Opponents of Federally-Funded CalTrans Plan To Widen Hwy 101 Through Richardson Grove State Park Warn Contractors Seeking To Work On The Plan:
“BIDDER'S BEWARE -WE WILL STOP YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!”
Contact: Richardson Grove Action Now 707.602.7551, firstname.lastname@example.org
Humboldt County, CA: In an April 18, 2011 protest, the latest in a series of direct actions and mass rallies, including a day-long lockdown occupation of the CalTrans District 1 Headquarters, a treesit on private property bordering Hwy 101 that CalTrans plans to steal and de-forest, two large banner hangs, and a crafty public meeting disruption, Richardson Grove Action Now (RGAN) declared, “Bidders Beware! We will stop you every step of the way.” Northcoast communities are not only threatened with the Naval war games testing and bomb detonation currently taking place off the Northern Pacific Coast, but now must stave off a federally-motivated CalTrans plan to mutilate an ancient redwood grove so that trans-national corporations, nuclear materials, development, and military have greater access to Humboldt Bay and to towns that have been relatively protected by a bottleneck of forests and winding roads from the South and East.
Sue Ricker of RGAN said at Monday's demonstration, “It's preposterous in 2011 to be destroying the last remaining 2% of old growth. If CalTrans can widen the highway through Richardson Grove State Park, a world-renowned redwood forest, they'll go to any length to convert the 101 into an interstate NAFTA artery.”
RGAN vows to stop this plan in the trees, roads, and offices, and has been relentlessly vocal about CalTrans' lies regarding the motivations, logistics, and consequences of the road widening project. “Despite CalTrans' biased claims that no old-growth trees will be cut or harmed if the project moves ahead, we know that excavating, cutting, compacting, and paving over the roots of ancient redwood trees spells certain death.” says members of RGAN. Furthermore, anyone traveling through the Grove, as do thousands of awestruck people every year, knows that in the narrowest sections of the road, there is little space (only 23 feet) between the humungous old growth trees. CalTrans' plan calls for 28 feet and would require CalTrans to cut the ancient monuments. RGAN notes that every time there is a protest against the expansion project, CalTrans trips over itself to create new lies and to counter growing awareness of the nefarious plan. While CalTrans claims that root excavation does no harm, several landslides have occurred in the past month, including a massive slide onto Highway 101 north of Richardson Grove, exhibiting of what happens to roads and mountains when roots no longer stabilize the ground.
April 18th was CalTrans' Advertised Bid day for the major construction in the road widening plan. Although recent activity in lawsuits against the project suggest that CalTrans will halt its bidding process for a couple of months, CalTrans District 1 Supervisor spoke on Monday to the press about the bidding process going forward, while the only delay he acknowledged regarded a related, but separate, culvert project in the Grove.
On Monday (April 18th), while a hundred community members protested at the CalTrans District 1 HQ in escalating resistance to the highway expansion, CalTrans locked its doors to the public. While demonstrating on the office lawn, people made dozens of phone calls to CalTrans to express opposition to the plan; CalTrans responded by turning off its phones. One demonstrator climbed a ladder onto the roof to address the crowd and highlight the urgency of direct action to prevent the road widening: “We are strong, unified and growing in numbers. We will not back down, and our determination to protect the Redwood Curtain is not shaken by the violence, lies, and scare tactics perpetuated by the State, nor by distortions of the truth from the complicit corporate media.” She was arrested by several officers. Many officers were posted inside, at the front doors, and on the various rooftops of the HQ.
One demonstrator's thorough presentation to the crowd included information about the long-standing and shrouded motivations of the project and the fact that there are also CalTrans road “widening” projects on every highway entrance east to the Northcoast. The cracking open of the Redwood Curtain promises to forever change the physical, social, and economic landscape of the Northcoast and what has been, for millenia, redwood country.
RGAN will broaden and intensify the non-violent direct action campaign against the wasteful, illegal, and irreparable plan. The group warns potential bidder companies that contractors will deal with more than just a construction job if they choose to do harmful road widening through the world-renowned ancient grove.
Photos will be posted soon from April 18th Mass Rally Protest!
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