Thank you for reprinting the piece on John Ross in your last issue ("Can't win for losing," Feb. 3). John was a friend to many at the NEC (Northcoast Environmental Center) in the late '70s and early '80s and a frequent contributor to the Econews. He walked his talk and also knew how to make being an activist fun. John was easy to spot around town in his worn-out maroon down jacket held together by duct tape. I saw him at the NEC sometimes and the first thing he would say is, "So what have you been doing," and it was not a rhetorical greeting; he really wanted to know.
Ed Abbey said, "Resist much, obey little." That's what John did. I didn't know him well but he was always friendly and inspiring and full of ideas. In the Spring of 1982 there was a big rally up on the South Fork Smith River at a place called Big Flat. There were many activists there, determined to stop the connection of the GO (Gasquet-Orleans) Road that the Forest Service wanted to build to facilitate logging in the area. It would have crossed through sacred Yurok territory and scarred a section of the proposed Siskiyou Wilderness. Earth First! founding members Dave Foreman and Mike Roselle were there, fresh from lying in front of bulldozers in New Mexico, to advise and connect with North Coast enviros. And there was John Ross, speaking to the crowd, waving his arms around, happily willing to organize with glee and intensity.
John was one of those who seemed, on every occasion, to put "the cause" above his personal life. I feel lucky to have known him.
Sam Camp, Big Bar