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April 30, 2009
To: Cal Fire, Santa Rosa, California
From: Judge William A. Newsom (Retired)

Subject: 1-06NTMP-011SON (Bohemian Grove)

I write in opposition to the subject Timber Harvest Plan filed with your Department on behalf of Bohemian Grove.

This proposal, which asserts the need to cut annually over a million board feet of redwood trees - many of them old-growth - is purportedly based on considerations of fire-safety

It is well-recognized that redwood trees are among the most fire-resistant in existence. The whole proposal strikes me as a thinly disguised attempt by a very affluent group to increase its income by harvesting and selling one of the last 2 great stands of old-growth redwood trees in Northern California. It is, in my opinion, the ecological equivalent to the harvesting of the Armstrong Grove with its many Heritage redwoods.

This plan has been preceded by a campaign of intimidation and harassment of critics which I find both frightening and unprecedented. The background may be perused in the May issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

I hope the Department will resist, what I have no doubt, will be a massive campaign to turn this precious property into a permanent tree farm to benefit an association which is hardly in need of public subsidies.


From: Rich Fairbanks 
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:05 AM
To: santarosapubliccomment@ fire.ca.gov
Subject: 1-06NTMP-011SON (Bohemia grove)

I worked for the USDA Forest Service on various fire crews from 1972 through 1984.  From 1984 through 1992 I worked as a division supervisor, field observer, felling boss, and strike team leader on fires throughout the western United States.  I currently work in fire management planning and policy.   I read with some amazement that there is a proposal to cut overstory redwood and Douglas-fir to reduce fire hazard.  I am familiar with the redwood forests and I must say it does sometimes makes sense to treat surface and ladder fuels, especially if there is SOD present in the tanoak.  But cutting in the overstory will only reduce crown bulk density, not deal with surface and ladder fuels.  Most firefighters will identify the surface and ladder fuels as the critical fuels component in fire behavior.  Most firefighters will express skepticism about the efficacy of reducing crown bulk density in mature timber.  Most firefighters would laugh if you told them the crowns in question were redwood and Douglas -fir with an average canopy base height exceeding 50 feet.  Bohemia Club needs to hire fire management professionals and come up with a credible plan.


From: Congressman Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey and and Helen McCloskey
April 23, 2009

Re 1-06NTMP-011SON (Bohemian Grove NTMP)
Dear Calfire:

We write to oppose the application by the Bohemian Grove to log the property the Club owns in the manner it seeks.  It is our view that the current application  does not, by any means, reflect the best current scientific thinking on sustainable logging practices. Further, if approved, this excessive and ecologically insensitive approach will not be subject to revision. The levels of timbering of both the redwoods and the fir are significantly too high, and the rationale regarding fire suppression both misleading and disingenuous.

Given the size of the subject property, (larger than the Armstrong State Reserve,) its ecological assets, which impact beyond the borders of the property (two steelhead streams, habitat for at least two endangered species, carbon sequestration, overall importance of protecting existing natural lands, etc.) this application is of major regional importance. 

Because of its many significant flaws, misstatements, outdated approach, and the irrevocable nature of an approval, we strongly urge you to reject this application as it is currently submitted.

Congressman and Mrs. Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey

April 16, 2009

With the new NTMP (Non-industrial Timber Harvet Plan) now submitted to the Calif. Dept. of Forestry a careful analysis of the 400 plus page document is underway by a number of experts. Here SBG's analysis.


April 16, 2009

Dear Decision Makers, I am a landowner in close proximity to the Bohemian Grove. I oppose turning the Bohemian Grove into a continuous logging operation. This property contains the largest stands of unprotected old growth redwoods and Douglas fir on the Lower Russian River. The Bohemian Grove will undoubtedly be designated as a National Park in the not too distant future. The American taxpayers are getting fed up with special treatment accorded to the wealthy. This area is a National Treasure and should be managed as a Park. Thank you for your time and attention.

A Monte Rio Citizen

January 3, 2009
Yet another expert opinion (this one from Dr. Rick Parfitt) that the Club's Grove Plan will not reduce fire danger (emphasis added)

"I believe based upon historical records, recent fires and the opinions of nationally recognized fire scientist that the proposed Bohemian Grove NTMP will not decrease the wildfire risks to: property, homes and people in and around the proposed logging area. In fact, there is a greater likelihood that the NTMP will increase the risks from future wild fires" (READ MORE)

A recent back and forth series of Letters To The Editor (of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat) was touched off by Steve Baxman's letter in support of the Club's harvest plans. Baxman's letter was answered by Rick Coates of Forest Unlimited and the Bohemian Club responded. Coates and others counter-responded. These letters show clearly how The Bohemian Club frames their arguments and the responses from the environmentalist community.

April 9, 2008
Original Letter from Steve Baxman entitled "Clearing Forests; Saving Lives"

April 16, 2008
Response by Rick Coates of Forest Unlimited
Response by Rick Coates With Rebuttals from Bohemian Club in Bold

April 15, 2008
Counter-Response by Jay Holcomb (Sierra Club Redwood Chapter) and John Hooper

John Hooper's detailed and substantive letter (without attachments) to Jay Mancini, President of The Bohemian Club suggesting a meeting. Mancini never responded