Lively Protest At U.S. Forest Offices
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ An ersatz Smokey the Bear tried to resign in protest of road building and clear-cutting on national forest land, but he was turned down by the U.S. Forest Service.
″Smokey offered the resignation but we didn’t accept it,″ said Hal Salwasser, acting deputy forester for the service’s western region, after a 25-minute conference with bear-costumed protester Daniel Barron.
The attempted resignation of Smokey was part of a peaceful demonstration Thursday outside the regional offices of the Forest Service in downtown San Francisco by Earth First 3/8, a radical environmental group.
Other demonstrations in observance of the 150th birthday of Sierra Club founder John Muir were held in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, at Sequoia National Forest Headquarters in Porterville, and at the Forest Service headquarters of Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka.
In Muir’s honor, Thursday was proclaimed by protesters as a National Day of Outrage″ at forest policies.
About 150 people marched in front of the headquarters building in San Francisco, chanting and toting signs roughly along the same lines: ″No More Clear Cutting, No More Roads On Our Public Lands,″ and ″Only You Can Prevent Clear Cutting.″ Clear-cutting is the total clearance of an area.
The Forest Service calls logging ″harvesting,″ part of a program of ″intelligent and sound land management,″ the service’s regional timber management director Ray Weinmann told reporters at an impromptu news conference.
At Porterville, 18 Earth First 3/8 members handed out fliers that accused the Forest Service of degrading the land with timber-cutting and forest roads.
At Eureka, about a dozen members protested for about three hours, focusing on the ″GO-Road″ that runs for a portion through the forest from Gasquet to Orleans. Construction of an incompleted portion has been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court after a lengthy court fight.
In Los Angeles, about two dozen members of Earth First 3/8 dressed as trees during a demonstration at the Federal Building downtown to protest the cutting of timber on public lands.
About 30 Earth First 3/8 members demonstrated in Seattle outside the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest office, including yet another protester in a Smokey outfit and another decked out as Robin Hood.
Jim Unterwegner, a Forest Service spokesman in Portland, said about 100 protesters chanted and marched on the Pacific Northwest regional office there.