Environmentalists Converge On Northern California for ‘Redwood Summer’
SAMOA, Calif. (AP) _ Radical environmentalists planned to converge Wednesday on this tiny coastal community, protesting what they say is the timber industry’s unbridled harvesting and exportation of precious redwoods.
Activists from throughout the country, brought together by the radical group Earth First 3/8, scheduled a day of protests and rallies at Louisiana Pacific’s mill near Eureka, about 220 miles north of San Francisco.
The event, the first this year in northern California’s scenic redwood region, is part of the ″Redwood Summer″ series of protests in northern California planned by militant environmentalists.
Protest planners say they were inspired by the civil rights protests of the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, known as the ″Freedom Summer.″
Established environmental groups have distanced themselves from the demonstrations; the Sierra Club has refused to endorse the plans and the Wilderness Society has denounced them.
Both timber industry and environmental sources declined to estimate how many protesters would participate in the event.
″There will be rallies, there will be a labor picket line in the morning, there may be some civil disobedience,″ said Mickey Dulas, a spokeswoman for the Northcoast Environmental Center in nearby Arcata. ″But we are committed to nonviolence.″
Timber industry representatives throughout the area say they also oppose violence.
John Campbell, president of the Pacific Lumber Co. in Scotia, recently addressed 1,300 employees at a company meeting, urging them to observe a work- as-usual routine.
″He strongly urged them to take the high road,″ a company spokeswoman said. ″Our position is one of nonviolence, no question about it.″
The protests have raised tensions along the state’s rugged North Coast, where the economy is based largely on timber and tourism.
Those fears were aggravated on May 24 when a bomb went off in Oakland in a car carrying Earth First 3/8 leaders Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. The two were injured in the blast, and later charged with illegally transporting the explosives.