Community Members Across the Pacific Northwest Protest Murphy Company’s Old Growth Logging

pics via South Sound Forest Defense

cross-posted from South Sound Forest Defense

(Elma, Washington & Eugene, Oregon) – This morning activists gathered at Murphy Company facilities in both Washington and Oregon in protest of their continued logging of bio-diverse old growth and mature forests. Advocates in Elma, Washington gathered at Murphy Softwood Veneer Plant, while in Eugene, Oregon community members rallied at Murphy Headquarters.
The protestors called for an end to clear-cut logging and for reparations for the destruction wrought by the Timber industry to be paid to Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities that disproportionately experience the impacts of environmental and climate pollution from industrial logging. Specifically, they called for the immediate halt of Murphy’s logging of old growth and mature forests on Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land in the Capitol State Forest.
One protestor said:“In the face of the climate crisis, if we are to have any chance at protecting our communities, we need to protect the land. We cannot afford to allow corporations like Murphy Company to clearcut our lifeline to the future.”
Another stated: “The Murphy Company is a threat to our society and to our environment. For decades they have shown that they are more concerned with private profit than with protecting our climate and our environment for current and future generations.”
The actions come as the Washington DNR last month acknowledged that the “Smuggler Sale” purchased by Murphy Company from the Washington DNR includes old growth forest that meets the criteria for protection. The DNR also acknowledged that they had failed to identify or mark individual structurally unique trees exceeding 60 inches in diameter, which should have been marked for retention. While two acres of the sale were dropped, protestors believe that no mature forest should be logged and that the Smuggler sale in the capitol forest should be dropped.

pics via South South Forest Defense

One activist said:“Public land management agencies and the timber industry are continuing the colonial legacy that birthed them and as such they are complicit in the harm they perpetuate. We refuse to be. They put profit above all else. They take more than they give and cover up the harm done by labeling lumber from clear-cuts sustainable.”

One community member stated: “The science is clear – logging increases wildfire risk. In the face of the growing threat of climate-driven wildfires, it is imperative that we protect our fire-resilient forests from being replaced with highly flammable dog-hair timber plantations”
For more information or interview, please email: worthmorestanding@protonmail.com (South Sound Forest Defense, Washington)
  • Read about previous actions to defend the so-called Capitol State Forest here.
  • Read about the climate impacts of logging here.
  • Learn more about the Smuggler timber sale.
  • Learn more about Murphys’ logging of old growth in rendsland creek.

Cops raid protest camp in Capitol Forest, lone man in canopy continues to block logging

Cross-posted from the Chameleon Blockade

For Immediate Release: 

Contacts: Chameleon Blockade, (360) 209 6426, chameleonblockade@protonmail.com

Ian Frederick, (360) 474 2387

Nathan McKay, mckayresources@protonmail.com

Cops raid protest camp in Capitol Forest, lone man in canopy continues to block logging

Capitol State Forest, WA – Early Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of trucks from at least four different law enforcement agencies parked on a logging road for an unannounced raid on a camp of forest protection activists, sweeping the camp away and leaving one man in the forest canopy tied to a contraption that continues to impede work on the controversial “Chameleon” timber sale. The officers came from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol, the state Fish and Game Department, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the agency which planned and sold the timber sale and manages all of the Capitol State Forest. Law enforcement temporarily closed the roads to through traffic while they cleared the activists from the camp.

Alex Johnson, 29, a teacher from Olympia, was on the ground making coffee when the cops arrived. “There were just so many of them,” he said. “It seems like a lot of force to bring to deal with two unarmed civilians eating lunch.”

The two activists were briefly detained before being allowed to walk away while the officers attempted to negotiate with the remaining “tree-sitter” who continued to block the logging road. The DNR law enforcement eventually brought in spotlights and a generator and began to prepare for an extended siege of the tree-sit, which Mr. Johnson predicted would last a long time.

“I think these cops underestimate John’s commitment and endurance,” he said. “He thought hard about this before doing it, and he’s prepared to stay for quite a while. He’s one of the most stubborn guys I’ve ever met, and I tried to tell the cops that but I don’t think it’s sunk in for them yet.”

Johnson was referring to his friend in the canopy, John “Tree’Angelo” Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale, 34, an outdoor educator from Tumwater, has watched with dismay over the past several years as the DNR has systematically clear-cut most of its remaining old-growth stands. An avid hiker, he’s seen many of his favorite local trails turned to moonscapes.

“Unit 1 of Chameleon is some of the most intact forest, the best habitat left across one hundred thousand acres,” Barksdale said. “If we want all this to actually be a forest and not just an oversized tree plantation, we need to save at least something. We can’t clear-cut all of it.”

Barksdale has used years of climbing experience to erect a unique “dunk-tank” platform atop an old-growth douglas-fir tree, tied to an abandoned Ford Explorer parked across the proposed logging road. If the car moves, his platform drops. It’s about one hundred feet down to the steep slopes of the forest below. Barksdale claims to have plenty of food and water and says he is prepared to wait out the DNR indefinitely.

“I’ve always wanted to tree-sit,” he says. “I love trees. I love camping. I can work remotely out here and attend Zoom meetings from right here on the platform. It’s super dreamy up here, and I’m trying to save these trees. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”

The protest camp, which was started ten days ago by a few friends of Mr. Barksdale, quickly picked up support from local hunters, fishermen and ATV users concerned about the health of the forest. Protectors of the Salish Sea, an indigenous water advocacy group, held space with songs and prayers at the blockade on Saturday. Multiple community groups across Thurston County have come out in support of the blockade and are calling for the cancellation of the timber sale.

“Governor Inslee claims to be the ‘climate Governor’, and even ran for President of the United States on a platform based on tackling climate change, yet he continues to allow the Department of Natural Resources to clearcut our state’s forests despite their potential to mitigate the climate crisis,” said Nathan McKay, a landscape architect from Lacey, Washington. “If Inslee was really a climate leader, he would call off this timber sale, and protect our forests for their carbon sequestration and storage potential.”

A rally is planned for today, Thursday, October 8, at 3pm at the gate of the logging road leading into the timber sale. Community members are invited to witness the siege and see the ancient trees in the proposed clearcut.

LA Times: In the redwoods, logging and tree sitting continue, even as the pandemic shuts mills

cross-posted from Redwood Forest Defense

Outside Trinidad, Calif., in an area known as Strawberry Rock, Walter, a 22-year-old UCLA student, is taking part in a tree sit-in to prevent a logging company from cutting redwoods and other trees.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

In the redwoods, logging and tree sitting continue, even as the pandemic shuts mills

By Susanne Rust

April 16, 2020

Two Forest Defenders Blockade Sawmill in Scotia, California

pics from Save the Mattole

Cross-posted from Save the Mattole

Bike blockades deployed today at HRC’s Scotia sawmill, with two forest defenders locking themselves to piles of bicycles, blocking the north and south gates into the mill. The human-bicycle team effort was able to turn away several log trucks heading into the mill before a small army of Humboldt County Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene. Both blockaders refused to unlock, and it took several deputies to carry both the bikes and the blockaders to the side of the road, where they were cited and released (all the bicycles were also released to continue their work against climate change).

Logging trucks blocked out by forest defender blockade.

Unfortunately, in the hubbub, a comrade who was standing by to support was arrested by none other than Conan Moore – the same sheriff who brutalized peaceful protesters in June and later personally extracted blockaders from a monopod and another gate lockdown. The person who was arrested was on the phone with local media when they were handcuffed. They were leaving the property, following orders to disperse. Now, they are being held in Humboldt County Jail on a $25,000 bail, with the deputies recommending felony charges. We are calling for the immediate release of this nonviolent forest defender!

Support arrestees by donating to our legal fund: tinyurl.com/helpforestaresstees

And most of all, support us by joining our efforts! Email efhum@riseup.net