Friends of Enchanted Meadow
About Us

Sanctuary - How they came to be…

by Zia Cattalini
     The work of Virginia Sharkey and myself to stop logging near Enchanted Meadow began without calling card or preparation. In spring of 1989 there was little or no time to protect this forest from falling into the rapacious grasp of corporate timber landowners. A near pristine ecosystem of wetland and forest was scheduled for destruction.   
     A Timber Harvest Plan is required in California if one wants to cut more than three acres of trees. Here in Mendocino County, a Timber Harvest Plan is a euphemism for destroying the forest.
     Commonly called THPs, the Louisiana Pacific Corporation LP filed two near our homes. THPS 1-89-100 & 1-89-145 if activated were sure to ensnare a bulldozer and chainsaw fate for 286 acres of wetland meadow and forest. 
    These THP's comprised ninety acres of CLEARCUTTING!  Clearcuts cause extreme destruction, vanquishing everything natural. Trees would fall, slopes would slide, dislocated soils would clog streams and wildlife would lose their habitat.

- Nic Wilson photoClear cuttingLousiana Pacific Clearcut - LP standard liquidation logging practice - thp 1-88-766 Railroad Gulch at Table Mountain
     The California Department of Forestry CDF told me the only way to stop the logging was to SUE them, and name LP as the party of interest.
     Under the banner of the Albion River Watershed Protection Association ARWPA we challenged CDF's approval of THREE THP's on the Albion River's north side, joining the litigation was THP 1-89-114, located upriver at Kaisen Gulch, 144 acres in size with thirty-nine acres planned for CLEARCUT. 
     Superior Court Judge James King dismissed the ARWPA suit on standing issues at a permanent injunction hearing months after a previous Judge, the Honorable Conrad Cox issued a TRO and preliminary injunction against all logging activities.  Judge King's decision was swiftly appealed. The Appeals Court in San Francisco granted a logging stay while the case was undecided.
   Three years later the appellate court reversed the lower's court decision on the Kaisen Gulch THP, it was remanded to superior court, and ruled upon favorably by Judge James Luther, because one public comment letter, submitted by Betty Ball, of the MEC Mendocino Environment Center was deemed substantive. LP sought relief in the Court of Appeals but it upheld the lower court's decision in favor of ARWPA. Emotional pleas as in the case of saving THPs 1-89-100 & 145 did not warrant standing in court.
     Friends of Enchanted Meadow FOEM formalized in 1992, filing a second lawsuit to protect the at risk Enchanted Meadow THPs. In April, Superior Court Judge James Luther issued a TRO against LP logging then later in a
cliff-hanger-atmosphere-sardine-packed-court, he rescinded the TRO, ruling FOEM's action was time barred.

     Community outcry to a discovery of an osprey nest in Raven's Call and THPs not up to current logging standards pressured CDF to impose a STOP ORDER on LP.  LP refused to stop logging, did spite cuts of old growth in Ravens' Call and sued CDF and FOEM.
     Judge Luther lifted the CDF STOP ORDER allowing LP to cut, galvanizing neighbors and nearby communities to come and protect Raven's Call and Enchanted Meadow.  CDF and FOEM's attorney refused to appeal.  Six weeks of logging ensued, but slowed down by protests and civil disobedience in the forest until FOEM found an attorney confident to appeal and a stay of all logging activities was in place.

- Zia Cattalini photo
Canopy Ravens' CallRavens' Call 
In 1993, the Appeals Court ruled FOEM timely and that LP must update THPs 1-89-100 & 145 to comply with the current, more stringent CDF forest practice rules.  LP appealed.  The following year the California Supreme Court upheld the Appellate Court's decision in favor of Friends of Enchanted Meadow.
     In December of 1994,  LP resubmitted the original THPs 1-89-100 &145 with "minor amendments" (therefore not requiring public notice) to CDF and received approval.
     In November of  1995,  FOEM board member Karl Schoen, and friends Roanne Withers, Ron Guenther and Judy Vidaver named Petitioners and others challenged CDF's approval because the THP changes were "major" and the cumulative impact analysis study LP submitted should have required public comment. Superior Court Judge James King ruled against Schoen, et al.vs CDF & LP.  Schoen, et al. appealed.
     August 7,1997 the California Court of Appeals stated CDF abused its descretion in approving LP's analysis of cumulative impacts as minor deviations. CEQA & the FPA mandate public review for this critical issue; therefore CDF abused its decretion by insulating this information from public review. Schoen, et al. prevailed and set legal precedent!
     In 1997, LP sought to re-enter THPs 1-89-100 & 145 to finish their six week blitzkrieg of 1992. The THPs were nine years old with a cumulative effects assessment proposed as major amendments grossly inadequate.  LP failed to mention the existence of the Ravens' Call sanctuary, whose boundary line they intended to log up to, omitting protective buffers to mitigate any logging damage and preserve the stand integrity of the Call. 
     The Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance championed environmental litigation, case #74823 to lay THPs I-89-100 & 145 to rest, forever. Spearheaded by Mary Pjerrou and Annamarie Stenberg with help from RCWA's affiliate member groups; Greenwood Watershed Association, Guardians of Elk Creek Old Growth, ARWPA and FOEM.
     Summertime, 1998, the RCWA suit was amended to name new timberland owners, MRC, RCWA's case won in superior court in 2000 and MRC did not appeal. A permanent injunction was mandated on the Enchanted Meadow THPs and ruled any future intent to log these areas must be approved by the court prior to submitting a new THP within the boundaries of retired THPs 1-89-100 & 145 to CDF for approval.  


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Friends of Enchanted Meadow / P.O. Box 271 - Little River, CA 95456

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