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Grovies Respond




How interesting to find you, Mr. Sims, editor of the wonderful NCJ, with the attitude of "you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all" ("Town Dandy," March 12). How else can we construe your casual description of the severing of the roots of 30 of the largest old-growth trees in Richardson Grove State Park as a "tiny alteration"? (Did you even read Caltrans' DEIR?) This lack of reverence for rarity on your part is surprisingly reminiscent of the blasé attitude of the good-old-boy Neanderthal politicians of yesteryear.

Regardless, cutting the roots and expecting a tree to thrive is a bit foolhardy, don't you think? Not to mention the removal of 89 other types of trees, which surround and support the redwoods with interlacing root systems and overhead canopy.

I suppose the 300-foot-long, 17-foot-high retaining wall is just a "tiny alteration" also?

Keep in mind that the impact of all this activity occurs within a condensed area of less than one mile, requiring day and night construction with floodlights and high-decibel noise for almost a full year. Good luck to the already endangered marbled murrelet and spotted owl ... hope they survive this "tiny alteration." The fact that Caltrans has applied for a "take" permit indicates that they themselves know the changes are not apt to be slight.

It appears, Mr. Sims, that you are tired of the Richardson Grove redwoods, and no longer care to respect and preserve them for future generations. Why not just say so, instead of spending so much time building a false case against citizens (Save Richardson Grove and NEC) who do care?

Upon reading the DEIR, it is easy to see that Caltrans' Richardson Grove "proposed project," as currently planned, is a threat to the Grove and an extravagant waste of taxpayer money, especially shameful when there are other options -- for instance, Caltrans' Alternative #3 -- that are simple, reasonable, economical solutions allowing the big trucks to pass without damage to the big trees.

Glenda Hesseltine, Eureka


I paid! It's no secret: I put in $50 for the radio spots to help stop Caltrans' Richardson Grove boondoggle. As this Depression deepens, to waste millions of our dollars for the benefit of a few large businesses is unconscionable. Enough with the taxpayer-funded bailouts already!

There is nothing "wrong" with this section of roadway. Instead, it is a unique and memorably intimate way for visitors to enter the glory that is our rural North Coast. I'm proud to contribute in a little way to keeping bulldozers from cutting the roots of many ancient trees that pre-date the time of Christ.

A bit of extra traffic control on this stretch of 101 -- an extra 30 seconds to negotiate through a fantastic State Park owned by all Californians --- and, at low-cost, we have safe passage for all, even the obscenely larger commercial trucks.

The slippery slope between "fixin' what ain't broke" and "progress for progress' sake" has indeed led to the Santa Rosa-ization of many lovely places south of the Redwood Curtain. Aren't we smarter here, this time ’round?

The big boys with their big boxes might also think that an extra Wal-Mart or two decimating our local economy and lifestyle amount to "a tiny alteration" (your term for the 17-foot high, 300-foot long wall between travelers and the natural forest in Caltrans' proposal.)

But we supporters of the people's heritage that is Richardson Grove have always liked that little marvelous slow-down that marks passage from the hectic urbs into our different Humboldt community. May generations to come appreciate that we weren't in such a hurry to always trade it in for the quick cash of "bigger is better"!

Jared Rossman, Redway


Hank Sims, I just love it when you spout out your uninformed opinions from your pulpit. The proposed Richardson Grove Project is not "tiny" and dismissing Richardson Grove as "the big trees at the south end of the county" is more than inappropriate. Those trees are a piece of the "tiny" 3 percent of our heritage of ancient redwoods that are left. Removing 80 trees and cutting back the roots of 30 ancient trees and covering them with asphalt is far from a "tiny" alteration. The chances those 30 trees have of survival are dim to none.

The EIR for the project claims that the noise from the project will be no more than the usual noise level but they will be using jackhammers and cement grinders. So much for not disturbing wildlife habitat. Campgrounds are very near by -- there go the tourist dollars.

There has been no demonstrated need to create access for the bigger trucks but it can be demonstrated that the fumes will harm the grove. Further, this $6 million (not $5, Hank) project could be obviated simply by lowering the speed limit for a mile or two which is something that should have been done long ago. Six mil could do a lot for our schools, homeless and people living in poverty.

Yes Hank, "be afraid" -- our way of life here and the treasures that we have been given have never been more threatened. It is not far-fetched to ask us to conjure the image of Santa Rosa. It is an inch by inch process that will inevitably destroy this area. It will not be in the form of a bang, but a series of whimpers that will bring us down and I'm sorry that you would seem to lack the knowledge and imagination needed to see that.

Sylvia De Rooy, Westhaven


Richardson Grove is barely a "redwood grove" at all, any more. If you walk along the Hwy 101 in the grove you will see sunlight coming in on the cut edges to the east and to the west. A redwood grove is a shady place. To let more sunlight in through the middle, on the highway, would destroy whatever small semblance Richardson Grove does now have to being a grove at all. Do you remember when you first drove north up the 101, and your pleasure and astonishment when you first encountered the grove? I am wondering how we could even consider destroying that pleasure for others -- never mind the harm to the tourist industry.

I'm thinking that if good hearts and good minds cannot prevail with our good thoughts and words to preserve the grove, civil disobedience is definitely in order.

I'm also thinking that if big business and big commerce were really that "needy," Caltrans should build them the 4-lane bypass to the east that is already in its plans.

Sonia Baur, Garberville

Sweet Spot: Jared Rossman wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.

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