A big rig logging truck plowed through a banner held by forest activists, as protests at the "Week of Action for the Mattole Forest" wrapped up in Humboldt County on Thursday.
Activists rallied in front of the Humboldt Redwood Company corporate offices in Scotia and blocked the roads at the nearby lumber mill, as big rig trucks loaded with trees entered the facility. The activists were protesting the company’s alleged harvesting of old growth trees, and their ongoing use of “hack ‘n’ squirt”, a forest practice that injects chemicals into unwanted or dying trees.
John Anderson, Director of Forest Policy with Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Companies, says the companies use "hack 'n' squirt" practices in small areas of the forest, and that this practice of poisoning unwanted hardwood trees is crucial to restoring forests to their original, conifer-dominated state.
However, others disagree. Naomi Wagner, a member of Earth First and other environmental activist organizations, says the practices of the redwood company are unsustainable.
The Mattole Forest Defenders, as the demonstrators are being called, are concerned about hardwoods and habitat in the Rainbow Ridge area of the redwood company’s holdings in the Mattole River watershed.
Residents and restoration workers of the area formed the Lost Coast League to try to purchase the over 1000-acre Rainbow Ridge forest, as a way to preserve what they call the unique forest environment that supports many rare and threatened species. Among the species found in the area are the Northern Spotted Owl, Coho and Chinook salmon, and a rare, old-growth dependent medicinal mushroom called the agarikon.
As the week of action wrapped up, demonstrators held signs and blocked the road outside of the Humboldt Redwood Company mill. Highway 101 began to back up with 13 logging trucks, who couldn’t enter the facility.
As protesters blocked the road, a big rig truck with its bed folded up, came out of the mill yard and plowed through a 15-foot banner that read “Hack 'n' squirt = fire hazard. HRC /MRC puts communities at risk.”
You can watch the video of the incident here:
In response to the incident, John Anderson says the truck did not belong to the company, and that they are looking into who was responsible.
Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Companies are owned by the Fisher family, billionaires who also own Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy stores.