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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Other Big Timber Company in Humboldt has big plans, too

excerpted from the March 2009 issue of EcoNews, published by the Northcoast Environmental Center:

By Sarah O'Leary
Twenty years ago, when the so-called “timber wars” raged on the North Coast, pitting those who worked in the woods against those who wished to preserve the forests, the big timber companies emerged as the “bad guy” in the eyes of many.

Since then, many of these companies have worked hard both to upgrade their image and to improve their forestry practices. Some companies changed their name to reflect their new image; Pacific Lumber became Palco and was subsequently purchased by Humboldt Redwood Company, and Simpson morphed into Green Diamond. In May 2004, the Seattle-based Simpson Resource Company created Green Diamond as an offshoot and transferred ownership of around 450,000 acres of California redwood timberlands. (Editor's note: located in both Humboldt and Del Norte Counties)

Although the Simpson name was reviled in some circles due to public opposition to large clear-cuts and old-growth logging, especially around the area that is now Redwood State and National Parks, the company has received little scrutiny under its new alias.

However, in recent months, local residents and activists have challenged various Green Diamond timber harvest plans. The McKay Tract adjacent to Cutten in Eureka has been the subject of a series of opinion columns in the local media, most written by outraged neighbors who do not want to see the area logged and/or developed and environmentalists concerned about the impact on life in this sensitive ecosystem. ...

...The McKay Tract totals 7,200 acres. In the letter, Green Diamond stated that “442 acres are suitable for residential and/or commercial purposes,” and that 256 acres have already been re-zoned. According to Dyer, Green Diamond has already received approval to clear-cut a portion of this and may begin any day.The company has also identified over 2,000 acres in McKinleyville and 565 acres in Westhaven for potential development, as well as 207 acres between Highway 101 and Strawberry Rock...

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