died October 8th, 2002 defending the trees of Ramsey Gulch
from Cindy Allsbrook, Mother of David Gypsy Chain (click here...)
from Robert's friend, David Norton (click here...)
by Penelope (click here...)
by Diane Patterson (click here...)
in the woods ~ saving life so the circle never ends
By Santa Cruz Earth First!
The Ramsey 2 timber harvest plan or THP, the scene of the death
of treesitter Robert Bryan October 8th, is the second time that
Redwood Empire Timber Company has cut on steep slopes above this
once pristine fish-bearing stream that bisects the San Andreas Fault.
Two years ago they began cutting on the west side of the creek in
Ramsey 1 THP. This was also the site where Jose Martinez, working
for Redwood Empire, was killed by a tree falling on him. Earth First!
successfully defended about 2 acres of trees there.
In the rest of the THP, where once was a beautiful forest, cool,
dark and moist even in summer, there are now tons of dead branches
covering the hard, sun baked soil that supports little life. It
is not a pretty picture.
Currently RE is building a road through documented landslide terrain
above Ramsey Creek. Even though the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS), Department of Fish and Game (DFG), Regional Water Quality
Control Board (RWQCB), and the Watsonville Water District opposed
Ramsey 2 THP, the California Department of Forestry approved it
as they do virtually 100% of all THPs regardless of the impacts
to the environment, unstable geology, neighbors water uptake,
endangered fish, etc. While claiming to provide scientific controls
on logging, CDF routinely ignores long-term impacts, local conditions
like faults, unstable soils and landslides, watershed degradation
and the effects of logging on endangered species.
They seem to feel that if a falling tree doesnt squash a spotted
owl, marbled murrelet or salmon, then it must be okay. Their every
effort seems to go toward creating tree farms that yield big profits
for logging companies. Though Nancy Drinkard of the CDF was heard
saying that the Ramsey 1 THP was the best shed ever seen,
the forest Earth First! could NOT save in Ramsey Gulch, looks like
death and destruction to those of us with beating hearts. If the
CDF did their job of PROTECTING forests, not killing them, Earth
First! would not be there trying so hard to save them.
Treesitting isnt all beautiful scenery, writing poetry and
communing with nature. Several treesitters have had to leave the
trees because they couldnt take the emotional pain of watching
trees falling all day then feeling them thump when they hit the
Treesitting during the recent Croy fire was also grueling. The upper
treesit in Ramsey 2 was less than a mile from the western edge of
the fire and engulfed in smoke. At one point treesitter, Echo, had
a nosebleed from breathing through a wet rag all day. Ground support
kept close contact and Ayla went out with a respirator to replace
him but Echo refused to abandon the sit just then.
Thanks to all the firefighters, the branch of CDF that does real
work. They risked their lives controlling the fire and we all survived.
Treesitters in numerous places have been cursed at, lied to, had
their food, water, shelter and clothing removed, all the branches
below them on a tree cut away, the trees they were in cut down from
under them, been buzzed by huge helicopters and shot at. Treesitters
have also fallen from trees. While most have lived, 22 year old
Beth OBrien of Portland Oregon died after falling 150 feet
from a tree sitting platform in the Mt. Hood National Forest last
April and now Robert Bryan is dead too. Both these deaths seem to
be accidents but its no accident that the forest defenders
were there. They and many others engage in treesitting as a last
Some people say that CDF really stands for Cut Da Forest. The only
THP that hasnt been approved by CDF yet is known as Islandia
in Lompico, California. That plan is now in the19th extension of
its proposed approval date. Islandia is another Redwood Empire property
the company is trying to log over the objections of basically everyone
including the 520 local residents who get their water directly from
Lompico Creek. CDF just hasnt figured out how to approve this
plan without inciting a riot.
The Lompico Watershed Conservancy has been trying to purchase this
property from Redwood Empire owner Roger Burch. Burch is asking
a kings ransom for the property, reportedly at least twice
the fair market value and many times what he paid for it. It was
part of a package deal along with Ramsey Gulch and the now butchered
Our thanks go out to the Santa Cruz Sentinel for finally noticing
that Earth First needs to rethink its forest protection policies.
Weve been rethinking them for many years. Thats why
we have meetings every week. We invite the public and ask for your
input in hopes of finding a more effective way to protect our Earth
Mother, or as some Sioux tribes call her, Ina Maka or Etenoha.
Our generous provider is constantly attacked on so many levels.
She is drilled, mined, poisoned, logged, bombed, and nuked. Our
protection of her must take many forms. Many groups do this through
the courts, lobbying for better legislation and direct action. Earth
First! has historically had the guts to go into the woods and protect
forests with our bodies while witnessing destruction firsthand and
gathering information not otherwise available to those filing lawsuits
and influencing legislation.
Too many people like Sentinel editors find it easier to criticize
us while barricaded in their little fortress of denial rather than
lower their drawbridge and open their pages to those of us who are
living and dying because of, in reverence for, and in service to
our dear Ina Maka. Where is all the media when we send out press
releases to alert the public and recruit their help? Why do they
keep their pages closed to us as millions die due to unsustainable
extraction of dwindling resources that fuels our still growing addiction
to over-consumption at all costs? Why is mass media closed to us
until one forest defender dies that their spin doctors can find
a way to blame his death on the very people who are trying to save
us all from ourselves?
What a hypocritical society we live in. The industry mantra repeated
by media is "this is a state approved timber harvest"
This means nothing when CDF ignores opposition from other state,
local and federal agencies and citizens.
The October 11 edition of the Sentinel stated in "As We See
It" (page A13) that "the group exercises little control
over its volunteers and that it runs tree-sitting actions with little
regard for the dangers faced by volunteers." In this statement
they ignore several important facts. 1) Every person Santa Cruz
Earth First! has ever allowed to climb a tree with their blessings
has been trained by experienced climbers first. 2) This is only
one form of action in which we attempt to call attention to our
current state of rampant planetary destruction. 3) Earth First!
volunteers are well aware of the risks involved. We participate
in direct action because we cannot live in denial of our Mothers
peril. This is not a game. Many of us really do feel her pain. 4)
Earth First! is not about "controlling volunteers" (as
if theyre part of the television dazed sheepish masses who
no longer think for themselves). What we are about is working toward
bringing environmental awareness and sanity to the out of control
policies of the forest destroyers and their minions in the media
and law enforcement who use ink, guns and pepper spray to do their
The Sentinel also stated that "good science" says some
of these second growth areas "ought to be logged." (Is
this the same good science that has prompted Big Creek to undermine
the endangered species act in its proposed Scott Creek THP? More
on this in future issues.) We might not dispute this if commercial
logging actually prioritized forest health above maximizing profits.
Large second growth trees in forests over 100 years into recovery
on steep, unstable slopes in fault zones above streams supporting
endangered species, in plans opposed by everyone but logging proponents
and CDF should be protected!
Until that day occurs and Etenoha is no longer in peril, Earth First!
will continue to rethink its tactics while recruiting the help of
the public and worthy media in our fight to protect this beautiful,
generous, loving, living being that provides for us all.
Hetch etu aloh. (It is very much so)
We may never know what really happened to cause Robert Bryans
fall. All we can do is pray for his well-being in the spirit world,
the health of our planet, and protection and success for her current
and future forest defenders. We will never be truly happy or healthy
until our dear Mother Earth is too. Please dont wait, protect
her now. For more information contact Earth First! at (831) 425-3205