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Saturday, June 12, 2010

You gotta love the Earth First! Journal...

Call to Action
Stop A Highway Project Through the Redwood Curtain
By Jeffrey "Muskrat" Musgrave

Traveling North on Highway 101 from San Francisco, you come to a rare and extraordinary place. The "Redwood Curtain" is located just north of the Humboldt/Mendocino County line, where Redwood Highway 101 winds through a spectacular grove of ancient coast Redwoods as you pass through Richardson Grove State Park. This area is unique for many reasons, as the redwoods that line the highway form a "curtain", or natural barrier that creates a narrow point of access along the coast.

Millennial redwoods line both sides of the highway as it passes through Richardson Grove State Park. Only 3% of our ancient redwood forests remain, and since stands of old growth are seldom found outside state and national parks, these trees have value beyond description. This forest is a part of the rare sizable stands of old growth redwoods remaining in the southern section of the redwood coast, and is crucial habitat for endangered species such as the Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl.

The California State Highway Agency (CalTrans) plans to realign this historic section of narrow highway to allow longer semi-trucks to pass through the Redwood Curtain, a $10 million project for a two mile section of scenic Redwood Highway 101. Opponents see the project as an unnecessary and costly plan that would damage these irreplaceable ancient trees, and also threaten to the local small businesses and unique community. The area just north of Richardson Grove State Park was damaged by a highway bypass project in the mid-1960's, when CalTrans (back then titled Dept. of Public Works) created a four-lane bypass around the scenic strip of old growth coast redwoods known as the Avenue of the Giants. Ground water that fed the trees was diverted into culverts, and the dried out Redwood tops that Judi Bari dubbed the "Avenue of Spiketops" are obvious to travelers on Highway 101.

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