Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Fishing for Compliments—or a Living

INSECURE WRITERS’ MONTHLY SHARING CORNER or
EMPATHIZING with the UNSUNG aka Fishermen

Crescent City, CA marina April 2016 without boats, photo courtesy Tom Lesher F/V Jumping Jack

Crescent City, CA marina April 2016 without boats, photo courtesy Tom Lesher F/V Jumping Jack


Crab Fisherman’s Lament 1991-1992 & 2015-2016
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the hall
all the fishermen sat at the Conference Call.
Their boats, they were nestled all snug in the Bay,
in hopes that tomorrow would be opening day.
Bud with his checkbook and Vince with his pen
were just sitting down—they had done it again.
They had to come up with some new kind of story
“Well you know guys we’ve got way too much inventory.
“The most we could possibly pay you’s a buck.
“If you want more than that, well, you’re just out of luck.”

In all of the ports there arose such a clatter
people jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.
“All right guys, calm down now, you’ve vented your spleen.
Perhaps we could gove you a dollar fifteen.”
“Enough of this bullshit—we’ve had it to here—
“We’re not goin’ fishing, we’re not setting the gear.”

Crab cemetery—dying to get in

Crab cemetery—dying to get in

So we tied up the boats, put away all the bait,
and we all settled down for a long season’s wait.
In Fort Bragg and Eureka, ‘Come hell or bad weather’
Crescent City and Brookings ‘We’re stickin’ together’
And even in Trinidad, Port Orford, too.
But we just didn’t count on that bad Newport crew—
“We’re not sittin’ around, nah, we’re setting the gear,
“The rest of you go stick a squid in your ear.”
Well, the wind it was calm, and the ocean was placid,
But then came those fatal words: domoic acid.
For some weird sort of chemical found in the guts,
They’re closing the season. Those guys must be nuts.”

We ranted and raved, but ’twas to no avail
‘cos the Feds and the bureaucrats always prevail.
After twenty-some odd days, we finally did go.
And over both shoulders some crabs we did throw.
But there weren’t too many—at a pretty poor price.
For a lot of us Holidays weren’t all that nice.

Well you knew things got screwed up. Now you know the reason.
So ‘tight lines’ to all—and maybe next season.
Tim Harkins F/V Maria Concetta, Trinidad, CA

Empty Marinas, Oceangoing on Hold

Rancho Chualar cropcircle December 30th, 2013, highlights the 1. 9. 2. and π 3.14159265359 ad infinitum

Rancho Chualar cropcircle December 30th, 2013, highlights the 1. 9. 2. and π 3.14159265359 ad infinitum

Pacific coastal fishing has been on hold since December last year. Ports in California and Oregon—Pacific Northwest—are hurting. Empty marinas everywhere—as in Crescent City photo, top. Bureacratic delay in decisions has affected a little-known segment of the food-provider chain—fishing boat captains and their crew—with their wives, families, dependents.

Government procrastination is only one aspect. Final pay-out—if any—of compensation to the fishing fleet is mostly eaten up in overwintering expenses, without income. Crew members are not covered by Fish & Game authority or Federal handouts. Generosity to deck hands depends solely on captains who have themselves reached near-crisis point.

In an election year, farmers with drought problems—e.g. Salinas CA last year—Chualar Crop Circle at left—and misfortunes of our Pacific hands-on fishing fleet in small coastal ports—may seem like small potatoes. Not high priority television news.

Business, Balance Sheets and the Biosphere
Tonight, however, and for two more evenings in the run-up to Earth Day and Earth WeekApril 20— Humboldt State university-influenced Arcata Playhouse will feature a presentation and film screening by EPIC of TREE-SIT: THE ART OF RESISTANCE followed by discussion with HSU environmentalists who may have found a way forward amid conflict with business, balance sheets and the Biosphere.

Survival of the human race may not be on our minds as writers who document or fantasize our way on to people’s reading list. But previous reminders by our ocean, our farming hinterland, our rising temperatures—80ºF today in NoCal—have been persistent—witness 2015 as hottest year on record.

And there’s more to come. I’m sure even our fearless leader, Alex, and his sci-fi acolytes would find a way to squeeze our plight into readable form, so we can pull out the stops together—even while we struggle with April A-to-Z challenge, we writers might make a difference.

It’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Getting through this together.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

April 6, 2016 Posted by | culture, environment, ocean, seasonal, traditions, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Drawing Breath—Speaking up for Lungs of the Planet

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ ENCLAVE—
IWSGers Speak up for the Planet

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers! And to the world at large.
Mostly, thanks to our prolific host and Ninja Cap’n, Alex, for allowing us crazies free rein on his excellent forum. It opens writerly doors, and allows us to vent, when things go wrong. May we all survive—nay, plunge into—this year and follow our dreams.

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local  'Resource company' under umbrella of social conscience offer to 'open woodland to public'

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local ‘Resource company’ under umbrella of social conscience offer to ‘open woodland to public’

2015 saw many changes in awareness of common responsibility for our country’s finite resources, both nation-wide and internationally, bringing accord which would have been impossible a decade ago. Politicians are—with careful research—actually clearing desks, allocating reserve funds to deal with the atmosphere-environment.

It is no longer an ‘issue’. Climate has become real time—Western nations’ new goal—to do good by the planet, our only home.

But don’t hold your breath.

Rattle in Seattle as Farewell to Old Ways
West Coast shakes over New Year ranged from Mag.4.7 in Seattle through M.6.2 Nevada/Utah border, to M.4.1 off Ferndale, CA. Judging by whale movement—on late migration south delayed by warm northern waters—quakes and movement are happening on the coastal plate, where the Gorda fault fissures to join its subterranean sisters under (human habitat) the land. Several landslides along the coastal Scenic Drive route north of the Eel and Mad Rivers—in Humboldt County—have made travel ‘difficult’—official sources.

Once again we realize our Earth Mama is shaking her feathers—a little ruffled by now with all the oil extraction and fossil burning we’ve been up to.

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Lieber kleiner blauer Stern [Pale Blue Dot auf Deutsch]
Menschen habt ihn endlich gern
Tut ihm nun nichts mehr zu Leide
Nicht den Bergen, nicht der Heide
Nicht den Wiesen, Mooren, Flüssen
Nicht den Wäldern, Vögeln, Fischen
Liebt den kleinen blauen Stern
Pflegt und schütz ihn
Habt ihn gern
courtesy M.Asgardh

Snakes, ants, beetles, redwoods and humans—we all travel the Milky Way together and share the planet’s blessings
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah


Latest round of seismic unrest included quakes in Oklahoma, causing power outages, and widespread flooding damage in Mississippi basin.

In Pacific NW, several dormant volcanoes shook over New Year, alongside multiple larger (Richter Mag.4.2 or more) earthquakes rippling along faults extending N-S along West coast United States. Authorities remain vigilant, with such heavy movement currently underway.
If Mama is shaking us, what is it we’ve done to get her so annoyed?

Well, let’s take breathable air, for a start—yes, we decimated Earth’s fossil trees—so, what are we doing about it?

Headwaters Forest—Tragedy of 1990s

Trying to measure up to 1000-year Old Growth Redwoods is harder work than forestry companies imagined

“Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of canopy before heading back into the glaring light of second-growth, I wonder at the rôle of restoration in recreating the beauty I see before me. I think it will be a very long time before our forest will be what it once was”
David LaFever, Bureau Land Management Ecologist, after 2001 restoration attempt

Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.

The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only table scraps left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’

Old Growth Sequoia Groves
Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree trunks—high tree and stand biomass—and with complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens, 50-70% of overstory) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii, 30-47%) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Conversely, unthinned second-growth stands are dominated by Douglas Fir (60-80%), with density of over a thousand trees per acre.

Sequoia sempervirens, redwoods as big as a Boeing 707

Growing trees like a crop of grain is no longer the enlightened view. Scientists from HSU have discovered that the older the redwood, the harder and more disease-resistant is the wood, and the tougher its ability to withstand weathering, damage. That there is more life-support value in one 1000-year old Sequoia, than in a thousand 10-year olds.

Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion—skid trails—with consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks that leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees now, along streams and rivers.

Finally the salmon and other native fish are returning.

Forestry business mantra is that they are ‘on target to create new forests’ (in one hundred years), like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks, begun by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1875-92. He and John Muir should by now roaring with delighted laughter in their (redwood) coffins.

At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas Fir, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began restoration thinning in 2004. Goal of restoration was to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions, and restore a more natural species mix to each area—by cutting Douglas Fir and leaving Redwood and other less common species. From 2004 to 2013, BLM thinned 1,600 acres—approximately 21% of Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Thinning Understory in Attempt to Mimic Old Growth
In 2014, BLM began a second round of thinning with an idea of introducing more ‘spatial complexity’, to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. BLM workers created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands, by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks. They also completed their research project in partnership with Humboldt State University. Their report, published 2013: “Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”.

‘This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios’
BLM ecologist D.laFever

Life without trees—lack of breathable air—would be a scenario more appropriate to Star Trek, CassaStar, or in our sci-fi leader*, Alex’s new ‘geek stuff’. But we breathe on, thanks to the lungs of the planet—threatened, decimated—broken but unbowed.
*If Alex can branch out into short stories—’geek stuff’—I can face the bureaucracy with a little non-fiction of my own—lol. Thanks, Alex and fellow IWSGers for listening.
Happy Epiphany!
©2016 Marian Youngblood

January 6, 2016 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, fiction, nature, rain, seasonal, seismic, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arbor Day and Earth Week

Trees: without them and our wilderness, we as a species are lost

‘Archetype of our oneness with the earth’

We used to call it Arbor Day. On the hinge between Aries and Taurus, when the Sun enters this celebratory earth sign in the western zodiac calendar: that’s the day John Muir was born in 1838. A native Scot who emigrated to the United States and changed the face of a nation, Muir was the original arborist: lover of trees.

Wolves being hunted to extinction following a change in legislation to the US Endangered Species Act

It wasn’t easy. In early 19th-century Britain or the US, wilderness wasn’t a concept naturally entertained by Victorian huntin’ shootin’ choppin’ mentality. [It still isn’t, one might argue, when considering the recent Obama administration’s upholding the Bush cancellation of sections of the Endangered Species Act: which has resulted in wholesale wolf-massacre in the US States of Montana, Idaho, New Mexico and Alaska].

Muir had similar adversaries. A naturalist and explorer of nature, his favorite wildernesses were in northern California, and it is there that his perseverance eventually paid off.

His activism was instrumental in saving swathes of western wilderness which eventually became the National Parks of Yellowstone, Yosemite Valley and Sequoia NP. The Sierra Club, which he founded in 1892, is now the most important (and vociferous) conservation organization in the United States.

His essays, letters and books have been read by millions.

At first, however, his petitions to conserve large areas of natural beauty were ignored. In the USA, it was a time of railroad expansion, the explosion of large cities, and big business in politics and in agriculture.

In his opinion, the high Sierras and other wild mountainscapes were being ravaged by livestock grazing (especially sheep, which he termed ‘hoofed locusts’). He personally spent weeks, sometimes months, in this high country, documenting and writing about the need to allow areas of such magnificence protection from grazing and (by analogy, its later counterpart,) the human and vehicular footprint.

He was persistent and he was inspired. The wild nature of California captivated him, from his first moment of exposure to its awesome grandeur.

Yosemite by Ansel Adams

“We are in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us” John Muir

He had, after all, grown up in rural (but ‘tamed’) Scotland, where the wildcat was close to extinction, where wild boar no longer existed outside zoos, and where in his grandfather’s time a royal patron, King George I (‘Big Geordie’), had commissioned a granite bridge over a tributary of the River Dee at Invercauld, so he could be wheeled from Ballater to the hide to shoot; and where, incidentally, he is credited with killing Scotland’s last wolf in 1722.

Muir saw huge vistas of the Cairngorms, Deeside, Donside and the Ladder Hills have their natural tree populations annihilated by sheep, deer and rabbit. He dreamed of a world that might be otherwise.

Grandeur of Yosemite inspired Muir's lifelong work for wilderness

Muir arrived in San Francisco in 1868, and immediately set out to spend a solitary week in Yosemite. He later built a cabin there, where he lived for three years. For months at a time he would wander alone in the wilderness, making notes, carrying ‘only a tin cup, a handful of tea, a loaf of bread, and a copy of Emerson.’ It is here that he and his correspondent-in-Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson eventually met in 1871; Emerson traveling from Harvard to meet the man who lived the life he merely wrote about. His visit lasted only one day, but he promised assistance, and offered Muir a teaching position at the prestigious university, which Muir declined. ‘My work is here’, he said.

In 1872, the first National Park was created by federal legislation, on the strength of Muir’s efforts, at Yellowstone, Wyoming. It was to be the precursor of many others in the continental United States, including a total of nine national parks, now administered within the State of California by the National Parks service.

After his meeting with Emerson and over the following twenty years, Muir gathered, collated and compiled volumes of data on geology, natural history and plant and animal life populations of the Sierras. He envisioned Yosemite and the Sierra mountain range as pristine lands where original wildlife might roam, breed and proliferate, unimpeded by artificial (human) regulation. It was a difficult concept to instill. And his vision suffered throughout his life, wherever conflict surfaced between wilderness and ‘business.’

In one respect he was visionary, in doggedly hounding US Congress, and in writing for pro-conservationist magazines and organizations.

‘“Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts, and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.”


In 1873 and 1874, he made field studies along the western flank of the Sierra Nevada, on the distribution and ecology of isolated groves of Giant Sequoia, one of the few redwood groves left in the world in virgin stands. In 1876, the American Association for the Advancement of Science published Muir’s paper on the subject. In his personal essays, however, he valued nature for its spiritual and transcendental qualities.

Mount Whitney, at 14,500ft, the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail

His work inspired countless Americans, whose culture at the time was focused on the growing phenomenon of sky-scraper building and nationwide travel. He got them out of cities and back to nature. His work inspired photographers like Ansel Adams, painters such as Bierstadt, Jorgensen and Virgil Williams and he might even be seen as the father of the naturalist movement ‘EarthFirst‘. In the words of his biographer Steven Holmes:

“Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world.”

John Muir in 1907 - wildman to the end

In 1903, after an inspirational (but chilly) night in a tent at Glacier Point with President Teddy Roosevelt, whom Muir was invited to take ‘to the wilderness’, the President rearranged bureaucratic legislation, and consolidated the boundaries of Yosemite, which had been split and decimated for earlier conflicting ‘business interests.’

Many wilderness areas are named after him: from Muir Woods and Muir Beach in Marin County, north of San Francisco, to the 211-mile John Muir Trail, which runs from Yosemite through King’s Canyon NP and Sequoia National Park, to the 14,500-ft peak of Mount Whitney in central California. A glacier in Alaska bears his name. He was instrumental not only in establishing the structure which became National Parks, but in the resulting expansion of National Forests, including areas with protected ‘Reserve’ status. In addition, State Parks now proliferate throughout the US. California, alone, has twelve regions of state parks (CSPs) administering 278 parks on 1.4 million protected acres.

So, what has happened in the bigger picture?

John Muir would be delighted to know that in 1964, the US government passed the Wilderness Act, to protect around nine million acres of wilderness. Arbor Day was traditionally a celebration conceived in the midwestern state of Nebraska (a treeless zone), as a springtime event to encourage the young to plant a tree. And two Earth Days appeared on the American calendar–one ratified by the United Nations and celebrated on equinox, March 21st–when both hemispheres receive equal amounts of light and dark and when the sun appears to stand directly overhead on the equator; the other, April 22nd, has gradually superseded Arbor Day; their celebrations now interchangeable.

Recently, with the advent of the blog, acceleration of internet communication and a focus on Earth-related activities, New Earth consciousness, Earth Day has expanded into ‘Earth Week‘. That, too, would please Muir.

But what of his homeland? the sheep-munched treeless wilderness of northern Scotland?

Cairngorm National Park

Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003, the largest of 12 national parks in Britain at 1400 square miles, literally 10% of the landmass of Scotland. Stretching from Grantown-on-Spey (north) to Glen Clova in Angus (south) and from Ballater on Deeside in Aberdeenshire (east) to Laggan and Dalwhinnie (Aviemore) on the A9 (west). Its supporters describe great vistas, mountainous peaks (all less than 4000ft) and the Tourist Board of Scotland heralds it a shelter for a quarter of Scotland’s threatened species, and home to 25% of its native trees.

That in itself is disturbing.

Its ‘Angus glens’ the ‘haunt of red deer and golden eagle’; ‘heather moor vivid with summer color’, and ‘wild tundra of high mountain tops’ tell the story.

Every last vestige of hunting forest put to the torch by Robert Bruce, 1308

Brief historical recap: in the early 14th century, Robert the Bruce murdered his (Comyn) rival for the throne of Scotland and pursued his son through the hunting forests of Aberdeenshire until he cornered him in his coastal Buchan fortress and – having proclaimed himself monarch – confiscated what was left of Comyn lands. On the ‘royal’ progress north, every last indigenous native Caledonian pine was either burned to the ground or used as live torches to light the way of the conquering army. This deliberate extinction of the species–and the wildlife it harbored–was Bruce’s way of destroying the Comyn hunting forests, themselves a symbol of wealth and source of self-regenerating food and fuel supply. His act (colloquially called the ‘Herschip o’ Buchan’, harrying of Comyn lands in Buchan) totally changed the face of Aberdeenshire, from which it has never recovered.

What Robert Bruce’s actions created – a treeless raised beach from the Grampian mountains to the sea – was not replanted. Except for small pockets on landed estates where tree regeneration was encouraged, an agricultural zeal took over the desolate wasteland, capitalizing on open countryside with few obstructions.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Highland estates cleared out their resident employees–crofters–to make way for agricultural innovation: turnips and sheep. While these ‘clearances’ were more specific to Caithness, Sutherland and the western portions of Scotland, some effects were felt in what is now the Cairngorms National Park. Where sheep were introduced, trees died; were not replanted; not allowed to regenerate. Where deer population had been nurtured and maintained in small numbers in remnant natural forests, for hunting, with the exit of human monitors, they overpopulated and devastated their own environment.

Thus, the Tourist Board’s ‘heather moor with vivid summer color’ and ‘wild tundra’.

Tree planting has begun again in the agricultural hinterland

The tourist brochure’s proclaiming its 1400 sq.miles as “harboring one quarter of the nation’s native trees” is also misleading. One tenth of the landmass containing one quarter of the nation’s pine, birch, aspen and alder? sounds a little drastic. Especially if compared with John Muir’s Yellowstone. Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, or 3.5 thousand square miles, has more trees per acre than all of Scotland put together. It is true that Aberdeenshire, a region half the size of Switzerland, still has fewer indigenous trees than it should–for its kindly climate–support. But that number is growing: private plantations are beginning to take hold again.

The good news is the story of Glen Affric: and Trees for Life. This Scots charity has gradually (through donation) been purchasing 600 square miles of ancient Caledonian remnant forest west of Inverness, and has begun the mammoth task of replanting original species of oak, alder, Caledonian pine, juniper, birch and rowan (mountain ash).

Regeneraton of Caledonian pine -- a rewarding task

While their goal is not to service the forestry industry, but rather to provide habitat for original animal, insect and plant subspecies, (with the possible future reintroduction of wild boar and wolf being tentatively suggested), the group recognize that some felling and forestry operations may be appropriate.

‘We envision our work to restore the Caledonian Forest as not only helping to bring the land here back to a state of health and balance, but also having global relevance, as a model for similar projects in other countries.’

Other small parcels–once adjacent to hillfarms, and escaping the ‘set-aside’ agricultural brainstorms of the 1980s–were maintained by individuals, and planted with pines, which are now starting to look mature.

John Muir would indeed be proud of his ancient heritage and the inspiration it has given new groups to start again.

Old growth 1000-year old redwoods felled in early 19thC lumber operations

The best news, however, is back in California.

In Muir’s time, after the (1848) Gold Rush, California was inundated with new immigrants. His beloved trees came under great threat. In the 1880s four hundred sawmills north of San Francisco were churning out lumber from felled redwood giants–a process which accelerated after the 1906 earthquake–in a need for timber to rebuild the city. In 1920, however, the Save the Redwoods League began purchasing groves that would become the backbone of California’s redwoods parks. It continues adding to this day.

In the 1950s–the post-war boom–lumber mills were cutting in excess of one billion board-feet of timber per year, a level maintained until the mid-1970s, when clear-felling vast acreage of virgin trees was still allowed.

…Until science and sense stepped in.

Science argued, but the battle was won by 1990s tree-sitters, those brave souls who camped out in makeshift treetop platforms while Caterpillars, chainsaws and chokesetters bumped and strained and devastated beneath them.

To explain:

Old growth virgin redwoods now protected in State and National Parks

In 1905, the Murphy family started Pacific Lumber, believing that by leaving some of their old growth redwoods standing, they could sustain an industry, well into the 21st century. But Pacific Lumber was purchased (by hostile takeover) in 1985, by Houston-based Maxxam, and clear-felling became the norm. Like the Amazon rainforest, Maxxam were clear-cutting eighty acres of California redwoods at a time–eating into the company’s (and the State’s) last remaining virgin stands. When CEO Charles Hurwitz attempted to clear-cut the largest remaining block of old growth redwood, in Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County, in 1990, tree-sitters — ‘Forest Defenders’ — scaled remaining giants the size of a Boeing 707, and moved in.

They were supplied food and refreshment by allies via pulleys, by night, their hoists and ropes removed and burned by loggers, by day. Tempers ran high; lives were lost; protesters murdered. But State legislature listened and stepped in.

Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.

The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only ‘table scraps’ left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’

Sequoia sempervirens, redwoods as big as a Boeing 707

Growing trees like a crop of grain is no longer the enlightened view. Scientists from HSU have discovered that the older the redwood, the harder and more disease-resistant is the wood, and the tougher its ability to withstand weathering, damage; i.e. you get more value out of one 1000-year old tree than a thousand 10-year olds. Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion (skid trails) and consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks which leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees, along streams and rivers, and salmon and other fish are returning.

They are on target to create new forests (in one hundred years) like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks. Muir is by now roaring with delighted laughter in his (redwood) coffin.

So, when they ask you ‘what did you do for Arbor Day, Mummy or in Earth Week, Daddy?’ it may no longer be adequate to say you took the dog for a walk or raked leaves off the driveway. With renewed focus on the Earth, a show of determination coming from youth groups and in education, we may be inspired to show our ability to replenish, regenerate and restore parts of our planet we’ve been gifted as custodians, to bring back to life.

During Earth Week at least, the gardener in us is being asked to wake up.
©2010-2012 Marian Youngblood

April 23, 2010 Posted by | authors, calendar customs, culture, environment, gardening, history, nature, New Earth, organic husbandry, seasonal, sun, trees | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments