Tree huggers to take root in Chico

If you like trees, especially those in the Sierra Nevada forests, you have a chance to do something to save them. This weekend, May 29 through June 1, representatives of the statewide group Environment California will be in town gathering public comments to bring to the Forest Service this summer as that agency decides whether to scrap the current management plan, known as the Sierra Nevada Framework.

That plan was put into place in January 2001 to protect 11.5 million acres of national forest in the Sierra Nevada. But at about the same time, George Bush was installed as president.

“The Forest Service has not yet come out with its official plan for changes,” said EC spokesman Michael Jackson. “But [the Sierra Nevada Framework] took 10 years to put together and had a lot of input, including the timber industry. We’d like to see that plan given a chance to work.”

According to a press release from the environmental group, Bush’s approach to forest management has suspicious motives that will lead only to increased logging.

“The timber industry is well-connected in Washington, having given $17 million in campaign contributions to the Bush administration,” the release says. “To counter that influence, the Forest Service needs to hear from Californians, including those from Chico.”

The Bush approach to forest protection, according to the press release, would eliminate 4 million acres of old-growth forest and “gut habitat protection for disappearing species like the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher, imperiling their survival.”

EC reps will be setting up shop May 29 at the Thursday Night Market, Friday, May 30, on the corner of Second Street and Broadway, May 31 at the Saturday Farmers’ Market, and Sunday, June 1, at Fourth and Main streets.

This Michael Jackson, by the way, is not the Quincy attorney who helped broker the so-called "Quincy Library Group" forest plan that has been tied up in court for five years.