have you), and certainly the cessation of harvesting redwoods in and around a presciently created Redwood Park was brought about by such protests as they gathered national force.

Decades have passed since I last was a Humboldt County resident, but just recently it became apparent that The Sixties are still alive and well in Humboldt County, as witnessed by the scene below in Richardson Grove, where CalTrans had plans of doing some curve-widening along tight stretches of Hiway 101, near the Avenue of the Giants (Eureka Times Standard):
Richardson Grove Protest.jpg
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Protests and the Redwoods...

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:42 pm

Ah, the good old 60s. We missed our chance at a real revolution then. Oh, well...

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dbhguru
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Re: Protests and the Redwoods...

Post by dbhguru » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:23 am

Don,

So many jokes that could be made on this one. I'll leave it to others.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Protests and the Redwoods...

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:54 am

Don, Had NTS members been out in that part of the country in the 60's many of us would have felt the same way- protect the giants! As for the photo I would be right there with them. Maybe not nude or in underwear, then maybe why not, Ha Ha! I remember back in the mid 90's a Logging Truck such as you describe came through our region with a huge Redwood Log 8' Dia., to make people take notice what was happening out west. It was the largest log I'd ever seen and made me feel somewhat ashamed of the Human race. To much greed in the world I guess.. I have a wonderful book about the Redwood Forest by Jeremy Joan Hewes with tons of old photos and such. I remember in the book that in 1850's when the whites discovered the groves there were 2 million acres of trees. We now only have less than 200,000 left at the time of the publishing around 1995 if memory serves me. Such a travisty- some of the largest and most beautiful trees on the planet the remnants should be protected forever! Larry

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Protests and the Redwoods...

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:12 pm

Just before the Cohutta Wilderness was established, after it had been approved but before the land was completely protected, the timber barons were cutting like crazy to get as much virgin timber out of there as they could before it was too late. When I'd visit my friends who lived right at the edge of the wilderness, we'd see logging trucks come rumbling down the mountain--some of them had logs so large that they could only fit one tree section on a flatbed truck. It was horrifying. I think it was mainly poplars, but they were also trying to squeeze out some now-rare hardwoods of large size.

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