The most glaring loophole in California's regulation of logging practices has been the lack of a system for measuring logging's comprehensive, watershed-scale environmental effects. Such a system was supposed to be set up when the state's Forest Practice Act became law in 1973. But tragically, in the 42 years that followed nothing of significance has happened to establish a workable system to realize this goal. Meantime California's waters, air, soils, wildlife, and recreation values have steadily and sharply declined. Native salmon and trout populations have dropped to near–extinction levels.

For many years and over the course of numerous legal, legislative, and administrative initiatives, Forests Forever along with other organizations and activists has pursued meaningful reform of the state's forest practices. If you have written a letter or email or placed a call in the past, you have helped to convince key officials to design and fund these critical pilot projects.

Our foremost challenge has been to keep the timber industry from capturing the process and rendering it ineffective and a waste of time and money. Checks and balances must be set into place on the power of Big Timber to write its own rules. This is the public's money, after all– the public has every reason to expect a meaningful role in determining its use toward actual timber reform! Beyond issues of pilot project design and objectives, then, are concerns about the independence (from logging companies) of the process, its governance and transparency.

We stand at an historic crossroads in determining the conduct and regulation of logging in California. And where California leads in environmental policy, the world frequently follows. It is no exaggeration to say that our work here could have historically important consequences!

The deadline for public comments is Jan. 8, 2016, at 5 p.m. Send in your comments today!


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places