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Earth First! History
  • 1600 ?s California invaded by European explorers. They find numerous natives living in the area around Monterey Bay. Wildlife, including salmon and grizzly bears is abundant. Native peoples manage the landscape with fire to encourage deer and other prey species. Shell trade with inland tribes is extensive. Monterey and Branciforte (later called Santa Cruz) founded. Mission system ravages native population due to relocation and disease.

  • 183? First commercial milling of timber for shakes started in Aptos.

  • 185? First dimension mill built in Santa Cruz County. Deforestation begins with much of the timber going to fire lime kilns in several locations around the county. The rest is exported to build San Jose and San Francisco. Oxen, and later railroads used to extract timber from inland valleys.

  • 19?? Big Basin State Park founded as first California preserve of some ancient forest.

  • 1946 Bud and Lud McCrary introduce mechanized logging into Monterey Bay area using surplus tank parts.

  • 1979 Dave Foreman, Howie Wolke, Mike Roselle, ? form Earth First! On a desert mountaineering trip to Mexico. Big Creek Lumber starts logging in upper Butano Creek on property owned by Pacific Lumber.

  • 1980 Earth First! Journal started and first Round River Rendezvous held in Wyoming (by invitation only!)

  • 1982 UCSC Earth First! starts holding meetings during beer hour at College 8 on patio of Kerr Hall.

  • 1983 Organizing meetings and potlucks begin around town.                                                                                  

  • 1984 Demonstrations against plastic packaging staged at McDonalds on Mission Street.

  • 1985 Santa Cruz EF! hosts the first California Rendezvous in Big Basin State Park.. 40 people show up for 2 days of meetings and workshops.

  • 1986 UCSC EF! started again. Demonstrations staged at Bank of America. Santa Cruz EF! hosts second California Rendezvous in Big Basin. 300 people show up including Dave Foreman and Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Society who agree to work together. Dave Foreman and David Brower speak at UCSC. Big Creek Lumber finishes initial Butano cutting. Pacific Lumber is taken over in a hostile purchase by MAXXAM corporation using junk bonds.

  • 1987 Demonstrations against cougar hunting at CA Dept. of Fish and Game offices locally and in Sacramento. Rainforest Action Network demonstrations against Burger King. Hunt Saboteurs go to Mojave to protect Big Horn Sheep.

  • 1988 1989 Demonstration held at CDF office in Felton. Rufus hangs banner on CDF radio tower. Castagnolas restaurant picketed for selling exotic meat dinners. The Greenpeace ship ?Vega? visits. Hunt Saboteurs go to N. California to protect Tule Elk and back to Mojave to protect Big Horn Sheep. Arizona 5 busted in FBI sting operation using undercover agent-provocateur. Peg Millet evades capture for 2 days. Dave Foreman arrested at home in bed. Oct. 19 - Earthquake rocks Santa Cruz. Epicenter within a mile of first sawmill site.

  • 1990 Earth Night Action topples power tower in Aptos ? blacks out Santa Cruz for 2 days. No one is ever charged for this action. Redwood Summer planned in N. Calif. May 24 - Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney survive car bombing in Oakland while on their way to Santa Cruz for a rally. FBI agents on the scene in minutes and start smear campaign. FBI agents start questioning Santa Cruz EF! activists within an hour of the bombing. Hunt Saboteurs go to N. California to protect Tule Elk

  • 1991 Big Creek Lumber buys Butano unit from MAXXAM for $8 million. Logging of remnant old-growth begins. Trial of AZ 5 begins. Local activist Gary Reynolds dies. December 16 - UCSC/Big Creek starts logging at Elfland over holiday break. 42 people arrested in day-long demonstration and woods actions. Attorney Debbie Malkin arrested for visiting the site as part of legal action on an injunction. Logging finished before court can rule. Native shell site trampled and sacred sites destroyed. Construction of Colleges 9 & 10 begins.

  • 1992 Darryl Cherney plays concert at UCSC for Headwaters campaign. Week long treesit begins in Butano. ?Three Sisters?, treesitter, was eventually lowered to the ground by Big Creek employees while San Mateo County SWAT team pointed guns at her. Todd Shuman, who was doing a resupply run, also arrested.

  • 1993 1994 Darryl Cherney and Casey Neill perform in Santa Cruz. Planning for California Round River Rendezvous begins.

  • 1995 Walnut tree action fails to save old tree behind former Bookshop site. City sells wood at a profit. and March to demonstration and lockdown at Big Creek Lumber mill in Davenport. SCEF! Does Transportation Coordination for RRR on the Mad River, CA. Proposes Marbled Murellet Habitat 100 times larger than USFWS Rod Coronado, Hunt Saboteur activist, captured after responding to injured eagle ruse that gets him off the reservation in AZ where he was hiding, is sentenced to prison. His infiltration of the fur industry leaves farmers fuming over revealing videos shot during killing and skinning, and ALF farm raid increases. Chris Maser, Andy Stohl, AFSEEE founder, and Ed Grumbine speak at Forest Conference. THP hearing and demonstrations against Grizzly Flat logging in Watsonville watershed.

  • 1996 Redwood Empire begins logging at Gamecock Canyon. Kathy Dean, Nick Gombos and others blockade Summit Road until injunction issued. Daily harassment, threats, and gunfire stretch over next three years of logging. Hayward brothers logging company amasses violations that prompt CDF letter of reprimand. Monkeywrenching finally bankrupts Hayward, but not before Gamecock Canyon is trashed. Logging starts at Grizzley Flats after Headwaters heats up in fall and activists move north. Base camp abandoned and only token resistance to logging occurs.

  • 1997 1998 Attendance at SCEF! meetings starts to decline. Survey goes out to try and determine where folks want to go with a local group. Attendance drops to 1 by year-end.

  • 1999 Headwaters deal announced. Activists return to Santa Cruz

  • 2000 18 June, Ramsey Gulch Treesit started with help from Canopy Action Network. Redwwod Empire files a lawsuit, then withdraws it, to bar treesitters from property.

  • 2001 Ramsey Gulch Treesit continues with youngest treesitter (7 weeks old) ever.


2000 Earth First! Santa Cruz
Last revision: 9/1/02
URL: http://members.cruzio.com/~cruzef