A History of the Six Rivers National Forest...
Commemorating the First 50 Years
Transfer Act moves what would soon be named the US
Forest Service from the Department of Interior to the Department of
June 11. Forest Homestead Act (34 Stat. 233)
authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to list with the Secretary of
Interior, for homestead entry, lands within national forests chiefly
valuable for agriculture and not needed for public purposes and which
would not injure the national forests. (See 1912.)
US Forest Service is authorized to return 25 percent
of all national forest receipts to the counties in which the forests
are located and from which the receipts emanated. This money is to be
used exclusively for schools and roads.
June 25. Allotment Act (36 Stat. 863) provides for
Indian allotments of lands within the national forests.
March 1. Weeks Act (amended in 1924) authorizes
purchase of lands for protection of watersheds of navigable streams and
for timber production. It became the instrument through which most of
the National Forest land in the East would be purchased.
August 10. Congress directs (37 Stat. 269) the
Secretary of Agriculture to select, classify and segregate all lands
within the boundaries of national forests that should be open to
settlement and entry under the homestead laws applicable to national
forests. Agricultural lands opened under this law were not to exceed 160
acres. Lists of agricultural lands open to entry under this law were to
be posted in the local land offices and published in a local newspaper.
National Forest lands purchased under provision of the Weeks Act were
not subject to entry under the homestead laws, nor were they open to
settlement under the homestead law unless they had been formally listed
and declared open to entry (USDA, FS Manual c. 1927: 42-L).
John P. Harrington, linguist and ethnologist, visits
the New River area to work with Sally Noble, self-identified as a New
River person and identified by others as speaking a Chimariko dialect.
Harrington, however, traced the origin of her language to those spoken
in Alaska; others have believed the Lower New River Indians to be
Chimalakwe (The Union 7-7-77: 17).
US 199 opened.
December 9. After 13 years in the Ferry Building,
Region 5's headquarters moves to 85 Second Street at Second and Mission
in San Francisco. Need for the larger space was precipitated by the
additional workloads from administering CCC, NIRA, and CWA (Civil Works
Administration) projects. Engineering took-up about 52 percent of the
increased space (CR 12-1-33).
December 11. "Uncle Sam's Forest Rangers," a radio
program on the Western Farm and Home Hour, was discontinued. The story
centered around Ranger Jim Robbins, his assistant Jerry Quick, Mrs. Bess
Robbins, and Jerry's sweetheart, Mary, who all worked at the Pine Cone
Ranger Station. The portrayal was based on actual incidents in Forest
Service life and did much to popularize the agency and its work. The
broadcast was from Chicago and San Francisco and hit a weekly audience
of seven million people. California stations that aired the program were
KGO, KFI, and KSFD. It returned to the airwaves in April 1934.
California's mountain lion population is decreasing;
State Fish & Game Commission pays bounties on only 269 lions this
year, contrasted with 325 in 1932. Since 1930, 54 percent of the lion
scalps turned in were from female lions. ". . . [T]he mountain lion is
the most powerful enemy of the deer. The Chief of the Bureau of Game
Refuge estimated that 269 lions would kill almost 15,000 deer in a year,
besides sheep, cattle, and other domestic animals" (CR 2-2-34).
April 1. Delivery begins of 175 ready-cut buildings
prepared by the Tilden Lumber Company of Oakland and the American
Builders Inc. of Seattle. These Forest Service administrative buildings
are to be constructed primarily by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The
contractors furnish everything except plumbing supplies, cement, and
electrical fixtures (CR 1-19-34).
Paul G. Redington becomes Director of the US
Biological Survey. Nicknamed "The Tall Pine of the Siskiyou," he had been
Region 5's District (Regional) Forester in 1919. He held positions in
the Forest Service in California from 1911 through 1926, except for
three years in Region 3 (CR 2-16-34).
The pay scale for Junior Forester now ranges from
$2,000 to $2,600 per year.
Congress authorizes the Forest Service to acquire land within a Northern
Redwood Purchase Unit (NRPU) in Northwestern California in order to
create a national forest that would assure productive second growth of
redwood. Between 1939 and 1945, the federal government would acquire
14,567 acres of redwood land within the NRPU boundary.
Humboldt State College Ski Club forms and pushes to
develop skiing at Grouse Mountain. Between 1938 and 1941, the club would build
a ski lodge on Grouse Mountain on land donated by Humboldt County Sheriff
May 28. (See photo on following page.) CCC enrollees
from Camp Gasquet complete the portal to the west boundary of what was
then the Siskiyou National Forest, on Highway 199. Forty-four years
later, a note stuffed in a Listerine bottle was found in the top cap of
the portal monument; it read:
To whom - it - may concern-
That this Portal-to-the West Boundary of-the-Siskiyou
FOREST-was-built-by-the following crew of Gasquet C.C.C.
1. Leroy P. Colbert
2. Noble B. Harris
3. K. Neathberry
4. Winston Scott
5. Edmund Gleeson
6. Walter W. Mallett - USFS. . . . Foreman
7. "Slim" Murdock
Red Cap Fire on the Orleans District (Klamath NF)
burns over 16,000 acres (Jarvi 8-8-52: 2).
September 1. Germany invades Poland precipitating
the second World War.
Part of the High Prairie Creek watershed is approved
as an experimental forest under administration of the California Forest
and Range Experiment Station. Subsequently named the Yurok Redwood
CCC begins construction of the first 0.5 mile of the
High Prairie Creek utilization road, beginning at the Yurok Redwood
Experimental Forest headquarters. Survey is underway for the next 1.5
mile of the road.
US enters World War II. Nation-wide, logging is
stepped-up to meet war demands.
The CCC built this sign pedestal at the south boundary to the
Siskiyou National Forest on Highway 199, Gasquet Ranger District.
This photo was taken in about 1935, facing east. US Forest
November. Regional Foresters from
regions 5 (primarily California) and 6 (primarily Washington and
Oregon) discuss transferring Region 6's Gasquet Ranger District (part of
the Siskiyou National Forest) to Region 5.
Red Rock Fire on the Mad River District (Trinity
National Forest) burns over 10,000 acres (Jarvi 8-8-52: 2).
California reaches a peak output of all types of
lumber, cutting 2,468,943,000 board feet processed by 413 sawmills (DNT
August 14. Japan surrenders; World War II ends.
January 1. Under provisions of California's Forest
Practice Act, timber operators are now required to register with the
State Forester. The Act divides California into four forest districts:
Redwood, North Sierra Pine, South Sierra Pine, and Coast Range Pine and
Fir. Registration is required for all operators cutting and removing
forest products for commercial purposes; registration cost is $1.00 per
year, and "[a]ny operator who fails to register shall be prohibited from
cutting or removing forest products for commercial purposes from the
forest lands" (DNT 1-25-46).
U.S. Senator Sheridan Downey urges legislature to
increase its $1,500,000 appropriation for construction of timber access
roads in California national forests, and to include forest road
appropriations specifically for Trinity County. Senator Downey notes
that wartime timber harvesting had depleted accessible timber in
Washington and Oregon and that California should look to Trinity County
and other state areas to supply lumber (WTJ 1-17-46: 1).
Arcata Chamber of Commerce forms a coalition
committee of representatives from Arcata, Eureka, Blue Lake and Willow
Creek to work on improving the western end of US 299 to prevent
continued diversion of Humboldt County timber from the county to mills
and plants in the Sacramento Valley and elsewhere. Between Willow Creek
and US 101, Highway 299 is narrow, crooked, and has light surfacing (HT
Trinity and Shasta county representatives appear
before the Collier Committeethe Senate committee studying the
state highways, county roads and bridges of California. They plead for
immediate allocation of funds for substantial improvements to US 299
from Redding to Arcata. Representatives cite the tremendous increase in
heavy logging and lumber traffic that was rapidly making it a "menace
to all other traffic on the road" (HT 6-13-46).
Substantial improvements to the
Hyampom to Hayfork Road are promoted. A petition to supervisors and
planning commissioners for Trinity County note that improvements are
crucial because of the "pressing need for a sufficiently improved
highway capable of permitting logs and lumber to be hauled from this
area." In June, Regional Forester S. B. Show met with local Forest
Service officials to decide on roads necessary for future timber
development in Trinity County. The Forest Service is looking at the
possibility of improving the Hayfork Hyampom Road or a road from Grouse
Creek to the coast (WTJ 6-6-46).
February. Chief of the Forest Service, Lyle F. Watts,
approves transfer of Gasquet Ranger District to Region 5.
U.S. Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas introduces
H.R. 6201, proposing creation of the Roosevelt Memorial Redwood
Confusion develops between the Douglas Bill, the
NRPU, and the proposed national forest to be created from existing
pieces of the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Trinity national forests.
Transfer of Gasquet Ranger District made contingent
upon creation of what would later be called the Six Rivers National
Forest, rather than temporarily attaching it to the Klamath National
September. Region 5's Brandeberry Report recommends
final boundaries for the new national forest in Northwest
October. Office space is leased for the new national
forest in Northwest California. The office is on the third and fourth
floors of the Bank of America Building at 350 E Street, on the corner
of 4th and E streets in downtown Eureka. Region 5's Regional Forester,
S. B. Show, issues a press release announcing establishment of this new,
still unnamed, national forest to be headquartered in Eureka.
November. "Six Rivers," as suggested by author Peter
Kyne, is (finally!) chosen as the name for the new national forest.
December. William F. Fischer is assigned to the Six
Rivers as its first forest supervisor. He arrives on the job the
February. State Board of Forestry adopts forest
practice rules for the Redwood Forest District (HT 3-23-47). Forest
practice rules for the Coast Range Pine and Fir district become
effective April 10.
The California Wool Growers' Association, an
organization which strongly opposes creation of additional national
forest system lands, accuses the Forest Service of sponsoring the
Douglas Bill. Supervisor Fischer told the organization that the agency
was neutral on the bill (CR 5-7-47; HT 4-20-47).
May 8. Senator Quinn of Eureka
introduces a resolution in the State Senate memorializing Congress to
defeat the Douglas Bill on the grounds it would decrease, by over half,
the taxable areas within Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties,
plus eliminate about 85,000 acres from the taxable land base in Sonoma
County (CR 5-14-47).
May 22. State Legislature sends its Joint Resolution
to Congress protesting the Roosevelt Memorial Redwood Forest bill (CR
June 3. President Harry S. Truman signs Proclamation
2733, establishing the Six Rivers National Forest, consolidating
"certain portions of the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Trinity National
July. Six Rivers releases its report: "Forest
Situation in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, 1947." This report set the
context for policies and practices for the forest's inaugural years.
P.G. & E. begins its project to provide
electricity to the Trinity River Valleyfrom Del Loma to
Orleansincluding Burnt Ranch, Willow Creek, Salyer, Hoopa, and
Klamath River Conservation Club circulates a petition
to put an initiative on the ballot to regulate the dumping of mining
debris in the Trinity and Klamath rivers. In 1924, Californians had
passed an initiative creating the Klamath Recreational area, barring
electric power dams and other obstructions. The impetus was to protect
the tourism and fishing trade. (In Redwood Empire Labor Journal: the
official publication for all American Federation of Labor Unions in
Northwest California. Cf. 7-3-47, Vol. VII, No. 17, p. 1.)
A survey by "Log and Saw" finds that, for 1947,
employment in the lumber industry is at an all-time high in Humboldt
County. However, they also note that some of the smaller operations were
having difficulty paying their employees on-time. Demand for skilled
workers in the industry is high, but there are fears that at least 40
percent of the 161 existing mills in the county will be defunct within
three years and that jobs will be increasingly scarce. Wages have
dropped about 10 percent from the all-time high in 1946. Lack of housing
for new workers is a severe problem. Labor strikes are ongoing at many
mills, though most of them are "humming" at or near capacity because of
scab crews (HT 10-17-47).
Six Rivers' Supervisor's Office moves from the Bank
of America Building to Third Street, between B and C streets, on the
floor above what is Lenzi's Restaurant. The SO will remain at this
location for about one year.
Some blister rust is detected on the Six Rivers, but
no control work is planned because sugar pine is not sufficiently
important to this forest (Cronemiller and Kern 1949: 20).
Allowable annual cut for 1949,
including 11,000,000 board feet from the NRPU, is 150,000,000 (Fischer
Range values compose less than 20 percent of the Six
Rivers' land area. There are 28 grazing allotments on the forest capable
of 18,000 animal months; there are 48 permits in effect. Rates for
grazing are figured in relation to meat prices and are currently running
from 50 to 60 cents per animal per month (HT 3-13-49; Cronemiller &
Kern 1949: 1, 30; Fischer 1950: 23).
Eighteen sawmills are operating within the Six Rivers
administrative boundary with an annual capacity of 71,000,000 board feet
(HT 3-13-49; Cronemiller & Kern 1949:1, 30; Fischer 1950: 23).
The Six Rivers' SO moves to 23 Fifth St. It is
located in a converted residence that looks very much like the
neighboring building that will later become Kwan's Cafe.
Spring. A joint Klamath-Six Rivers analysis looks into
whether the huge, 585,000-acre Happy Camp Ranger District should be
divided and another district added and headquartered at Somes Bar, or
whether part of the Happy Camp District should go to the Orleans
District. Given the first scenario, Somes Bar was seen as the only
possible location on the Klamath, but it was nearly on the Six Rivers
boundary line and only eight miles from Orleans (Cronemiller and Kern
Six Rivers' receipts for the fiscal year are $152,471
from timber sales, $14,448 in grazing permits, $8,189 in other land use permits,
and $335 in power permits.
Supervisor's Office moves to Fourth and J streets;
this office is the first built especially for the Six Rivers.
Six Rivers' allowable annual cut, including
12,000,000 from the NRPU's Requa working circle, is 138,604,000 board
Six Rivers' policy for Douglas fir in small,
even-aged groups is to selectively harvest "with a view toward
converting to the practice of clear cutting in blocks... in the minimum
number of cutting cycles.... Stands with the highest proportion of
over-mature and decadent volume normally will be scheduled for cutting
first. Good risk mature and immature elements will be withheld from
cutting whenever practicable, economic, and silviculturally desirable.
Sales during the first cutting cycle will be directed toward the most
rapid development of the primary transportation system, consistent with
the allowable annual rate of cutting.... Short term sales (under three
years) will be preferred. Sales will be programmed to dispose of the full allowable cut annually with 25
percent excess permissible in any one year provided the total of
five-year periods does not exceed five times the annual allowable cut"
(Bluff Creek Working Circle 1-31-52: 7,11). The basis for computing the
annual allowable cut is a rotation of 150 years.
Congress looks favorably upon construction of forest
access roads during the 1950s. Working in cooperation with the
California State Division of Highways and the Public Road
Administration, the Forest Service takes a lead role in developing
forest road projects. The Six Rivers, viewed as a virtually untapped
timber resource due to a dearth of roads, becomes the recipient of
Congress largess; with the implied message to produce timber sales
accordingly. For example, a seven-mile stretch of two-lane road near
Weitchpec, where the Trinity flows into the Klamath River, is earmarked
by Congress to receive $1,000,000 for realignment and widening. Congress
also designates $3,000,000 to partially realign and re-construct twelve
miles of Highway 299 between Berry Summit and Willow Creek. Another
forest road between Korbel and Hyampom is slated for construction in
order to substantially reduce the 200 circuitous miles that separate
Hyampom from Eureka (HT 3-5-52 and 3-5-52).
Six Rivers receipts for the fiscal year total
$236,268, "an all-time high." Fifty-five percent above the previous
year's receipts, it marks the first time since its creation that the Six
Rivers was financially "self-sustaining." Additionally, receipts from
the Northern Redwood Purchase Unit total $50,252, also a record-breaker.
The increase is directly traced to substantial increases in the
cost of timber. The Six Rivers has collected $221,255 from its timber
sales, $10,329 from grazing permits, $4,340 in other land use permits,
and $343 in power permits. Twenty-five percent of these receipts are
apportioned to the counties (HT 7-10-52: 1).
Patrols by contract aircraft are used over the
forest's Blue Creek area in cooperation with state forestry and the
timber industry. Six Rivers personnel question its value, compared with
fire lookouts, "because of the short period of actual detection
obtained per day." Reconnaissance planes are used routinely after
lightning storms (Jarvi 8-8-52: 16).
The abandoned Bluff Creek Guard Station on Orleans
Ranger District, consisting of an old two room cabin and a one car
garage/storeroom, is no longer used. Regional Office inspectors
recommend that the structures be "high graded for any salvageable
material and the remains demolished and burned to make room for
additional campground development. Any future needs for quarters in this
vicinity should be made available at the Adorni Place." The Adorni Place
was described as a tract of land recently acquired by the Forest
Service, on the highway, about one mile below Bluff Creek. It had three
or four acres of flat open land with a small orchard and meadow, and
plenty of water. The improvements were described as "a good summer home
type of dwelling and a 2 or 3 car garage" (Williams 1952: 3).
RO inspector notes that, at Salyer Bar Ranger
Station: "The conversion of the old school house building into a two
room cabin is progressing OK... [and the] old shed and outside toilet on
the schoolhouse site should be done away with." The inspector also notes
that the residence on the station site and used by the dispatcher was
"not owned by the Forest Service... it was constructed at the time and
expense of the dispatcher." Also noted was that the old ranger station
building at the mouth of Southfork, "although old and not well located,
is in fair condition and is badly needed to help out the present acute
housing situation. It is now being used by Timber sale men, but water
must be hauled in [because the spring on the hill above the house had
dried up]" (Williams 1952: 3-5).
Mad River Rock Lookouta standard 14' x 14'
building on a large high rock, accessible only by a 120-step wooden
stairwayis used infrequently. Because of limited local visibility
from the lookout, it is recommended that the site be evaluated for
elimination if the "new Trinity [National Forest] lookout tower for
Pickett Peak can be placed on the point to the northwest of its present
location" (Williams 1952: 3-5).
A diary analysis for the Orleans District Ranger,
Yates, and his Assistant Ranger and Fire Control Assistant, indicate
that the district's most serious problems are: 1. Keeping-up with
boundary survey checks for trespass when private operators cut next to
National Forest boundaries. 2. Failure of timber operators to complete
contracts under specified time constraints. 3. Fraudulent mining claims.
4. Securing Forest Service rights-of-way. 5. Establishing special use
residence tracts. 6. Inadequate campgrounds along the Klamath. 7. Lack
of stream measuring devices. 8. Inadequate trail betterment. 9. Lack of
progress with actualizing the station development plan. 10. Lack of a
fireman station for the Doctor Rock lookout. 11. Lack of adherence to
fire prevention. 12. Inadequate initial attack force at Orleans drawn
from the local population; a request had yielded only 10 men under the
age of 60 (Yates 3-19-53).
The Six Rivers' actual cut for the fiscal year is
only 30,000,000 board feet (Payne 1-20-54: 1).
August. Lightning touches-off over 70 fires on the
Six Rivers; 11 of them large enough or in places that are problematic.
Lower Trinity and Mad River districts are hardest hit; the temperature
hit 110-degrees on 12 August, making nerves even more jittery (HT
California's Governor Knight urges the Forest Service
to step-up its road construction in the "Trinity timber area," which
included some of the eastern fringe of the Six Rivers National Forest.
Pointing to "over-ripe" timber that is "infested with forest parasites,"
he advocated pushing roads to access the timber heretofore economically
unreachable. He supported harvest of decadent timber, believing it
would promote growth of new trees and meaningfully contribute to the
well-being of the region (HT 1954: unk.).
"The transportation bite out of the total forest
budget is still running at about 20 percent" (West 1-12-56: 2).
Arcata Redwood Company ceases clear cutting practices
on its property (ARC 1973: 8).
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge completed. East Bay
afforded much more convenient accessibility to the North Coast
A business recession begins and persists through
1958. It "affected not only the production of lumber, as shown by trade
association figures, but also the number of sawmills operating in
California. Twenty percent fewer mills were active in 1957 than in
1956572 mills against 695, according to figures just compiled by
the Experiment Station.... Comparison of the two sets of figures [1956
and 1957] shows that the smaller the size-class of mill in 1956, the
lower the proportion of mills operating during 1957...
|25 mmbf & over||98||92|
|10 - 24.9 mmbf||94||77|
|1 - 9.9 mmbf||77||44|
|under 1.0 mmbf||52||22|
In spite of the shut-down of some active mills and
the elimination of some operable mills, 63 new mills were operated in
1957, two-thirds of them in the Redwood Region. However, the 63 fell
far short of replacing the 203 active in 1956 which became idle or
non-existent in 1957 [at least in terms of numbers of mills]."
Of the 669 mills existing at the end of 1957, the
Pine Region claimed 290, and 379 were in the Redwood Region (USDA, FS,
Newton Drury retires as Chief of the State Division
of Parks and Beaches. At least since the 1920s, he had been very active
in the Save-the-Redwoods League and had held office in that organization
for many years.
June 12. Congress passes the Multiple Use-Sustained
Yield Act. It declares: "The National Forests are established and shall be
administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and
wildlife and fish purposes." MUSY directs the Secretary of Agriculture
"to develop and administer the renewable surface resources of the
national Forests for multiple use and sustained yield of the several
products and services obtained therefrom."
After experimenting with the
clear-cutting practices applied to company property prior to 1955,
Arcata Redwood Company deems that clear cutting "best fits the tree
species, terrain, soil, weather and other conditions existing on the
property the company owns and manages." Further, company officials
conclude that the best practice is to immediately follow clear cutting
with spot burning to substantially reduce the fire threat, and that
"exposure of mineral soil during logging and spot burning has developed
highly effective seedbeds for new crops." They also report that
helicopter reseeding after logging "has produced the desired species
mix on company property" and that "streams and water quality can be
effectively protected under clear cutting as well as under any other
logging method" (ARC 1973: 8-9).
Nationally, Forest Service timber sales reach an
all-time high of 12.2 billion board feet. From 1950 to 1960, National
Forest timber harvest increases 2.7 times and cash receipts 4.8 times.
In the same period, National Forest recreation more than triples to a
record number of 92.5 million visits (USDA, FS 1960: 5-6).
May 1. Harvest on the NRPU lands of the Turwar Ridge
Sale commences; it is completed June 21 and burned October 1. The sale
was on nine acres with a 65 percent average slope; 800 mbf were
harvested with a 20 percent cull.
May 10. Harvest begins on the Mypaw Sale, on NRPU
lands. Cutting is completed August 15 and burned October 7. Sale area
average slope was 60 to 70 percent; 1.246 mbf were harvested.
September 3. The Wilderness Act becomes law. Under
provisions of the Act, about 10,000,000 acres in 60 areas managed by the
Forest Service were set aside as wilderness. The Act also directs the
agency to study 35 additional Primitive Areas and to make
recommendations as to each area's suitability for inclusion in the
national Wilderness Preservation System. The Salmon Trinity Alps
Primitive Area with parts of it on the Shasta-Trinity, Klamath, and Six
Rivers national forests was one of the study areas. It had been
established as a Primitive Area in 1932. (Cf. "A Wilderness
Reclassification Study, Salmon Trinity Alps," California Region
In about this year, the Supervisor's Office is moved
to 710 E Street at the corner of 7th and E streets in Eureka. This
building is built expressly for occupation by the Six Rivers National
Congress passes the National Historic Preservation
Congress passes the National Environmental Policy
April 5, CBS reporter Richard Threlkeld broadcasts a
story on Walter Cronkite's Evening News, one of the most watched
news programs on television. Threlkeld strongly criticizes Forest
Service management, particularly on the Six Rivers National Forest.
Among other statements in the story, he comments: "On the backroads of
the Six Rivers Forest whole mountain sides of virgin timber have been
cut away leaving nothing but rocks and dirt." Regional Forester Douglas
Leisz hotly argues the story with CBS President Richard S. Salant,
contending that Threlkeld had chosen an area predominantly on private
land and that, moreover, the statement was false. Salant countered that
Threlkeld and his crew had not filmed "a single scene from any area
which was privately owned or logged during private ownership." Further
Salant said that Threlkeld had sought unsuccessfully on the Six Rivers
to "find a single young growing tree even of pencil size" on clear-cut
areas. Salant closed by saying that "Mr. Threlkeld has traveled through
dozens of national forests and he informs me that he has never seen one
that suffered from the neglect and the evidence of man's encroachment
that is represented by the Six Rivers area" (Salant 5-5-71).
Further incensed, Leiszwho had earlier in his
career served as Ranger on the Lower Trinity Districtpersuaded
Threlkeld to revisit the Six Rivers and other northern national forests.
Accepting the invitation, the four day trip started September 27. While
on the Six Rivers, they visited the unit on the Little Jones Sale that
had prompted the reported lack of restocking after clear-cut. The
California Log reported that the group "found that the block
previously chosen by Threlkeld... had a stocking level of 1,000 trees
per acre." Threlkeld, after noting the land lines in the field trip,
also said that, indeed, private land had been included in the film. The
group discussed soil stabilization problems associated with clear
cutting on steep areas (CL 10-25-71). Though the written communication
from Threlkeld following the trip was not in file, an October 22, 1971
letter from Doug Leisz to Mr. Salant praised Threlkeld for his
objectivity on the second trip, noting that the group and seen some of
the bad as well as the good. He lamented that the broadcast on the
Cronkite show had misinformed the public but was heartened by the latter
"open exchange of views and searching out of facts" (Leisz
California's Z'berg-Nejedly Forest Practices Act
becomes law, increasing public regulation of private logging.
Six Rivers ranks fifth in Region 5, both in total
collections and in timber receipts out of the total of 17 national
forests, behind: 1. Lassen, 2. Shasta-Trinity, 3. Plumas, and 4.
Sierra Club appeals the Six
Rivers' contract to construct the Dillon-Flint Section of the
Gasquet-Orleans Road. Sierra Club contends that the 6 to 8-mile road
extension intrudes into roadless land, is a major Federal action under
the National Environmental Policy Act, and therefore, should have been
covered by an Environmental Statement rather than the analysis that was
done; also contends that the Six Rivers' analysis documentation did not
meet requirements of the Multiple Use Sustained - Yield Act.
Wintu and Wailacki descendants living in Hettenshaw
Valley area oppose Forest Service proposed road construction in the
vicinity, contending that the timber road would violate an Indian
burial ground, squander fishing resources, and open the area to further
vandalism and depredations (Wassaja 10-75).
The Six Rivers attempts to address Native American
opposition to construction of the Gasquet-Orleans Road by proposing
designation of the entire area as a National Historic District, with
preservation of the major ceremonial sites protected by a half-mile
November. Sierra Club and Forest Service settle a
suit regarding the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement
for the Fox Planning Unit on Jones and Hurdygurdy creeks near the South
Fork Smith River. The FS agreed to undertake various detailed studies
and long-term monitoring programs to determine the environmental
effects of the proposed timber harvest units. There was a resulting
five-volume report. Forest Service engineers, Farrington and Savina
comment that: "Landslides associated with clear cutting alone can also
produce downslope effects, but our observations suggest that individual
slide volumes from vegetation removal are one to two orders of magnitude
less than slides associated with roads."
National Forest Management Act directs forests to
develop plans that guide all management for 10 to 15 year periods.
The Six Rivers commissions an ethnographic,
historical, and archaeological study of the Gasquet-Orleans Road area;
the results lead to a recommendation that road construction and log
hauling in the area be ceased. The Forest Service, however, argues that
national economic interests should take precedence over Indian cultural
interests and continued to pursue the G-O Road completion.
Six Rivers Forest Supervisor Joe Harn appeals to the
County Board of Supervisors to do what it can to help protect Forest
Service employees in the Orleans area. He notes that employees' lives
are filled with intimidation and harassment. He says two federal
special agents have been assigned to the area because of the growing
friction in the community. Harn believes part of the
blame resides with the local marijuana industry. One
Supervisor believes part of the problem has to do with people who are
against the Forest Service's use of herbicides. Harn notes that about 40
percent of the forestry positions in Orleans have gone unfilled "because
of the reputation the area has as a bad place to work" (TS 9-3-80).
An arsonist starts several fires on Gasquet RD,
including a 109-acre fire behind the Patrick Creek Lodge.
Sierra Club proposes designating a 171,500 acre area
in the Siskiyou Mountains for wilderness, including portions of the
Siskiyou National Forest in Region 6, and the Klamath and Six Rivers
national forests in Region 5. Within what is termed the Siskiyou Study
Area, inventories will be made of the area's wilderness, recreation,
wildlife, water, forage, timber, minerals, and soils resources as well
as inventories of existing land uses and the anticipated social effects
of various alternatives (USDA, FS 1968).
Department of Interior's Heritage Conservation and
Recreation Service makes available for public review its Draft
Environmental Impact Statement for including the Klamath, Trinity,
Smith, Eel, and lower American rivers into the National Wild and Scenic
Rivers system. Totaling 4,000 miles, these rivers are already included
in the California Wild and Scenic Rivers system.
A coalition of environmentalists, most notably the
Sierra Club, joins with Indian individuals and organizations to bring
suit against the Forest Service for its planned construction of the
Gasquet-Orleans Road on the grounds of religious freedom as well as on
the grounds of environmental issues.
May. Judge Stanley Weigel of the Federal District
Court of Northern California rules on the Northwest Indian Cemetery
Protective Association v. Peterson. His decision said that
construction of the Gasquet-Orleans Road through public land held sacred
by the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa would seriously undermine the Indians'
right to free exercise of religion. It is a groundbreaking decision that
affirms protection of Indian sacred sites on public land under the First
Amendment. The G-O Road runs about 50 miles over the Siskiyou
Mountains; on completion of a seven mile connection near the center of
the route, it was to provide a key transportation link for that quadrant
of northwestern California. Though early on, some Native Americans
objected to completion of the G-O Road, administrative appeals and legal
suits against the project were initially filed by environmentalists on
the basis of environmental issues. The religious use is largely
meditational and hinges on the near-natural condition of the
surrounding environment. When the case reached District Court, Judge Weigel
linked environmental issues with Indian religious freedom... ruling that
essential environmental components were key elements in Indian religious
freedom. He also found no national interests sufficient to override the
plaintiffs' First Amendment rights (Buckley 1983: n.p).
About 128,000 acres is designated
as wilderness on the Six Rivers National Forest under provisions of the
Six Rivers National Forest releases its Draft Land
and Resource Management Plan in accord with the National Forest
Smith River National Recreation Area Act passes to
preserve, protect, and enhance recreation values of the Smith River
The northern spotted owl is listed as a threatened
species. In a resultant law suit related to Forest Service management of
the owl, the Forest Service is enjoined from logging any suitable
northern spotted owl habitat in the Pacific Northwest until an
environmental assessment is completed under the National Environmental
Policy Act. This injunction immediately drops logging levels to record
lows throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Six Rivers National
Six Rivers withdraws its Draft Land and Resource
Management Plan as a result of establishment of the Smith River
National Recreation Area and listing of the northern spotted owl as a
Long term price trend per thousand board feet of
lumber for the Six Rivers spirals from below $50 in the early 1970s to
over $350 in FY 1992.
American Fisheries Society identifies 214 stocks
of anadromous salmonids in need of special consideration because of
low or declining numbers. Twelve of these stocks are found in
habitat managed by the Six Rivers National Forest. This leads to the
eventual listing of steelhead and coho salmon as threatened species
Marbled murrelet, whose habitat includes portions
of the Six Rivers, is listed as a threatened species.
April 2. President Clinton convenes the Forest
Conference in Portland, Oregon to "stop the train wreck" and
address the "human and environmental needs served by the federal
forests of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California." Clinton
directs his Cabinet to develop a long-term policy for federal forest
lands in this region.
The Northwest Forest Plan is released in
response to direction provided by President Clinton in the 1993 Forest
Conference. The plan also resolves the 1990 lawsuit regarding management
of the northern spotted owl. The plan is the first large scale,
inter-agency effort in ecosystem management; it addresses the needs of a
wide range of species dependent on late-successional and old-growth
habitat, including the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet.
The plan includes social and economic strategies in its ecosystem
approach in order to provide for human communities hardest hit by
plummeting timber harvest levels.
Six Rivers releases its Land and Resource
Management Plan. The plan incorporates direction from The
Northwest Forest Plan and reflects the shift in Forest Service
policy away from maximization of timber yields and toward ecosystem
Last Updated: 14-Dec-2009
Electronic edition courtesy of the|
Forest History Society.