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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thurs, March 31st Direct Action Training!

This Thursday, March 31st, on Cesar Chavez' birthday, Richardson Grove Action Now will be facilitating a Non-Violent Direct Action training. We will begin at 12:00 Noon at Synapsis in Eureka. That's way down on the west end of 3rd Street, next to the St. Vincent de Paul's Free Meal site. Synapsis is a great space and we're excited to be able to do the training there!

This direct action workshop will focus on insurgent skills: organizing ways to become a wrench in the machine; demystifying potential legal risks; preparing us to assert our power with confidence; and arming us with knowledge to prevent the legal system from separating or silencing us.

We will talk about non-violent resistance, historical and current examples of direct action for social and environmental justice, consensus decision-making, choosing our targets and non-violent methods, action roles and affinity groups, and legal and solidarity tactics. While Richardson Grove Action Now is looking forward to more and more people mobilizing and feeling ready for action to stop the road widening, this training can be useful for anyone wishing to stand up, fight back, and assert the power of the people!

The training is free and for people of all ages. We'll have food, coffee, tea, and juice and we welcome you to bring food as well.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, March 31st
Synapsis, 47 West 3rd Street, Eureka


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Road Widening: Cutting Ancient Trees, Replacing Local Jobs With Outside Corporate Interests

Soon, Richardson Grove Action Now will be putting out a new info pamphlet focused on more lies from CalTrans, in particular about its plan for ancient trees in Richardson Grove State Park. Maps from CalTrans fail to show some of the large, old trees that would need to be cut for the road widening.

We ask: Have you seen Richardson Grove? Do YOU believe that road widening can happen without CUTTING BIG TREES?

There are several places where the road is so tight between the trees, CalTrans would have to cut the ancient trees in Richardson Grove State Park to make the road the size it wants. Measuring between two huge old trees on either side of the road, there is only 22.8 feet right up to the trees. STAA truck road, what the feds and CalTrans want, is 28 feet wide! CalTrans needs 24 feet of "traveled way" (road) and two feet of shoulder on each side-even without shoulders they don't even have that much room! The road would necessarily cut right into the trees. Also, there are "fill" and "cut [roots] lines on the CalTrans maps which go right through big trees in the Grove!

In addition, CalTrans, according to its Final Environmental Impact Report, can still cut whole areas of forest on private property to build a retaining wall. The retaining wall is still listed on the CalTrans website charts. CalTrans would have to steal the Singing Trees property through 'eminent domain' to do that. CalTrans has a practice of lying to the public and to the property owners from whom it plans to take land and homes for its highway expansions.

Not ONLY about Ancient Trees

Several local trucking companies, including Gosselin, Customer Truck Service, and Altos Brothers will be forced to fire truck drivers and support personnel if CalTrans does its plan through our old growth redwoods and allows super trucks and trailers into our communities.

At a minimum, six to twelve jobs will disappear from just those Humboldt County companies if CalTrans gets its way. We’re talking $500,000 in lost annual payroll. And that's just three companies. And that's without considering all of the big businesses that will come in and force out local trucking contracts and businesses in time.

Here are links to Richardson Grove Action Now literature. Please distribute! If you need hard copies to give people and can't print them yourself, call (707) 602-7551 and we'll get you some!

Pamphlet for printing:

Pamphlet for reading on the computer:

CalTrans Lies Booklet:

Letter to Humboldt Board of Supervisors (March 8, 2011):

General Flier, 1-sided:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 21st RALLY & COURT

CALTRANS is preparing to widen Hwy 101 thru
RICHARDSON GROVE STATE PARK for increased industrial trucking & militarization. We will stop them!

CalTrans' plan threatens our rural lives and involves cutting & crushing ancient redwoods' roots, cutting 56 trees in the state park, & possibly changing old-growth forest on private property into road bed.



FOR 12 ARRESTED 8:00 am

Rally with Richardson Grove signs, then support in court.

(There is a security check x-ray machine in the courthouse.)

Richardson Grove Action Now (707) 602-7551

March 16 Update from Richardson Grove Action Now

On Wednesday, March 16, at 10 am, a group of us {activists involved with Richardson Grove Action Now} took a stroll and conducted a scouting mission up Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park and properties adjacent to the park. In addition to enjoying the immense beauty and serenity of the area, we made some observations and gained several insights that we would like to share with you.

Knowing that CalTrans has plans to replace and update the culverts (the pipe network that allows moving water to move from one side of the road to the other) on the southern end of the grove, we decided to take a close look at the culverts as they currently are. Since there was a good amount of rain earlier in the morning, the culverts, which are large pipes buried under the ground between the depths of 1-5 feet (I'd say) , were in full action with water being channeled under the road and crashing down the hillsides. A couple of us surveyed the culverts for a species of concern, a sort of rare salamander that could be endangered by this project. Though we did not find any trace of this elusive critter, we could not help but notice that some of the culverts run between thirty and forty yards (I'd say) into the state park. How is CalTrans planning to replace these culverts, some of which, as we mentioned, are a good five feet down in depth, without causing harm to nearby ancient redwood roots? The roots are also between one and five feet in depth.

Along the Richardson Grove stretch of Highway 101 we saw a number of CalTrans survey stakes, on the east side of the road, marked with a cryptic series of numbers and letters. We documented the stakes by photo and are now in the process of trying to make sense of these markers. There was speculation that some of these markers may be new (a week or so old), though this theory has not yet been confirmed. In any case, we were shocked by how close in proximity the stakes are in relation to massive, old growth redwoods. From what we understand, these stakes mark the borders of the CalTrans road widening project. If this is indeed true, and after looking at the Environmental Impact Report it seems to be, then CalTrans is planning to pave right up to many old growth trees. Given what we know about redwood root growth patterns, which are generally shallow and wide reaching, as well as modern road construction techniques, which effect the ground several feet below the pavement surface, this does not appear to bode well for the health and longevity of these living relics.

As we continued to head north and out of the state park area on our journey through the old growth forest, we observed, on a sharp curve on the west side of Highway 101 across from the Singing Trees Recovery Center about fifteen feet up on a steep slope, more brightly colored markers, similar to the markers that we saw earlier. If you were to picture the space in between the road and these markers filled with pavement (which if it were to be somewhat level would require the excavation

and removal of a hillside), the resulting image would be, comparatively to what is currently there, a section of road that is wider with a significantly less sharp curve. This is interesting, because CalTrans has insisted throughout the history of this project that their plan would not “straighten” the road but rather, as they claim, only marginally widen it in certain areas. If indeed it is part of CalTrans' plan to straighten the road in this section, the result would significantly reduce the aesthetic appeal of the north entrance to the park and moreover, add to its destruction.

Throughout our stroll and scouting mission, we could not help but notice that the electrical/telephone/cable lines are relatively short in height in the Richardson Grove section when compared to the lines on rest of Highway 101. In fact, by our estimation, some of the lines offer only a mere foot and a half of clearance for the tops of the larger trucks passing underneath them. It seems logical then to assume, since CalTrans has stated that its reason for "improving" this section of road is to allow greater access to larger trucks (although it is illegal to do any sort of construction in a state park for the purpose of perceived economic gain) that these lines will also be "improved". This seems especially likely because some of the poles that support the weight of these lines are in areas that are designated to be paved over. Given this, it seems to us, although we are not really sure, that PG&E., AT&T, Sudden Link, and possibly other line owners must also be scheduling work in the Richardson Grove area in the near future.

Constant research and information is vitally important for us in our fight to stop CalTrans' plan to widen Highway 101 through Richardson Grove. Although today's stroll through the proposed project area provided us with a more clear view of what is happening on the ground, there is still MUCH that we want to understand about the on-ground, day-to-day logistics. There is no injunction (stop order) from the courts to halt the construction project to widen Highway 101 through Richardson Grove. CalTrans has already begun the preliminary steps (surveys, permit acquisitions, contractor bids, etc.) to begin the on-the-ground work. We do not know the exact date that construction will begin but we do know that it is likely to occur in the near future. The time is now to stop this, the time is urgent, we must act!

Note: In December 2010, CalTrans made representations to the court and to the entities suing to stop the plan through Richardson Grove, that work on the project would not begin until at least June 2011. However, CalTrans has been preparing for the road widening. On the CalTrans website, culvert and other work are officially posted to begin this month, March 2011. Feel free to ask CalTrans employees yourself (at the office or on the ground) what they are doing!



Friday, March 11, 2011

RALLY date changed to Friday April 1st due to weather. No joke :)


Friends of Richardson Grove Will Hold A Rally & Celebration of Spring On Friday April 1st, 2011 Challenging the Highway Widening Project Threatening Ancient Humboldt County Redwoods

CalTrans Project Through Richardson Grove State Park Would Harm Old-growth Trees, Marbled Murrelet Habitat, and Rural North Coast Towns

GARBERVILLE, Calif.— A group of Friends of Richardson Grove State Park invite the public to a Rally and Celebration of Spring on Friday, April 1st, 2011 from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM at the Garberville Town Square. This will be a family-friendly event focusing on educating the public about the ill-advised highway-widening project that not only threatens the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park, but could also change the rural character of Humboldt County.

The event will feature local speakers, musicians including Bud Rogers, Jefferson Parsons and Defenders of the Holy Grove, educational literature, sample letters to send to elected representatives, a craft table for children and adults and the opportunity to discuss with neighbors the effects this project might have on our State Park and Community.

The highway project is widely opposed by local residents, business owners, conservation and Native American groups, and economists as unnecessary and damaging to the State Park, the venerable old-growth grove and its wildlife, tourism, and the coastal communities of Humboldt County.

Caltrans and certain business interests have attempted for decades to provide access for larger commercial trucks through the area, and in the past few years have pushed for widening the narrow, meandering section of Highway 101 through the world-renowned ancient redwood grove in Richardson Grove State Park. This park at the southern entrance to Humboldt County is considered to be the “redwood curtain” protecting the small communities of the north coast from blight and urban development. Public outcry has so far protected the grove from development, but Caltrans and a handful of business interests have aggressively pushed for access for larger trucks.

Established in 1922, Richardson Grove State Park was recently rated as one of the top 100 state parks in the United States, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world every year to explore one of the last protected stands of accessible old-growth redwoods. It is here you first encounter significant old-growth forest when driving north, and this popular tourist destination has provided many people with a transformative experience walking through some of the oldest living beings on the planet.

The proposed spoiling of Richardson Grove and widening of the highway through the “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project” does not serve the region’s best interests and threatens the area’s environment, economy, and way of life. The Humboldt County Economic Development Program has used public funding for a misleading public-relations campaign claiming the widening and increased large-truck traffic are needed for safety and commerce and will benefit Humboldt County through falling retail prices, bolstering the local economy, and making travel into the county from the south safer. Bigger trucks do not somehow translate to consumer savings, but do increase wear and tear on roadways and decrease safety for smaller vehicles. The widening would provide incentive for big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot to move into Humboldt County, to the detriment of local businesses. The reality is that this project has the potential to change forever a rural lifestyle cherished by residents of the North Coast.

Caltrans claims the “realignment” project is needed to safely accommodate large-truck travel, remove the restriction of larger vehicles on this section of highway, and improve movement of commercial goods. However, it appears from Caltrans’ own statements and signage that the portion of road for which this project is contemplated is currently designated for larger trucks and that Caltrans has exaggerated potential safety problems.

Advocates for the grove forced the agency to complete a full Environmental Impact Report, rather than the Categorical Exemption and minimal environmental analysis Caltrans originally tried to employ. Caltrans’ preferred project appears to be a predetermined decision taken in advance of the environmental analysis. Federal law prohibits transportation projects on public-park lands except in cases where there is no feasible alternative. Since smaller-sized commercial trucks already travel through the grove to deliver goods to Humboldt County, one feasible alternative would be to leave the highway as it is and retain the integrity of Richardson Grove.

The project is opposed by the Environmental Protection Information Center, Save Richardson Grove Coalition, North Coast Environmental Center, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Friends of the Eel River, Center for Biological Diversity, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and Richardson Grove Action Now, among others.

March 13th: Pre-Rally Potluck & Meeting

Calling All Friends of Richardson's Grove
Sunday March 13th, 2011
Garberville Vet's Hall

PreRally Potluck and Meeting

Come and help prepare for the upcoming Garberville Rally on March 18th!
This is an open invitation to anyone interested in helping bring the Cal-Trans Richardson's Grove widening project to a halt.

For more info call 707-834-7916

We will be making signs and banners.

Please bring a potluck dish, cardboard, bed sheets, paints and brushes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Letter To Board of Supes from Chief Thomas Dostou

Dear Sirs and Madame:

It has come to my attention by way of an American Indian associate of mine in Northern California that there is a question concerning the destruction of old growth Redwoods in the Richardson Grove area .

I am presently visiting American Indian communities around the Nation with the intention of coordinating actions related to various other attempts on the part of private or/and public entities to encroach on or destroy natural environments which we in the American Indian community view as having a spiritual as well as a cultural importance for our People.

I am quite sure that you all are aware of the terrible genocide and exploitation that has occurred to American Indian people across this land over the past 500 years. And I am also sure that you are also aware in the particular of the massacre of the Wiyot peoples in 1860 by white settlers.

With this and more in mind, I am sure that you understand that we as Native people are very concerned when we hear that people are wanting to again destroy our lands because we never voluntarily gave up our lands but were forced to cede these lands at the point of a gun or sword. No treaties were signed by the coastal tribes of California giving up the trees, rivers, lakes etc. So basically, you and your government accordingly are an illegal body as per the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and the World Court of the Hague.

What right do you have to decide what will be done with the lands which your ancestors took illegally ?

Thank you .

Chief Thomas Dostou

Nabesse Pishum ( Tom Dostou )

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Humboldt Board of Supervisors Targeted in Direct Action Campaign to Stop Highway Expansion Through Richardson Grove State Park

Tuesday, March 8th: “No Road Widening Through Richardson Grove” activists sang to the Board of Supervisors at the weekly meeting this morning.

See BELOW the letter given to the Board of Supervisors for the record from Richardson Grove Action Now.

Six people who are opposed to the plan to widen the road through Richardson Grove State Park were arrested for expressing their dissent to the abhorrent decision the Supervisors made when they gave a green light to the plan, seemingly without hearing or caring about the opinion of the people whom they claim to represent.

This proposed project would have far reaching and devastating effects socially, ecologically, economically, and spiritually. We currently have the potential to build our own economy and wealth as working class people. This project would only leverage more control and wealth for the “owner” class by making it easier and more lucrative for “big box” stores to invade our communities, thereby leaching much-needed local dollars from the North Coast. We know that the Highway 101 expansion is supported by U.S. military and so-called defense agencies who wish to have greater access to and control of the people and natural resources of this region. Respecting the old growth forest in a protected park trumps any value that could come from widening the road. Just as all life has the inherent right to survive with a healthy level of autonomy, we also demand our right to survive and determine for ourselves, rather than be forced to accept, what passes through our lives or covers the landscape of our home.

Richardson Grove Action Now is committed to stopping the Federally funded CalTrans highway expansion through Richardson Grove. “We know that this plan will ruin our local economy, will bring increased militarization, will interfere with a state park, will irreparably damage the root systems of ancient trees, and will change forever our way of life” says Richardson Grove activists.

The letter below was handed out to the Board of Supervisors and other meeting attendees this morning.


Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
Room 111 of the County Courthouse
825 5th Street
Eureka , CA 95501

March 8, 2011

To Humboldt County Board of Supervisors,
Jimmy Smith, Clif Clendenen, Mark Lovelace, Virginia Bass, Ryan Sundberg

This morning several people representing opposition to Caltrans’ 10+million dollar plan to widen Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park demonstrated during your morning meeting. You have failed in your ability to work for the people due to your allegiance to special interests. You have refused to protect our communities now and for future generations. Many of your constituents have requested, formally and repeatedly, that you hold a public forum to discuss this issue- the road widening project and its myriad consequences; we have asked that you put this significant item on the agenda;we have asked for your assistance, and you have blatantly and openly disrespected and ignored us. You should not be permitted to continue “business as usual” when your business is short-sighted, corrupt, and detrimental to our lives.

The Board of Supervisors is an elected position. Your failures and refusals to adequately represent and defend your constituents and your failure and refusal to fight for a significant State Park in Humboldt County have been obvious through your rubber-stamping of this and other contentious CalTrans projects, through your ignoring of the will and well-being of your constituents, through your prioritization of transnational interests over local economy, through your approval- without our consent- of a plan that will endanger our safety on the road, through your complicity with unlawful plans to damage a State Park for purported economic benefit, through your brazen disregard for the sanctity of Richardson Grove to the First Nations people in this region and your perpetuation of the genocide that began several generations ago. We have a voice, and we demand that you listen, lest you will continue to find it more and more difficult to conduct what you call “business” and what we call CRIME.

You have misappropriated thousands of dollars from the Headwater's Fund to promote CalTrans' proposed highway expansion through Richardson Grove. In addition to paying for television, radio, and print media to promote the CalTrans project, you used over $10,000 from the Headwaters Fund to: pay six public figures to submit “My Word” letters to the Eureka Times-Standard; to pay for editing those letters; to provide instructions and propaganda for businesses on how to publicly promote the CalTrans project; and to fund many county staff hours for project lobbying. Then, $25,000 more in county public funds were pilfered by Kirk Girard, director of Humboldt County Community Development, to promote the highway expansion through Richardson Grove. This is not only an outrage, it is a special interests racket.

These are glaring violations of the public trust and gross acts of collusion with special economic interests, at the behest of the future and well-being of our region. You have not only failed to oppose the project, you have failed to seek legal recourse against CalTrans for interfering with the State Park and failed to investigate the adverse and long-term affects of the project. In reality, you have actively and unethically propagandized this CalTrans project (and others) and, to our detriment, done everything to advance an imperialist agenda.

Richardson Grove Action Now

Afternoon Public Comments to Humboldt Board of Supes, Tuesday March 8, 2011: