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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

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Monday, March 9, 2009

A decade after Headwaters deal, truce comes to Northern California redwood country

excerpted from:

3/8/2009--Ten years ago this week, the state and federal government spent $480 million to buy 7,472 acres from Pacific Lumber and other landowners to create the Headwaters Forest Reserve six miles south of Eureka….

…BLM crews have eliminated 10 miles of old logging roads. They've conducted regular wildlife surveys for endangered spotted owls, salmon and other species (although it's too soon to see much change in animal numbers, they report). And they have thinned more than 1,000 acres of small Douglas fir trees to speed the return of massive redwoods.

Where are they now?

Charles Hurwitz: Now 68, Hurwitz remains chief executive of Maxxam, the Houston parent company of Pacific Lumber. Maxxam is a shell of its former self, however. Pacific Lumber filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and Maxxam"s other major holding, Kaiser Aluminum, went bankrupt in 2002. Maxxam stock, trading at $57 a share 10 years ago, is now at about $5. Maxxam owns a greyhound racing track and a horse track in Texas and some residential and commercial property in Puerto Rico, Arizona, Texas and California. Its sales fell 96 percent over the past decade, from $2.3 billion in 1999 to $91 million in 2007.

Dianne Feinstein: California"s senior U.S. senator spent dozens of hours negotiating the deal with Hurwitz and teams of lawyers. Now in her 17th year in the Senate, she chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and was master of ceremonies for Barack Obama"s inauguration. Feinstein, 75, says she may be interested in talks to enlarge Headwaters, particularly in purchasing a 1,500-acre property known as "Hole in the Headwaters."

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