The April 8 article "Roads and Redwoods" failed to include our Council's views on the Richardson Grove Highway Improvement Project.
InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council is a consortium of 10 tribes retaining ancestral ties to Richardson Grove. For millennia, tribal peoples lived in profound harmony with the redwood ecosystem. We oppose Caltrans' plan to widen and reconfigure the roadway through the Grove because -- as proposed in the draft EIR -- it would harm ancient redwoods by severing and compacting their sensitive root systems. Traffic safety can be improved by implementing additional slowing measures without widening and reconfiguring the roadway and thereby damaging the Grove's ancient trees.
Since time immemorial, local tribal peoples have been taught the ancient redwoods are sacred -- placed on our Mother Earth as a demonstration of the Creator's love for humans. Years ago, our spiritual leaders warned that by destroying the ancient redwoods, human beings could end up destroying themselves. Only three percent of our region's original old-growth redwoods are still standing. How sad that future generations will not inherit 75 percent or 50 percent or even 10 percent of those ancient trees that were still standing just a few decades ago!
That 3 percent is critical to our future. Scientists have concluded that destruction of old-growth forests is the single greatest cause of global warming. It is remarkable to us that measures such as severing or compacting the Grove's old-growth roots would even be considered, since such actions have the potential to seriously harm the ancient trees of this "protected" redwood park. Caltrans has provided no data to show these actions would not harm the Grove's redwoods, which supports our position that the risks posed by the project simply are not worth taking. Redwoods' root systems are extremely shallow and infinitely interconnected. Due to the sensitive and complex root systems they share, old-growth redwoods may be seriously affected by the trauma or death of their neighbors.
The proposed project is in the middle of a state park. Richardson Grove is not owned by Caltrans or special interests. Since 1922, it has belonged to the people of California. It actually belongs to all people of the world, since the state park system's purpose in managing ancient redwoods is to preserve them for the sake of the present and future generations of all people.
For these and other reasons, we support the "no build" alternative identified by Caltrans in its draft EIR. The project should be abandoned because it is designed to benefit only a handful of interests while threatening the sanctity, integrity, and wellbeing of the Grove. We believe Richardson Grove must be honored and protected because it is a special and irreplaceable gift, the sacred inheritance of all the peoples of Mother Earth.
Priscilla Hunter, Chairperson, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council
As a new member of the Save Richardson Grove group, I feel compelled to address the condescending stereotypes found in Hank Sims' and Cristina Bauss' respective April 15 NCJ articles entitled "Et Tu, Grovie?" and "Roads and Redwoods":
1) I'm NOT a pot grower. 2) I haven't been involved in any "Timber Wars." 3) The last I checked, I was not "frothing with rage." 4) I'm not a blogger. 5) I have worked most of my life -- for 20 years as a legal assistant at well-respected law firms in Portland and San Diego. 6) I have concerns about other important environmental issues. Re: the General Plan -- last year I submitted my comments to the County Board of Supervisors regarding the various growth plans for Humboldt County. Re: the Pacific Trash Gyre -- my husband and I are Adopt-a-Highway volunteers. Each month we clean up a four-mile section of Highway 101 near Trinidad in an effort to keep our environment clean and to help reduce the amount of garbage (particularly plastics) that could make its way into the ocean.
As "professionals," you should know better. In your attempt to discredit us, as individuals and as a group, you've succeeded in alienating community members you don't even know. If we're just some fringe sect of the population, as your articles portray us to be, tell me why California State Parks and California State Parks Foundation have written 12- and 13-page letters of concern to Caltrans about this proposed project?
Kimberly Tays, Trinidad