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Board of Forestry Rejects JAG Consensus!

Mendocino Working Group Proposals
Read EIR Expert  Comments
Twelve Hikes In Jackson  
  Press Coverage


Early morning fog over Jackson State Forest,
 by Garth Hagerman

 Restore Our Publicly Owned Redwood Forest

Jackson State Forest is a public treasure -- 50,000 acres of beautiful redwood forest located within a few hours drive of San Francisco.

Until stopped by Campaign lawsuits, starting in 2000, the state had been massively logging this public forest, owned by you and me. The profits were used to subsidize the private timber industry.

All logging was halted by the Campaign's lawsuits from 2001 until 2008.

Thanks to the lawsuits and intense public pressure over 8 years, the state in January, 2008, adopted a forward looking management plan that greatly revised the approach to management.

A key provision of the plan was the appointment of an independent advisory body, the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG). The JAG has until January 2011 to recommend changes in all aspects of the management plan for the forest.

The Executive Director of the Campaign, Vince Taylor, is a member of the JAG. The Campaign intends to remain active during the 3-year review period to ensure that the public is informed and the public's interests are represented. We intend to press for adoption of the basic positions of the Campaign:

  • The public forest should not be used for the benefit of the timber industry.

  • The forest should be restored over time to old growth for recreation, habitat, and education.

  • All logging in Jackson Forest should demonstrate the highest attainable sensitivity to aesthetic and ecological values and should contribute to restoration, habitat, recreation, or education.

The Campaign's Bill of Rights for Jackson State Forest

Find out more about the Campaign. 

Provide information to the Campaign in complete privacy.



Brandon Gulch -  next in line to be logged -- but thanks to the Campaign, the logging will be designed to promote restoration to old growth conditions

Recreation
The forest is a recreation paradise. with rustic camping and hundreds of miles of  trails and roads for hikers and bikers.
Hiking and biking information

 

Board of Forestry Rejects Consensus of the Jackson Advisory Group

July 13, 2011. The Board of Forestry acted on the recommendations of the Jackson Advisory Group. In its action, the Board selectively chose from among the group's consensus recommendations.

By its selective action, the Board unraveled the unanimously supported consensus that the Group worked for 2-1/2 years to achieve.

The board eliminated the key protections that would have ensured that the forest was placed on a path toward restoration of older forest characteristics across the forest landscape. It  dismissed the Group's recommendations designed to enhance recreation experiences and to move toward elimination of herbicides.


Vince Taylor Resigns from the Jackson Advisory Group

September 6, 2011. In response to the Board of Forestry's rejection of the consensus recommendations of the Jackson Advisory Group, Vince Taylor, founder and Executive Director of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest, resigned from the Jackson Advisory Group.

In a letter to the Board of Forestry, he said, "If I were to remain a member of the Advisory Group, I would be tacitly accepting the actions of the Board. To do so would betray the thousands of people who have relied on me to represent their desire for meaningful reform of JDSF management."

 In an eight-page letter, Taylor detailed the ways in which the Board had failed to act responsibly, appropriately, and respectfully. He said to the Board, "All of the changes made [to the recommendations] by the Board were to move forest management of JDSF back toward "business as usual," away from the balanced vision put forth by the Jackson Advisory Group. In so doing, you threw away the golden opportunity to end the conflict, legal challenges, and acrimony that have surrounded JDSF for fifteen years." Taylor letter to the Board of Forestry

In a separate letter to Cal Fire, Taylor explicitly excused Cal Fire from any responsibility for his resignation, "I wish to stress that my resignation in no way reflects on the behavior of CAL FIRE with respect to the Advisory Group. Your senior staff were exemplary in their attitude, responsiveness, and personal courtesy." Taylor letter to Cal Fire Director

See the adjacent editorial for more on the Board action and Taylor resignation.


Jackson Advisory Group Achieves Consensus

Report Published

January 15, 2011. The Jackson Advisory Group published its recommendations for long-term management of Jackson State Forest today. Full consensus was achieved on the package of recommendation contained in the final report, entitled A Vision for the Future.

A full page containing excerpts from the Introduction and Summary and an editorial overview is here. Download the full report here.

The Advisory Group will present its report to the California Board of Forestry on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Sacramento. Agenda with location and time.

Jackson Advisory Group Presents Consensus Recommendations November 18

November 5, 2010. On Thursday, November 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Fort Bragg Town Hall, Main and Laurel Streets, the Jackson Advisory Group will hold a public meeting to present its consensus recommendations on long-term future management of Jackson State Forest. It will also solicit public comments.

The Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) was formed in 2008 and given until January 2011 to develop recommendations for long-term management of Jackson Forest. The advisory group was chosen to represent all the major stakeholders in the forest – loggers, timber companies, recreationists, conservationists, scientists, and the general public.

The goal set out in its charter was for its members to strive to reach consensus on elements of a long-term plan for timber management, forest restoration, recreation and education, and research.

The JAG has been meeting for over two years. It has now come to consensus agreement on most of the major recommendations it will make in January to the Board of Forestry and the Director of Cal Fire. At the November 18 meeting, members of the JAG will present its recommendations and solicit input from those present.

Meeting Background Document.


Jackson Advisory Group Meets November 22

November 11, 2010. On Monday, November 22, 2010, the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) will resume discussions aimed at reaching a consensus on core recommendations to be made to Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry. The meeting will be held at the Mendocino County Cooperative Extension, 890 North Bush Street, Ukiah, from 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm.

A major focus will be on reviewing recommendations on expanding and strengthening protections for recreation resources, such as trails and campgrounds.

Documents incorporating previously approved recommendations on research and landscape management will also be reviewed.

Agenda.


Jackson Advisory Group Meets July 30

July 22, 2010. On July 30, the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) will resume discussions aimed at reaching a consensus on core recommendations to be made to Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry. The meeting will be held at the Mendocino County Cooperative Extension, 890 North Bush Street, Ukiah, from 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm. Agenda.

The JAG will continue to review recommendations of the Landscape Committee. The major recommendations have received provisional approval, but some JAG members have asked for more information on the effects of the recommendations on future harvest levels. This information appears unlikely to be available because of staff shortages and other demands on staff time..

A major focus will be a review of recommendations related to establishment of a major research program at Jackson Forest. A crucial issue is how the landscape of Jackson Forest is to be managed to facilitate and support the research program.

Also on the agenda is consideration of three major timber harvest plans proposed for 2011. Two of these plans are over 500 acres and envision selling more than 10 million board feet of timber in each one. The Waldo THP contains some of the largest trees and most beautiful stands in Jackson Forest. Summary information on West Chamberlain, Waldo, Riley Ridge.

The public is invited to attend. Public comments are scheduled for 4:50 pm. In previous meetings, public comment has been allowed when agenda items have been discussed.

Agenda.


Jackson Advisory Group Meets June 25-26

June 22, 2010. On June 25 and 26, the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) will resume discussions aimed at reaching a consensus on core recommendations to be made to Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry. The meeting will be held at the Fort Bragg Senior Center, 490 N. Harold Street, Fort Bragg.

Substantial agreement has been reached on a number of important issues related to landscape planning and design of the research program. Additional discussion is scheduled for recommendations in these areas. Discussion will also take place on draft recommendations on Economics, Recreation, Outreach, Herbicides, and Demonstrations.

See the Agenda for approximate times.

Supporting materials for the meeting have been compiled in a single document.

The Friday meeting will begin with a special meeting of the Research Committee at 8:30 am to prepare for the general meeting. The full meeting will begin at 10:00 am and adjourn at about 5:15 pm..

The Saturday meeting will begin at 8:30 am and end at about 4:00 pm.


2010 Road Closures

Closed Areas in vicinity of Brandon Gulch, Camp 3, Camp 6, Pleiades III, and North Fork Spur THPs
 

If you are planning to hike or ride in Jackson Forest, be aware that timber operations will be occurring in the central area of the forest, near Camp One and Chamberlain Creek. Because of safety considerations, the following roads and campgrounds will be closed until further notice:

The Camp 6 and Indian Springs campgrounds shall be closed.

Roads 380, 360 from 361 to 1000, 362, 363, 1000, 305, 90, 210, 211, 212, 330 and Road 310 shall be closed to vehicular traffic.

Road 330 adjacent to the THP area is closed to all public use on weekdays. Road 330 will be closed north of Road 332 beginning mid July and into Sept.

Road 360 from 300 to 361 and Road 361 will be closed when timber operations affect those areas (anticipated in late May). The areas within the above mentioned timber sale boundaries are closed to the public.


Maps of closures near Camp One (pdf) (jpg)
Map of 2010 active timber operations (pdf) (jpg)

Jackson Advisory Group Continues Working Toward Consensus

May, 2010. On Monday, May 10,  The meeting will be held at Mendocino County Cooperative Extension, 890 North Bush Street, Ukiah, from 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm. Agenda.

The May 10 meeting will be followed by a May 24 meeting in Fort Bragg. Both meetings have the primary objective of arriving at consensus on key recommendations to be included in the JAG's final report to Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry.

The recommendations of the JAG are due by the end of this year. The goal of the JAG is to have a first draft of its report done by July. There are still significant differences among JAG members on issues such as

1) the conditions under and the extent to which clearcutting and related even-age management will be allowed;

2) the amount of land to be designated for restoration to old growth;

3) how land in Jackson will be allocated to different management to support research and demonstration, and

4) the extent to which land used for timber production will be managed to have a significant component of older trees, some of which would be allowed to grow to their natural old age.

At the previous meeting on April 15, 2010 in Fort Bragg, the JAG started reviewing proposed consensus recommendations created by an "integration committee" that attempted to integrate recommendations made previously by several committees of the JAG. The JAG spent time going over the integration recommendations, but was unable to get through all of them. No actions were taken on any of the proposed recommendations.

The Monday meeting will continue the effort to reach consensus. The major concerns that I had prior to the April meeting have not been addressed. You can see the integration committee supporting files, as well as Vince Taylor's concerns here.

Agenda with location, items, and times.

 


Jackson Advisory Group Aims for Consensus on Key Recommendations

Meets April 15 in Fort Bragg

April, 2010. The Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) Advisory Group (JAG) will meet Thursday, April 15,  2010 at the Fort Bragg Fire Station, 141 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and adjourn at approximately 5:30 pm.

The April 15 meeting will be a crucial in terms of identifying the key recommendations that will be made by the JAG in their final report due at the end of this year.

The JAG has been divided for almost a year on how different parts of Jackson Forest should be managed for what ultimate goals.

In the last few months, the JAG has moved to provide a basis for closing the divides. These actions culminated late last month in the formation of an "integration committee." The integration committee took the recommendations of all of the major committees (Landscape, Research, and Economic) and integrated them into a proposed compatible set of recommendations.

The JAG will review the recommendations proposed by the integration committee, together with the original recommendation documents. The goal will be to gain consensus agreement on as many of the key issues as possible, and to identify those where further work is needed.

Key areas of controversy are:

  1. How should actively harvested lands not part of the research program be managed?

    One committee has proposed that "Natural Forestry" be used. Single-tree selection would be used, relatively light entries would be made, and over time stands would be grown to have bigger trees and more volume.

    Some on the JAG have expressed concern that this would lead to too uniform a forest, not sufficient diversity of conditions to support a robust research program.

    The integration committee has proposed to retain the concept of applying "Natural Forestry" where research projects are not defined, but to broaden the definition by providing a range of treatment approaches that would be acceptable. The key elements of Natural Forestry outlined above would be retained.

  2. Under what conditions would clear cutting and related "even-age" management harvests be allowed?

    In the past, JDSF management has used clearcuts and related even-age management extensively. This has been a sore point for the many supporters of management reform at Jackson Forest.

    Even-age management lowers tree ages, destroys habitat needed by many species, raises temperatures, and is aesthetically appalling.

    The JAG has been moving cautiously toward adopting a policy that even-age management would only be applied as part of an overall, goal-oriented research program. It would need to be justified in a peer review, showing that it would provide sufficient research benefits to justify the ecological damage created.

    The integration committee appears to have kept the basic concept that even-age management would need to be part of a research project, but proposed various "escape clauses" that could open the door to extensive even-age management not part of the JDSF research program.

    In particular, the integration committee recommended adopting the current management plan's section on even-age management. This would allow 2700 acres per decade of even-age harvest (10,800 acres in 40 years) for "accommodating research investigations either immediately or at a later time." (Emphasis added.) The underlined clause would allow even-age harvest without a current research plan.

  3. How should the Jackson Forest research program be administered?

    Jackson Forest management is part of Cal Fire. It reports to the local district fire commander, and its personnel and equipment can be called on at any time to fight fires. Cal Fire itself has to operate within the tight financial controls and constraints of state government.

    The Research Committee made a proposal aimed at overcoming some of the difficulties of effective research management within the government constraints. It proposed establishing a A Jackson Forest Research Cooperative non-profit organization funded by JDSF funds. It would collaborate with but be independent of Cal Fire.

    The integration committee rejected this proposal and proposes instead establishment of a state appointed advisory committee to CAL FIRE and the State Board of Forestry to
    administer a research, demonstration, and monitoring program for JDSF
    and other State Forests.

If you have an interest in the future of Jackson Forest, please attend this meeting. Public input can make a crucial difference in the dynamic of the meeting -- and the ultimate recommendations made by the JAG..

The meeting will be Thursday, April 15,  2010 at the Fort Bragg Fire Station, 141 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and adjourn at approximately 5:30 pm. Please park behind the fire station, not on the side. These spaces are reserved for firefighters. See the Agenda for details and times.

The complete set of files distributed to the JAG along with the covering emails can be found here.

Jackson Advisory Group Meets February 26, 2010

February, 2010. The Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) Advisory Group (JAG) will meet Friday, February 26, 2010 at the Fort Bragg Senior Center, 490 N. Harold Street, Fort Bragg. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and adjourn at approximately 5:30 pm.

The main focus of the meeting will be reviewing and integrating the discussions and recommendations of a recently held Science Workshop (see story below). The purpose of the workshop was to learn how the science community its views on how to make Jackson Forest a world class research and demonstration forest. A key aspect of the discussion was on integrating research and demonstration with ongoing forest management.

The Woodlands Outdoor Center and State Parks will make presentations of their views on management of the areas of Jackson Forest that surround the Center.

Michael Sweeney of the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority will brief the JAG on a proposed transfer of lands between JDSF and State Parks to allow construction of a Waste Transfer Station on JDSF lands on Highway 20 in Fort Bragg.

The Recreation Committee of the JAG will report on recommendations developed at its meeting in December. These include establishment of a joint ad hoc committee to address issues caused by non-recreationist use of JDSF campgrounds, facilitating near-term action on improving recreation opportunities in JDSF, obtaining input to improve educational use of JDSF, and steps to minimize the impacts of logging on recreation.

For details on the location and agenda items and approximate time, see the agenda.


Jackson Advisory Group Science Stakeholder Workshop

February, 2010. On February 1-2, 2010 the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) sponsored a meeting of scientists with knowledge about and interest in forestry research at Jackson State Forest.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide JAG with broad perspectives that would enable them to better understand opportunities and directions for research and demonstration on the Forest, and how to best integrate landscape-scale forest structural allocations in support of these opportunities. The assembled group of applied scientists represented a broad range of specific areas of scientific expertise, with the objective of providing, an interdisciplinary perspective on structuring research at Jackson State Forest.

The invitees, purpose, and background information are in the briefing paper distributed to workshop attendees.


Jackson Advisory Group Meets November 30, Santa Rosa

November, 2009. The Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) Advisory Group (JAG) will meet Monday, November 30, 2009 in Santa Rosa, California.

The JAG is meeting in Santa Rosa to allow members and staff that live in the Bay Area and Sacramento to travel on the day of the meeting, rather than on Sunday of the the Thanksgiving holiday. Agenda and Location.

The main focus of the meeting will be the continuing effort to come to agreement on landscape allocation  -- determining how areas of Jackson Forest will be managed and for what goals. Primary goals for Jackson Forest are research, restoration, timber production, and restoration.

The Landscape Committee has designated specific areas, totaling about 19,000 acres, to be managed for restoration to older forest and old growth conditions. It has recommended that the remaining acreage not designated as a special concern area or a research or demonstration are to be managed using Natural Forestry (see the adjacent column article). The meeting will address setting up a process to identify silvicultural methods to use in applying Natural Forestry in Jackson Forest.

The Research Committee is planning a gathering of researchers and stakeholders to provide guidance on landscape allocation for research. It will provide an update on  the meeting, planned for late January or early February, 2010.

The current Manager of Jackson State Forest, Marc Jameson, will retire on November 30. The JAG will consider providing recommendations to Cal Fire on the  qualifications and qualities desired in a replacement, in light of the new missions for Jackson Forest.

There will also be an update on the Recreation Task Force organized to assist Jackson State Forest in enhancing recreation and developing a recreation plan. Nancy Banker, chair of the Task Force, will make the presentation. Also discussed will be scheduling THPs to reduce impact of road closures on recreation.

For scheduled times and location, see the Agenda.


Logging Begins in Jackson Forest

August 3, 2009. Marc Jameson, Manager of Jackson Forest announced today that logging has began today in Brandon Gulch and will begin tomorrow on the North Fork Spur timber sale (which was successfully sold on the second sale offering).

This logging is the first that has occurred in Jackson Forest since 2001, with the exception of a 4-day period in 2004 when a court order preventing logging was briefly lifted.

In an email to the Jackson Advisory Group, Mr. Jameson said,

Limited harvest operations have begun as of this morning in Brandon Gulch. Mendocino Forest Products has contracted with Anderson Logging to conduct timber operations in the Brandon Gulch THP area. We will be implementing the JAG prescription in a limited portion of the THP area between Roads 360 and 363.

Some area closures will be in effect to protect recreationalists during the conduct of the operations, including portions of Roads 360 and 363. The Camp 6 Campground, which normally receives very little recreational use, will be closed.

The planned haul route is via Road 363 to Road 360 to Camp One and then Road 300 to Highway 20 near McGuire’s pond...

Timber operations are expected to begin in the North Fork Spur THP area tomorrow (August 4). Schmidbauer Lumber Company has contracted with Anderson Logging to conduct the timber operations.

The planned haul route is via Road 330 to Road 310 down the hill toward McGuire’s pond and to Highway 20. There will be areas closures in place to protect recreational visitors. The closures will affect the THP area, portions of Road 330, Road 310, and the Indian Springs Campground. The THP will incorporate selective timber harvest in accordance with the Board’s interim harvest limitations.

See Map for North Fork Closures

The Brandon Gulch logging is designed to accelerate return to old forest conditions. The biggest trees will be retained and trees around them cut to provide more light and less competition. No areas will have all trees removed. Overall, less than 30 percent of the volume will be removed. Buffers will be provided along the roads to preserve aesthetics for recreation users. See the Advisory Group recommendations for Brandon Gulch.

The North Fork Spur Harvest Plan conforms to the interim harvest restrictions in the 2008 Jackson Forest Management plan. These limit removal of trees to 30%, require that the average diameter be maintained, and prohibit clearcuts and group selections (small clearcuts). An inspection by the JAG showed that harvest will concentrate on smaller trees and should assist in restoring the forest to older forest conditions.


North Fork Spur Harvest Sold

July20, 2009. On its rebid of the North Fork Spur Timber Harvest, Jackson Forest accepted a bid from Schmidbauer Lumber for the minimum acceptable amounts specified. The bid amount of approximately $350,000 was about $245,000 more than the $110,000 Schmidbauer bid on the initial sale offer.

In the initial sale offer, no minimum price was set for redwood and Schmidbauer offered to pay just $50 per thousand board feet. Jackson Forest rejected the offer. In the rebid, a price of $205 per thousand board feet was set, and Schmidbauer met that minimum.

Local timber people and the Mendocino Board of Supervisors urged Jackson Forest to reconsider and accept the initial, rejected bid. The outcome shows that Jackson Forest was wise to instead open the sale for a second round of bidding. Still, the editorial on this page argues that Jackson Forest sold the public's trees substantially below the current market price.


North Fork Spur Timber Sale To Be Reopened for Bids

June 26, 2009. At the monthly meeting of the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG), Russ Henly, Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director for Resources, announced that Cal Fire intended to reopen bidding on the controversial North Fork Spur timber sale.

When initially opened for bidding, only Schmidbauer Lumber of Eureka bid. Its bid of $108,000 was rejected by Cal Fire. A campaign was started by Jere Melo and Mike Anderson to exert political pressure to have the bid accepted or have the sale opened up for bids again (see related stories).

After hearing Mr. Henly, the JAG listened to members of the timber industry repeat the arguments made at the Board of Supervisors meeting. The JAG discussed the issue briefly among themselves. It was immediately clear that the JAG supported the planned action of Cal Fire to reopen bidding, and a resolution to that effect was passed unanimously.

This was a quiet ending to the controversy. Cal Fire's agreement to reopen the bidding seemed to satisfy everyone. It is still uncertain whether an acceptable bid will be received, given the nearly non-existent demand from mills for redwood.


First Meeting of the New Recreation Users Task Force

June 15, 2009. The first meeting of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) Recreation User Group Task Force will be held on July 2, 2009 at 3:00 P.M. at JDSF headquarters, 802 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg. The public is invited.

The formation of the Recreation Task Force is a significant step towards elevating recreation in the priorities of JDSF management.

The formation of the Task Force was mandated in the new management plan for Jackson Forest, approved in January 2008. The Task Force, whose members were selected in an open process, will advise JDSF management on the creation of a recreation plan for the forest and on development of a user survey. It members will also provide liaison with the various groups of recreation users.

The initial meeting  will focus on the group structure, organization, charter, goals and objectives.  Call Craig Pedersen, JDSF, (707) 964-5674, for more information.


Mendocino Supervisors Urge Jackson Forest to Give Away Timber To Bailout Loggers

June 24, 2009. Anderson Logging, led by Mike Anderson, and other timber men had a receptive audience yesterday. The Mendocino Board of Supervisors seemed more than anxious to show their support for the timber industry and to express their anger that Jackson Forest is still not cutting timber.

Introduced by Jere Melo, Mike Anderson urged the supervisors to tell Cal Fire to reconsider a rejected bid for a Jackson Forest timber plan. If the sale goes forward, his firm will receive $1.3 million to do the logging and hauling. The rejected sale bid, by Schmidbauer Lumber, of Eureka, was $108,000 for 4.5 million board feet (BF) of timber.

Admitting that the bid was very low, Mr. Anderson stressed that it would provide jobs for 30 to 40 timber workers for 3 to 4 months. His son, Miles Anderson, then told the supervisors that "In making our bid, we did not charge anything for its equipment. Our concern is for jobs for the workers."

Larry Holgren of Schmidbauer explained why the bid was so low, amounting to only 2.5 cents per board foot, or a total of $108,000. His firm is interested only in Douglas Fir, which was 64 percent of the sale, and tried to find other mills to buy the redwood. Willits Redwood, which specializes in large redwood logs, would buy the larger logs, but these amounted to only 15% of the redwood. No buyers could be found for the remaining 85% of the redwood logs; so his firms bid assumed they would truck all these to Eureka, store them over the winter, and truck them back to a Mendocino County mill next year (when hopefully there would be a market). The combined trucking and logging costs totaled $1,404,000. The estimated delivered value of the timber was $1,535,000. Mr. Holgren said that his firms bid of $108,000 provided an estimated profit of only $23,500. Details of the Schmidbauer cost analysis.

Vince Taylor told the supervisors that for Cal Fire to have accepted the bid would have been "economic lunacy." "In a normal year, the sale would generate about $1.8 million dollars; thus selling it now for $108,000 makes no sense for Jackson Forest." The argument is that it would create 30-40 jobs for 3-4 months. The money that would be paid to these workers would amount to about $350,000 (30 workers for 3 months). Jackson Forest would be sacrificing five times this amount of revenue. It makes no sense.

Mr. Taylor said that the reason the sale didn't take place is that "the timber industry in in the tank. The supervisors should direct their upset at the investment bankers, the Federal Reserve, and the mortgage industry. They created the housing bubble and consequent collapse that has brought the timber industry (and the world economy) to its knees.

Mr. Taylor also urged the supervisors to defer to the Jackson Advisory Committee, which is scheduled to discuss the sale this Friday. He said that it took eight years to take Jackson Forest out of a political fight and that the supervisors getting involved risked re-politicizing the forest.

Supervisor Kendall Smith recommended the Board send a letter urging Cal Fire to submit the sale for rebidding, but the remainder of the Board wanted to tell Cal Fire "strongly" to reconsider and accept the Schmidbauer bid. A resolution containing this sentiment was passed unanimously.


Campaign to Have Jackson Forest Give Away Its Timber

June 23, 2009.  Jere Melo, Fort Bragg City Councilman, and Mike Anderson, owner of Anderson Logging, have launched a campaign to force Cal Fire and Jackson State Forest to make a large timber sale at far below fair value. Upset that Cal Fire rejected the sole bid of $108,000 for 4.5 million board feet of timber, Mr. Melo and Mike Anderson are taking their case to the political bodies of Mendocino County. Mr. Anderson's firm would do the logging if the sale goes forward.

On Monday, June 22, at the meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council, Mr. Melo introduced a resolution   to request Cal Fire to resubmit the sale for bids and urge Cal Fire to price it at a level that would sell, regardless of the long-term value of the timber. Mike Anderson argued to the council that it would create 3-4 months of 30 to 40 timber jobs.

The City Council voted against supporting the resolution by 3 to 2 (with Jere Melo being one of the "yea" votes). The Council decided that the reason the bid was rejected was that it was too low.

Today, Tuesday, a similar issue will be be brought up before the County.


Jackson Forest Fails to Sell Timber Harvest Plans

June, 2009. Reflecting the depressed market for timber, Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) failed to attract any bids on two timber sales and rejected a low bid on a third sales.

No bids were received for a timber sale in 14 Gulch and Dunlap North. Both of these sale areas are in the south central area of Jackson Forest, near Highway 20. The 14-Gulch sale was for 1,685,000 board feet of timber, of which about 800,000 board feet were redwood. The Dunlap North sale was for 2,600,000 board feet, of which 1,300,000 board feet were redwood.

Recognizing the depressed market, especially for Douglas Fir, JDSF had set the minimum bid for Douglas Fir at just $10 per thousand; but even this almost-free price for fir was not enough to attract bids.

Another sale, the North Fork Spur, received one bid of $108,000. JDSF management rejected this bid. The sale was for 4.5 million board feet; thus the bid amounted to only $25 per thousand board feet. In normal years, Jackson would expect to receive bids of $300 to $500 per thousand board feet.


Jackson Advisory Group Meets June 26-27, 2009

June, 2009. The Jackson Forest Advisory Group (JAG) will hold its monthly meeting on Friday and Saturday, June 26-27, 2009. The meetings will be at the Fort Bragg Senior Center, 409 North Harold Street. Agenda

Of particular interest to the public will be an item scheduled for 10:45 am on Friday to discuss the timber sale program. The item was placed on the agenda at the request of member Jere Melo, who is upset at the failure of the three sales put out for bid this year (see other stories on this page). He is particularly upset that JDSF rejected the sole bid of $108,000 for the North Fork Spur sale. In an email distributed to JAG members, Mr. Melo made clear his views:

At this time, the [Jackson Forest] sale program has totally failed. Our approved Work Plan assumed a successful sale program. While the rejection of the North Fork Spur sale is a trust matter (Just what is a bidder to do with an advertised sale?), there are reasons why folks are not able to bid on Dunlap North and 14 Gulch. And there are reasons why there is a failure to resolve contracts at Brandon Gulch and Camp 3. It is time for a transparent discussion of the sale program. I have asked some local experts, Chris Baldo from Willits Redwood, Larry Holmgren from Schmidbauer Lumber and Gary Roach from Roach Logging to speak about their impressions of the sale program. We also need to hear from Cal Fire about the real reasons for the North Fork Spur rejection and about any feedback they have received from purchasers about the no-bid sales.

The matter of paying for JDSF activities is no small matter. We really do need to look around and understand the very serious economic problems facing the public and private sectors in California. Local mills have high log and lumber inventories due to slow sales, and those inventories are overpriced in light of current prices. They need to work down the inventories and prices over time. And the state has a rough $24 billion deficit that will grow each day unless cuts are made and revenues are improved. The Legislature is groping for cash, even to the point of violating provisions of the state constitution and state laws they have adopted. $130,000 or so from the North Fork Spur is not much, for sure, but a rejection is $130,000 less. It is time for JAG to shake off the "Ho-Hum" attitude about the need for JDSF to finance its programs.

Mr. Melo has prepared a document giving the background of the timber sales and proposing recommendations to be adopted by JAG.  Mr. Melo would like members of the timber industry to suggest how the sales program could be made more to their liking. He also wants JDSF staff to justify their rejection of the bid.

The major focus of Friday's meeting will be on defining and clarifying the concept of Natural Forestry and its application to Jackson State Forest.

At 10:00 am, John Helms and Dan Porter will summarize forestry literature references and recommendations related to Natural Forestry.

The agenda picks up the discussion of Natural Forestry at 12:15 pm, following lunch. The discussion in the afternoon will be led by the Landscape Committee, which been working on defining Natural Forestry and listing principles to use in applying the concept to Jackson Forest. This discussion will continue until adjournment at between 4:30 and 5:00 pm.

The Saturday meeting will begin at 8:30. There will be a presentation by the Research Committee and an update on JDSF activities. At 10:00 am, committee breakout sessions or further JAG discussion will occur, as determined by the group.

No afternoon session is planned for Saturday.


Landscape Planning Committee Addresses Emulating Natural Forestry Processes

March 13, 2009. The Landscape Committee of the JAG addressed at length managing Jackson State Forest by emulating natural forest processes.

The central proposal at the meeting was a variation of the principles of Natural Forestry discussed in an adjoining editorial. There appeared to be a move within the Committee of managing the bulk of the forest for simultaneous restoration to old growth and timber harvesting.

Detailed notes of the meeting and a link to an audio tape of the meeting are at Jackson Forum. You can add your own comments.


Jackson Forest Announces Formation of Recreation Task Force

Issues Call for Applications

March 5, 2007.   Jackson Demonstration State Forest staff, the official managers of Jackson Forest, have issued a request for applicants to serve on a newly established recreation advisory group. Applications are due by April 3, 2009. Candidates should expect to be interviewed.

Officially titled the Recreation User Group Task Force, the group will provide on-going advice on recreation in Jackson Forest. Most importantly, the Task Force will have a major role in developing a new long-term recreation plan for Jackson Forest.

The invitation describes the setting for the Task Force:

A new management plan for JDSF, adopted in January, 2008, proposes enhanced recreation and calls for user groups to advise the department in developing and implementing a plan to achieve this purpose.  The management plan also established a Jackson Advisory Group to facilitate public input on a variety of management issues, including recreation.  It is intended that interactions of the department, the Task Force, the Jackson Advisory Group, and the public will help achieve the recreational goals and objectives of the JDSF management plan.

The Task Force will represent a broad range of interests:

Members may include, but not be limited to JDSF neighbors, cyclists, equestrians, target shooters, teachers, hunters, hikers, campers, bird watchers, mushroomers, nature photographers, trail guide writers, and event organizers.

Anyone with an interest in and time and energy to devote to enhancing recreation in our 50,000-acre publicly owned redwood forest is urge to apply. Full details.


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Jackson Forum

Note: The Campaign ended with the rejection by the Board of Forestry of the JAG Consensus in July 2011, followed in November 2011 by the retirement of Campaign's Executive Director, Vince Taylor.

This website is being continued for historical information but is not being updated.

See below for Mr. Taylor's last statement on the ending of the Campaign's efforts.

Editorials

A Dark Day for the Board of Forestry and Jackson Forest

November 9, 2011. How quickly things can change. My previous editorial was entitled "A New Future for Jackson State Forest," reflecting the remarkable achievement of the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) in developing unanimous consensus recommendations for future management of Jackson State Forest.

Given the history of conflict, the broad representation and stature of JAG members, and the terms of the JAG's charter, it seemed unthinkable that the Board of Forestry would do other than accept the recommendations.

Even for a body famous for doing the wrong thing, the Board of Forestry sank to new lows in its treatment of the unanimous consensus recommendations of the Jackson Forest Advisory Group.

On July 13, 2011, the Board of Forestry acted on the Advisory Group recommendations. By selectively choosing from the Advisory Group's recommendations, the Board unraveled the unanimously supported consensus that the Group worked arduously for 2-1/2 years to achieve.

The board eliminated the key protections that would have ensured that the forest was placed on a path toward restoration of older forest characteristics across the forest landscape. It contemptuously dismissed the Group's recommendations designed to enhance recreation experiences and to move toward elimination of herbicides.

All of the changes made by the Board were to move forest management of JDSF back toward "business as usual," away from the balanced vision put forth by the Jackson Advisory Group. In so doing, you threw away the golden opportunity to end the conflict, legal challenges, and acrimony that have surrounded JDSF for fifteen years.

After giving the matter lengthy consideration, I resigned from the Advisory Group on September 6, 2011. I said to the Board of Forestry in letter that detailed its failure to act in a responsible, respectful manner, "f I were to remain a member of the Advisory Group, I would be tacitly accepting the actions of the Board. To do so would betray the thousands of people who have relied on me to represent their desire for meaningful reform of JDSF management."

The following is excerpted from my letter to the Board of Forestry:

Given the language of the charter ... the wisdom of eliminating conflict and future legal challenges to JDSF management, and the remarkable achievement of the Advisory Group in coming to unanimous consensus, I and others had every reason to expect that the Board would accept the recommendations of the Advisory Group without significant changes.

Instead, you rejected central elements of the recommendations that were of crucial importance to the conservation, recreation, and general public members of the group, and did so in way that was extremely disrespectful of the Advisory Group.

The actions of the Board were, and I use the word advisedly, deplorable:

  •  In rejecting central elements of the consensus recommendations, the Board unraveled the hard-won consensus. In so doing, it threw away the golden opportunity for a future for JDSF free from conflict and discord.

  • The entire process of the Jackson Advisory Group, prior to the Board review, was collegial and inclusive, with the goal of ensuring that all parties felt heard and their concerns honored.

  • The Board, in contrast, acted in isolation and shut out the Advisory Group from process. When months of Board review passed without requests for input or participation by the Advisory Group, the Group's Chair wrote on May 9, 2011, via email, to the Board of Forestry and Cal Fire:

On behalf of the JAG I request that opportunities be provided for the JAG to formally contribute to on-going discussion by the Board and its Committees as these bodies review the JAG Report...

Continued involvement of, and dialogue with, the broadly-representative JAG would, I believe, benefit the Board and its Committees as they consider the JAG's consensus-developed recommendations.

No response was made to the letter, and the request was ignored.

 The Board never gave the Advisory Group any opportunity to respond to concerns or to comment on proposed Board changes to its recommendations.

  • The Board allowed staff and a few Board members working for tens of hours to discard central agreements that took Advisory Group thousands of hours to develop, review, and revise until agreement could be reached.

Different members of the Advisory Group have expressed to me that "The Board's actions were a slap in the face," and "The Board threw us under the bus." However expressed, there is no question that the Board showed no respect for the members of the Jackson Advisory Group or their accomplishments.

[Full letter to Board of Forestry]
____________

This is a sad note on which to end the ten years of effort I devoted to making management of Jackson Forest appropriate for a publicly owned forest.


A New Future for Jackson State Forest

January 15, 2011. After two and one-half years of difficult and sometimes acrimonious debate, the Jackson Advisory Group has resolved it differences in good spirit. It has agreed on a package of recommendations that, if implemented, will create an exciting future for California's largest public forest, Jackson Demonstration State Forest.

A brief view of the important aspects of the JAG's report, A Vision for the Future, is presented on a following page. It presents excerpts for the "Introduction and Summary" of the report.

The excerpts are accurate reflections of the contents of the report, but the busy reader may fail to gain a full appreciation of the significance of the report and its recommendations. Let me provide some perspective.

Historical Background

During the 1990's,  Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF or Jackson Forest) became a major source of revenue for the Department of Forestry. Toward the end of the decade, Jackson logging revenues were putting $10-15 million per year into the state treasury and supporting a variety of forestry programs.

The profitability of the forest resulted in substantial pressure on Jackson Forest managers to keep logging at high levels. At the same time, the operating budget of the forest was kept at a low level. Staff had difficulty in simply "getting out the cut." Recreation got little funds or attention, and even important road maintenance and decommissioning was deferred. Larger and smaller clearcuts (groups) were used routinely.

Starting in the mid-1990s, the aggressive logging program aroused increasing  opposition from Mendocino County residents. Protests and direct action took place. Responding to public outcry, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) appointed a "Citizens Advisory Committee" in 1998; but its process was compromised by participation of JDSF staff, and all of its recommendations were ignored.

After all requests for revisions in management practices were ignored, the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest (the Campaign) was formed in 2000. After its efforts to negotiate with state were rebuffed, it filed a series of lawsuits over the next four years -- all of which were successful and led to a cessation of logging that lasted until 2008.

CDF and the local timber industry were both angry at the loss of timber and money. For years, coming together seemed impossible, as CDF tried to ignore the Campaign and local timber interests criticized it for causing the loss of timber jobs and timber supply.

In 2006, Ruben Grijalva, a new director of CDF, started a dialog with me, the principal of the Campaign. We quickly agreed to seek to bring all stakeholders in the forest together to develop consensus recommendations for future management of the forest. Measures to implement this approach were placed within a proposed 2008 Management Plan for JDSF. With the approval of this plan, the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) was formed and given the charge to provide consensus recommendations for long-term management of Jackson Forest.

Reaching Consensus

Given the diversity and breadth of interests of the JAG and the contentious history, it might seem that only a miracle could bring about consensus. Whether it was a miracle or not, consensus was achieved -- and it was a robust consensus, with all members supporting the overall package. Further,  every individual recommendation was supported  by a strong majority, and in most instances by all, of the JAG.

A major impetus toward consensus was a unanimous desire to put the past confrontations and animosity behind. But, even more important was a realization, which developed over time, that everyone could have their core needs met without denying those of others. It took hard work and creativity to come up with the final package, but the end result is impressive for its detail and comprehensiveness.

My own key concerns were: One, that clearcutting and other forms of even-aged management would be used only for legitimate research and demonstration projects and would be on the smallest reasonable scale; and two, that the forest as a whole be put on a course consistent with eventually restoring the trees in large portions of the forest to their natural ages. Both of these concerns were met.

What I originally termed Natural Forestry was renamed to Matrix Silviculture, but  kept the core concepts. It made the "default" management for areas not in research or with more constrained management.

To be clear, only a minority of the forest will be directly managed to restore old forest conditions, but most of the remainder will be managed to grow older, bigger trees during the planning period of forty years.  If future managers wish to grow more of the forest to its natural age, they be able to do so with little loss from the timber operations that will occur in the planning period.

All members supported more attention to recreation and protection of aesthetic and spiritual values. We can look forward to Jackson Forest becoming a major recreation resource for Mendocino and the state.

The report includes recommendations intended to make Jackson Forest into a major center of research and demonstration on redwood forestry. Importantly to me, clear safeguards are recommended to ensure that only legitimate, peer-reviewed, funded research projects will be allowed to use timber operations inconsistent with Matrix Silviculture.

All those who supported the Campaign and its goals should take satisfaction in what has been accomplished. We have come from having our ideas completely ignored to having them become central elements in the JAG Report.

Equally or perhaps more important, timber representatives and scientists feel the JAG recommendation meet their needs, too. The consensus of all parties means that we will all work together to see that the JAG's recommendations are adopted by the California Board of Forestry and CAL FIRE, the department responsible for managing Jackson Forest.

The Board of Forestry will receive the report from the Jackson Advisory Group on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Sacramento. [Agenda] This will initiate the next step in the path toward getting the recommendations integrated into the JDSF management plan.

For those who want to understand the recommendations in more depth,  download the entire report.


What Lies Ahead for Jackson State Forest?

Thursday, November 18, 2010 will be your chance to learn and voice your opinion about what is being proposed for the future management of Jackson State Forest, the 50,000-acre forest that dominates the inland landscape of Fort Bragg and Mendocino. Come to the Fort Bragg Town Hall at the corner of Main and Laurel at 7:00 pm, November 18, 2010.

The Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) was formed in 2008 and given until January 2011 to develop recommendations for long-term management of Jackson Forest. The advisory group was chosen to give representation to all the major stakeholders in the forest – loggers, timber companies, recreationists, conservationists, scientists, and the general public. The goal set out in its charter was for its members to strive to reach consensus on elements of a long-term plan for timber management, forest restoration, recreation and education, and research.

The JAG has been meeting for over two years. It has now come to consensus agreement on most of the major recommendations it will make in January to the Board of Forestry and the Director of Cal Fire. Members of the JAG will present its recommendations and solicit input from those present. Meeting Background Document.

If you have a concern about how Jackson Forest is managed, this is your best chance to hear what is proposed and to voice your opinion.

For those who haven’t been around for a long time or haven’t followed the controversies over Jackson Forest, some background may be helpful. Until the mid-1990s Jackson Forest was managed by the California Department of Forestry primarily for timber production and without controversy. Starting in mid-decade, public opposition to the large-scale logging continued to build, culminating in 2000 in lawsuits that halted all logging in the forest beginning in 2001.

It took until 2008 to bring the major interest groups into agreement on a new management plan that allowed timber harvesting to resume, created the JAG, and provided important interim constraints on timber harvesting while the JAG developed its recommendations.

As one of the principals involved in the controversies since the mid-1990s and a member of the JAG, I am excited about the prospect of a management plan that will resolve the prior conflicts and garner broad support from all those with a stake in our public forest. The recommendations of the JAG represent a reasonable balance among those interested in timber production, restoration to older forest, research, and recreation. Please take advantage of this opportunity to voice your opinions before the JAG finalizes its recommendations.

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG

Jackson Advisory Group Nears Draft of Recommendations

May 4, 2010. The Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) was appointed by the Director of Cal Fire, with the concurrence of the Board of Forestry, in April of 2008. The Group was given a broad charter to review the management plan for 50,000-acre Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) and to recommend changes to the Director and Board of Forestry.

The deadline for the JAG’s recommendation is January 2011, three years after the current management plan for Jackson Forest was approved. To meet this deadline, the JAG has set a goal of having an initial draft report ready by June of this year – a very short time away, given the present lack of agreement on the most important issue facing the JAG.

The JAG has focused most of its attention in the last year on allocating the landscape of Jackson Forest to different management (silvicultural) approaches and different ultimate goals. Early on there was acceptance by the JAG that a “significant” portion of the forest would be managed to develop old forest characteristics, but beyond this agreement there is no consensus.

A committee of the JAG, the Landscape Committee, has designated areas of the forest to preserve (e.g. all old growth stands), to manage for developing old growth characteristics (“late seral” in forestry terminology), and for developing older forest characteristics while still maintaining some timber harvesting. The designated areas lie mostly within a relatively narrow band that runs along the northern edge of the forest and drops down to the southern edge about 5 miles from the western edge.

These older forest areas comprise only about 12,000 of Jackson Forest’s 48,000 acres. What is to happen on the remaining acres?

The Landscape Committee recommended to the JAG in the summer of 2009 that “Natural Forestry” be the basic management approach in all areas of the forest not specifically designated for different management, such as research and demonstration areas, special concern areas, reserves, and old-growth development areas (where timber harvesting will be more limited).

Simply put, Natural Forestry aims to promote older forest characteristics and aesthetic values while maintaining timber production. A workshop was held at Jackson Forest in November 2008 that brought together about ten forest managers that use techniques that would form the basis of Natural Forestry – single-tree selection to promote larger trees, light entries that don’t greatly open the canopy, and attention to maintaining aesthetic values. These managers were unanimous in their opinion that their form of forestry could be practiced successfully on Jackson State.

The recommendation to apply Natural Forestry to all stands not otherwise designated for other management has created an ongoing controversy in the JAG. Despite the Committee’s repeated insistence that it expects significant portions of the forest to be allocated to research and demonstration projects, a common perception is that accepting the Landscape Committee’s Natural Forestry proposal would lead to all of Jackson being turned into old growth.

The Research Committee, which is charged with developing recommendations to support a world class research and demonstration program at Jackson State, has been particularly upset. Several of its members felt that the uniformity of Natural Forestry management would not provide the variety of stand conditions necessary for a first-class research program. The Landscape Committee responded that the “research and demonstration will always trump Natural Forestry”, and that allocations made for research and demonstration would lead to a variety of stand structures on the forest.

To help gain advice on how research needs should be reflected in landscape allocation recommendations; the JAG convened a Science Workshop, with participants drawn from a variety of scientific specialties associated with forestry.

The consensus of the workshop was that Jackson should develop a research program focused on a few “Centers of Excellence”, such as forest restoration while maintaining timber production, urgently restoring the salmon populations in forest streams, and quantitatively modeling the relationships between forest stand conditions and wildlife populations.  With respect to the allocation issue, most participants felt that the management treatments given to different stands should be decided as part of the design of the research program.

The JAG so far has been unable to reach agreement on the crucial landscape allocation issue. The conclusions of the scientists at the workshop seem to provide a sensible solution to the allocation issue:

Initially, before the research program is developed, use Natural Forestry for all timber harvests. Then, as the research program is established and research projects defined for parts of the landscape, use the management methods specified in the research protocols on the stands involved.

As I write, the JAG has scheduled a meeting (April 15) designed to end the stalemate. A small group is drawing upon the work of the Research and Landscape Committees and the Science Workshop to draw up a draft policy recommendation on landscape allocation. At the same time, all JAG members have been asked to list their “core needs” for Jackson Forest, needs that if not meant would prevent them from supporting the package of JAG recommendations.

The goal and the hope for the upcoming meeting is that the JAG will agree on the allocation policy recommendation and identify any further key issues where further work is needed to reach consensus. If this goal is reached, it will clear the way for the JAG to move forward quickly. The June deadline for the JAG’s draft report will be a realistic possibility. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

[May 4, 2010. The JAG will have a follow-up to the April meeting on May 10 in Ukiah. See story in adjacent column for more information on the May 10 JAG meeting. Materials distributed for the meeting are here.]


A Possible Roadmap for Reaching Agreement on Future Management of Jackson Forest

November 25, 2009. A primary mission for the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) is to recommend how the landscape of Jackson Forest should be managed to meet the goals of research and demonstration, restoration, watershed and ecological health, timber management, and recreation.

The Landscape Committee has designated areas to be managed for restoration to older forest and old growth forest. Still, management objectives and methods have not yet have specified for more than half of the forest. The Landscape Committee has recommended that, in the absence of research and demonstration projects, the remainder of the forest be managed using natural or restoration forestry methods -- single-tree selection aimed at increasing the size and volume per acre of trees, while striving to maintain a natural, undisturbed feeling.

Various concerns have been raised about this recommendation by JAG members. In particular, those concerned about research and demonstration want to be sure that the forest has sufficient diversity of conditions to support a broad research program. Others are concerned natural forestry might not generate sufficient revenue to fund forest operations, or that trees will be grown to a size that the public will not allow to be cut.

Based on recommendations made by the Research Committee members, but not fully approved by the committee, a clear pathway toward moving forward seems at hand. I have created a "Landscape Reconciliation Roadmap" that lays out the areas of agreement, questions and issues, and ways to resolve the questions and issues.

Those who want a detailed view of the status of JAG's efforts to reach agreement on Jackson Forest management, may wish to study the roadmap. Anyone can comment on the roadmap at the Jackson Forum.

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG


Restoration and Natural Forestry Gathering

October 19, 2009. The October National Geographic features an article that details the year-long walk of Mike Fay through the entire redwood region. Based on his findings, Mr. Fay is urging widespread adoption of a form of restoration forestry practiced by a number of managers of small timberland holdings. This form of forestry was pioneered by Jim Grieg in the 1960s. Its basic elements are single-tree selection, relatively light harvests, growing trees to 30-40 inches before harvesting, and maintaining the forest in a natural, attractive state.

On Saturday, October 24, the Advisory Group to Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) will be sponsoring a day-long gathering of well-known forest managers who practice the type of forestry favored by Mr. Fay and featured in his article. Weather permitting, the managers will visit four different types of forest stands in Jackson Forest and offer their opinions on how they would manage these stands.

[Maps and Background Information for Tour]

The gathering of mangers is an important step in the development of a long-term landscape management plan for Jackson Forest. The committee of the Jackson Advisory Group charged with landscape allocation has recommended to the full group that "Natural Forestry"should be the dominant form of management in Jackson Forest, outside of preserves, old-growth development areas, and research and demonstration sites.

The concept behind Natural Forestry is simultaneously to maintain timber production and to foster the forest's development towards its natural age and structural state. This is an entirely new and exciting concept in forest management, offering the possibility of fulfilling the public's desires to see redwood forests moved toward their magnificent natural state while generating the revenues needed to operate Jackson Forest as a world-class research, demonstration, and recreation forest.

The gathering of forest managers is intended to provide guidance on the range of their management techniques that could be incorporated in Natural Forestry. Because Natural Forestry is new and knowledge of the long-term dynamics of recovering redwood forests is limited, it will be essential to apply a variety of approaches, do rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the results, and apply the findings to adaptive management. As a public research and demonstration forest, Jackson State Forest is the perfect vehicle for conducting this grand experiment in restoring redwood forests.

Everyone is invited to attend. If you have an interest in forest management and restoration, this is a rare opportunity. The tour will start at 9:00 a.m. at JDSF Headquarters, 802 N. Main St., Fort Bragg. Bring lunch and own transportation (or carpool with others) and dress for the weather.

As I write this, the outlook is for reasonable weather. If it is rainy, the Restoration Forest Management Roundtable/Field Tour will be held indoors at the Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 N. Harold Street, Fort Bragg. If weather is questionable, call Russ Henly at 916-214-4868 to confirm whether field tour or indoor meeting will be held.

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG

A version of this article was submitted to the Advocate and Beacon newspapers.


Jackson Timber Sale Reform Needed

August, 2009. The saga of the attempt to sell timber in the North Fork Spur area demonstrates vividly the urgent need to reform timber sale practices in Jackson Forest. This sale was offered twice. Both times there was only a single bidder.

The rejection of the sole bid in the first sale created a political uproar from the Mendocino timber community, causing Jackson Forest to open the sale again. In the first sale, no minimum price was set for redwood, and the bidder, Schmidbauer Lumber of Eureka, offered an absurdly low price of $50 per thousand board feet -- less than 10% of the normal price.

In the second sale, Cal Fire set a minimum bid of $205 per thousand board feet for redwood. Schmidbauer was again the sole bidder, bidding just the minimums, and the bid was accepted.

At first glance, the rebid appears to have been good for Jackson Forest. It will receive about $350,000, compared to the $110,000 offered on the first sale. But, in responding to the political pressures, Cal Fire apparently bent over more than a little to ensure that the timber would be sold. The minimum bid of $205 per thousand board feet is well  below even current depressed redwood prices.

When I learned about the terms of the resale, I investigated the current market for redwood in Mendocino County and found that a more appropriate market price would have been about $300 per thousand. This would have added $150,000 to the amount received by Jackson Forest for the 4.5 million board feet of timber it sold.

I wrote my finding to Russ Henly, Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director for Resource Protection. In his reply, he attempted to justify the bid, but he did so by assuming logging costs well above those already specified by Schmidbauer in its initial bid and then tacking on a "profit and risk factor" of 12%. The current depressed market price of timber more than provides an adequate risk and profit factor.

The present practice is for managers of the forest to create a timber harvest plan (THP) that specifies the amounts of timber to be cut and the logging methods. The THP is then put out for bids and sold to the highest bidder. The winning bidder then hires a logging company to do the harvesting and hauling.

The core defect in the present system is that it was designed for a time when the timber industry in Mendocino County was very much larger and multiple mills in nearby Fort Bragg were competing for logs. Now there are no mills in Fort Bragg and only a few mills in the county.

Rather than a competitive bidding situation, we now have a few mills that all exchange information and logs; so there is not the opportunity for open, honest bidding. Equally important, Jackson Forest sales are very large and require large payments up front. These factors discourage bidders and depress the price that Jackson is likely to receive.

The solution to this is for Jackson Forest to harvest and deck logs on its own. It can then sort the logs by types and offer lots of these for sale or bid in quantities that will have the best demand. Micro mills in the area would be able to purchase logs from Jackson, something not currently possible. Not only would this improve the price received, but it would allow Jackson Forest to hire and oversee the logging contractors, ensuring that they met the high standards appropriate for Jackson forest.

The Jackson Advisory Group is expected to recommend making this change. It deserves widespread support.

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG


Misdirected Ire

June 22, 2009. Jere Melo, is angry. The focus of his ire is the failure of Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) to be cutting trees this year. If things continue as they have so far this year, this will make the eighth year in which no trees have been logged in Jackson Forest. As someone who is emotionally allied with the timber industry (having held a management position at Georgia Pacific for many years), it is understandable that he wants to see Jackson Forest producing timber.

If it were environmentalist who were creating the problem, his ire and the target of his anger would be understandable. But the failure to harvest trees in Jackson Forest this year has nothing to do with environmentalists or legal obstacles. 

Jackson Forest is now able to sell timber and has six timber harvest plans completed, two of which are under contract (though subject to negotiation on price). Despite these apparently favorable developments, Jackson Forest has so far not been able to harvest any timber so far this year.

The reason no sales have occurred is obvious, and Jere Melo understands it as well as anyone: the timber market is in the tank. The distribution chain is full of unsold lumber, and mills have more than they need sitting around. The view in the industry all year has been that it would be doubtful if bids could be obtained for any substantial timber sale.

Instead of directing his ire at the investment banks, the Federal Reserve, and the mortgage industry that created the housing bubble and consequent bust that has brought the housing industry, and indeed the world economy, to its knees, Mr. Melo is directing his ire at the staff of JDSF for rejecting a bid of $108,000 for 4.5 million board feet of timber! This would have amounted to giving away the public's timber for 2.5 cents per board foot! These are depression prices. Times are bad, but we are not in a depression.

In rejecting a low-ball bid, the staff of JDSF used good judgment and common sense. In a few years, when the timber market returns to more normal times, this same sale will bring the state about $1.8 million, eighteen times the rejected bid. It makes complete sense for JDSF to wait for a better market.

Mr. Melo has been joined in his campaign by Mike Anderson, owner of Anderson logging. Mr. Anderson's firm will be paid $1.3 million to the logging and hauling if the sale goes forward.

Mr. Melo and Mr. Anderson asked the Fort Bragg City Council and the Mendocino Supervisors to request Jackson Forest to reconsider and accept the low-ball bid. The Council declined to support their request; the Supervisors endorsed it enthusiastically. So goes politics. The Supervisors have no ownership, responsibility, or accountability for Jackson Forest. This made their emotionally satisfying stance easy to take.

Mr. Melo and Mr. Anderson are both members of Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) and Mr. Melo has put the item on the agenda  for the upcoming JAG meeting this Friday (see Agenda and discussion document).

Everyone deserves to have a hearing for his or her concern. Hopefully, though, the JAG members and staff will help Mr. Melo and Mr. Anderson to understand that the problem with sales lies not within Jackson State Forest but in the dismal economy

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG


Support Natural Forestry

May 12, 2009. The Jackson Advisory Committee is close to deciding on the principles to use in developing a long-term management plan for Jackson State Forest.

A key issue is the extent to which management should aim to restore most of the forest to old growth conditions while simultaneously harvesting sufficient timber to fund management of Jackson Forest and other state forests.

At the heart of the issue is the question whether or not we can obtain wood products from redwood forests in a way that honors and preserves the essential natural characteristics of redwood forests. The objective of Natural Forestry is to do just that.

The idea behind Natural Forestry is to emulate, to the extent practical, the natural processes that would occur in the absence of man's intervention. Obviously, harvesting timber is something that would not be done in the absence of man, but trees do die naturally in forests. The more closely harvesting activities mimic the process of mortality that naturally occurs, the more closely they would represent natural forestry.

Preliminary analyses indicate that it would be feasible to place stands in Jackson Forest on a path to old growth while continuing to harvest sufficient timber to meet revenue needs. More analysis is required to translate the concept of Natural Forestry into concrete management recommendations.

If you agree that Natural Forestry deserves full consideration, please click here to send a letter of support to the Jackson Advisory Group.


Signs Discouraging Public Access  Finally Removed

In July, 2008, the Jackson Advisory Group requested Jackson Forest staff to negotiate with a landowner over a sign that discouraged public use of of Road 500 in Caspar is a highly used public road into Jackson Forest. 

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The sign was in conflict with the stated position of Cal Fire on preventing any effort to discourage public access to this road.
More.

I'm happy to report that new signs have been installed that emphasize the public nature of the road and request driving slowly. The landowner has, in any event, slowed traffic by installing road bumps.

This is a good outcome for the public, preserving the right of public access into the forest over a publicly held right of way.


Natural Forestry for Jackson Forest

February 17, 2009. Recently the concept of "Natural Forestry" as a management strategy for Jackson State Forest has gained prominence in discussions of the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG), the independent advisory group charged with developing recommendations for long-term management of the forest.

104 -Beautiful forest small.JPG
Camp 3 Jackson State Forest

Mike Jani, co-chair of the Landscape Committee of the JAG coined the term and gave a definition for Natural Forestry. "Natural Forestry is managing the forest to emulate natural forest processes." A key aspect of the natural processes of redwood forests is that the trees grow to 500 years and upwards.

The key elements of Natural Forestry are that harvest operations would be designed to continually grow stands to higher volumes and larger tree diameters, would allow some portion of trees to grow indefinitely larger, and timber harvesting would continue without end. As the stands grew over hundreds of years, they would more and more resemble natural old growth stands.

Natural Forestry, if it could be demonstrated to be economically and practically feasible, would remove the necessity to choose between managing the public forest to maximize its ecological value or managing it to provide revenues and desired timber jobs. Natural Forestry would be the preferred management strategy for multiple objectives, including timber production, habitat, and restoration of redwood forests to the old growth condition that is the natural state of redwood forests.

Ecologically, Natural Forestry management is a strong contender for the best strategy. As Ken Fisher has commented, it "... does maximize cubic volume of wood over time, carbon sequestration, tree size, non-model conforming tree qualities like large irregular upper branching, reiteration, and old bark qualities." These are powerful pluses.

Major questions need to be answered about the economics and mechanics of harvesting trees in stands that continually grow older. The JAG will be addressing these in the coming months.

There is also a legitimate fear of those interested in timber production that at the point in time where the majority of trees in the stands are hundreds of years old and five and more feet across, the public will cry out against cutting any of the trees and harvesting will come to a halt.

Natural Forestry needs much more thought, discourse, and investigation, but the concept is exciting.

Comment on this article and see related posts at Jackson Forum under the heading "Natural Forestry."

Vince Taylor
The above views represent those of the author personally and not as a member of the JAG
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Published as one of a series of columns in the Mendocino Beacon and Fort Bragg Advocate News under the heading "Jackson Forest Wanderings", February 19, 2009.


Harvest Plans Need Reconsideration

January 2nd, 2009. The Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) has now reviewed four near-term harvest plans proposed for Jackson State Forest. A problem with the harvest plans proposed in the management plan has now become apparent, a problem that has been exacerbated by the housing collapse and general economic downturn.

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Dunlap North, Jackson State Forest

Many of the harvest plans were developed long before the present management plan took its final shape. Indeed, a number of these plans were initially developed in the 1990’s under the 1984 management plan that was declared invalid by the courts. The priorities and goals for forest management in the new plan differ greatly from those of the 1984 plan (which primarily addressed managing the forest for maximum timber yield, with no attention to endangered species and ecological diversity and little attention to recreation)...

                   Hare Creek Effects of Illegal ORV Use

[Read the remainder of this  article and add your comments.]


The Final Chapter

August, 2008. In 2000, the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest filed suit to halt logging in Jackson State Forest. Over the next eight years, legal actions or the threat of legal actions compelled the Department of Forestry (formerly abbreviated as CDF, now Cal Fire) to refrain from any logging and to develop a new management plan and accompanying environmental documents. Finally, in January of 2008, a new management plan for Jackson State Forest was approved, with the support of the Campaign.

One issue remained unresolved - what was to happen with the two timber harvest plans (THPs) filed in 2000, for Brandon Gulch and Camp 3. These plans were subsequently halted by the legal actions of the Campaign. The state contended that the THPs were still valid, although they were long past the 5-year expiration limit in the statutes. With the approval of the management plan, these plans could go forward...  More

More Editorials


Read my latest Jackson Wanderings column, published in the Fort Bragg Advocate and Mendocino Beacon at the new Jackson Forum

New Ways to Learn and Participate

July 8, 2008. As the topics being considered by the Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) expand, you will find it challenging to keep abreast of developments and to get your views heard by the JAG.

Help is here in the form of several new online capabilities.


Where We Are and Where We Came From

Branching Out, the newsletter of the Trees Foundation, recently published my article on the history and developments of the movement to reform management of Jackson State Forest, Where We Are Today and Where We Came From. Also an Adobe Acrobat Version


What Lies Ahead?

March13, 2008. Fifty-thousand acre Jackson Demonstration State Forest is a major part of the landscape of the Mendocino County coastal community. It also has been a focus of controversy and division since 1995, when the Caspar Community protests against nearby logging began an escalating effort to reform management of Jackson Forest.

As memories tend to be short, many may have forgotten that during the 1990s, the state was cutting upwards of 60,000 trees per year from our public forest. The major management goal was "to get out the cut." Timber harvests were concentrated in previously unentered 80 to 100 year-old stands, and also in local neighborhoods that adjoined the forest.

Public opposition culminated in the formation of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest in 2000. The Campaign undertook a succession of lawsuits that effectively tied up all timber harvesting from 2001 until this year.

For the last two years, those at the center of the controversy have been working to find common ground. I am happy to report that these efforts have borne fruit.  Am opportunity has been created to transform our local 50,000-acre Jackson Demonstration State Forest into a model of excellence, into a world-class demonstration forest that will bring pride to our community, the timber industry, the research community, and the forest managers.

In January, 2008, the Board of Forestry approved a new management plan that contained the essential features of a consensus reached among representatives of major county timber interests, the Campaign, and the Sierra Club. With this approval, the state can now legally resume logging in Jackson State. What does this mean for the forest and for you and me?

A new "Jackson Advisory Group," is currently being appointed. It will have a balance of people with environmental, conservation, timber, and science concerns. Its charge is to work during the next three years to develop a consensus on a long-term landscape, recreation, research, and management plan. The advisory group will likely invite local people with knowledge and interests to join subcommittees focused on different aspects of forest management. Monthly meetings open to the public are likely. It also seems likely that the staff of Jackson Forest will welcome formation of a "Friends of Jackson Forest" to allow volunteers to assist in restoration and recreation projects.

During the time the public is working with the advisory group to develop a consensus management plan, until  2011, all harvests in Jackson Forest will take place under strong protections "to assure that long-term planning options, particularly in sensitive areas, will not be precluded."

Protections include avoiding harvests in areas that have not been entered since 1920 or that have a significant density of large trees (with some possible initial exceptions), review of all harvest plans by the advisory group (which will provide a forum for public input), harvesting only by selection methods (no clearcuts), and retaining at least 70 percent of tree canopy (or the equivalent) and not reducing the average tree diameter in the harvested stands.

Thanks to reform legislation, revenues from harvests in Jackson Forest will only be able to be spent within the state forest system. During the first three years, harvest levels will be limited to those needed to finance operations of Jackson Forest. Harvest levels will be a fraction of those occurring during the late 1990's.  

We are truly at the beginning of a revolution in management of our forest. Thanks are due to all of those in the community, the timber industry, the Board of Forestry, and most especially the Director of the Department of Forestry, Ruben Grijalva, and his staff, whose hard work and willingness to seek consensus made this possible.

Vince Taylor

For more history, see below and here.

The Next Phase Begins
History and the Future

January 10, 2007. When the Board of Forestry approved the new management plan for Jackson State Forest on January 9, 2008, it was a milestone in the long struggle to reform management of Jackson Forest.

In thinking about where the reform effort goes from here, I found myself thinking about how we got to this point.

1995 marked the first public demonstration against the industrial logging practices that had characterized management of Jackson Forest since it started operations in the early 1950s. Demonstrations escalated in following years, with activists chaining themselves to gates in hopes of preventing logging in redwood stands that had grown back untouched for nearly 100 years. More

Earlier Editorials

The Campaign's proposal for Jackson Forest

Jackson Forum Blog

Jackson Forum is the place to go to find out what is happening in Jackson Forest --  and to have your own say. Check it out now!

Jackson Forum publishes in-depth reports on recreation and other meetings and analyses of important issues. Your comments can add to the discussion.


Real-time Online Email Archive
You can keep abreast of ongoing discussions among JAG members at the public JAG Google Group
.

This location has real-time archive of all emails among members of the JAG on topics of substance, together with attachments. Replies under the same heading are kept together making it easy to follow the discussion.

You can't post at the site, but you can email me any comments or thoughts, and I will email them to the JAG and post them to the group.

Cal Fire Website for Jackson Forest

The official website of Jackson Demonstration State Forest has links to official documents, timber harvest plans in Jackson, and meeting announcements related to Jackson Forest.


Jackson Forest Monthly Reports

January, 2009. Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) makes monthly status reports on activities to the Board of Forestry and the Jackson Advisory Group.

2009

 


See Our Slide Show
Broadening the Vision For Jackson State Forest

More Information and Background on Jackson State Forest

You can find more historical information on Jackson State Forest at www.dharmacloud.com.




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