I placed a complaint into the CDF Ranger Unit office on College Ave. yesterday concerning the logging operation that has been taking place at the CYO Camp Armstrong area off Scout Camp RD. just south of town.
As you may know, CYO filed for a Fire Hazard Exemption (#1-00EX-074) for this area. It was supposed to have been for the removal of dangerous and diseased trees that might fall onto buildings and people in the area. According to Steve Grant, Facilities Manager, proceeds from the resulting harvest (16,000-25,000 board feet) were to be used for renovation of the facilities.
What I witnessed this past week was something quite different. A large semicircular area on a steep slope to the north of the swimming pool was clearcut and extended well beyond the 150 ft. maximum distance from any dwelling. I called Mr. Grant and express many concerns, including: exceeding 150 ft., clearcutting on slopes greater than 30% in an area of high runoff that was highly susceptible to erosion, proximity to Salmon Creek, more bad PR for the Catholic Church, irate neighbors, and RPF Jim Berry loosing credibility in advance of CYO McGucken's upcoming 60-acre THP. I was told no more logging would be done, that the area would be replanted with redwoods supplied with artificial irrigation, and that erosion control measures would be taken. Richard Hoff called up Mr. Grant about an hour before me, expressed similar concerns, and was given similar assurances.
Chuck Joiner, chief forester at the CDF Ranger Unit, called me about two hours later. Both he and Steve Smith surveyed the damage. Berry's Saw Mill will be fined for being in violation of: clearly exceeding the 150 ft. distance allowed, removal of trees within a stream protection zone, and removal of trees that showed no evidence of disease or dying. The civil action will fall under the guidelines of new rules that went into effect 1 January 2000, which will streamline the suit (but will still take about 3+ weeks). Under these new rules, it is only necessary for CDF to prove a "reasonable level of evidence" for an activity to be held in violation. It will take about 20-30 hours for Chuck and Steve to write up the report and submit it to Sacramento. The amount of the fine will take the timber harvest into consideration, but, for the actual method that will be used to assess the fine, one needs to call CDF enforcement officer Tom Hoffman at (916) 653-5296. I was asked not to call Mr. Hoffman for at least one week or so. I expressed my concern to Mr. Joiner that the fine fit the crime. Both in my opinion and Chuck Joiner's, Jim Berry should have known better. If you wish to contact CYO McGucken about this, the phone number is 874-0200, and the office of Steve Grant is 874-0209. I would appreciate you not mentioning my name.
It is embarrassing to have something like this take place right under our noses. It drives home the fact that as environmentalists we must all be forever diligent and quick to act.
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