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6/11/08
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rhetoric versus Reality
A fact sheet about the Bohemian Club’s logging plan (1-06NTMP-011SON)


The Bohemian Club quotes are taken from Bohemian Club President Jay Mancini and Grove Superintendent Joel Butler’s recent letters

The Bohemian Club says:

The NTMP is designed to …protect life and property in the event of a catastrophic fire. The fire hazard in the Grove is severe due to the densely stocked second growth stands of redwood and Douglas fir.

Scientists say:

Even if logging could possibly lead to some reduction in fire hazard, I can find no evidence of an analysis capable of supporting this conclusion...If the owners of the Bohemian Grove are concerned about fire and fuel hazards, there are legitimate treatments that can be taken to produce the intended effects. These treatments will generally consist of surface fuel removal, removal of shrubs, and possible trees with foliage that is low enough to ignite from a surface fire. This plan is little more than a strategy for extracting commercially valuable products from the forest.”
Mark A. Finney, Fire Sciences Laboratory, US Forest Service.

The Bohemian Club says:

We will reduce the fire danger by decreasing the high number of redwoods and Douglas fir per acre and by creating gaps in the overall canopy.

Scientists say:

It is only when these forests are thinned and light openings are present in the canopy that flammable shrubs and tanbark oak can invade these stands. As a result, fire intensity, the spread rate of fire, and flame lengths will be much higher after timber harvest than if these stands were left in their natural state. This is clearly a logging project, not a project to reduce fire hazard.
Philip Rundel, Distinguished Professor of Biology, UCLA

The Bohemian Club says:

All of these prudent actions will serve to create greater biodiversity and wildlife habitat and retain many of the larger second growth trees throughout the property.

Scientists say:

The NTMP…creates a much younger forest in which smaller and more widely spaced trees predominate. This is hardly a prescription for creating a late seral, old growth forest. In fact, it retards the achievement of such conditions...the NTMP’s removal of most of the older, larger and denser stands will have a deleterious effect on wildlife, and the proposed mitigations are not adequate to compensate for the loss of this forest type.
Reginald H. Barrett, Goertz Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Management, UC Berkeley and a certified Wildlife Biologist

The Bohemian Club says:

We have sought the advice of a number of outside forest and fire experts.

Scientists say:

It strikes me that the advice being given to the landowner committee and the forester is outdated, out of touch with current scientific literature regarding coastal redwood ecology and will be responsible for a shift in management direction that is completely out of sync with the stated desired goals.” Gregory A. Guisti, forest advisor, UC Cooperative extension

The only named “expert” the Bohemian Club has mentioned (see Bohemian Club Library Notes, summer 2006: “Forest Management at the Grove” by Ralph Osterling) is Dr. Thomas Bonnicksen, who according to Osterling’s article, made a study of the Grove in 2005. In the fall of 2006, Bonnicksen was the subject of an open letter signed by several prominent academics. The letter stated, in part:” Dr Bonnicksen’s unusual theories of forest structure and stability, expressed many years ago, were never widely accepted…Dr. Bonnicksen’s views and misrepresentations of factual material, as well as his academic credentials, should be labeled for the political views that they are and not presented as serious science.”

The Bohemian Club says:

We have been good stewards of the grove for more than 100 years…As in the past, we will continue to reinvest all proceeds in to maintenance of our roads and forests.

Reality:

The plan for the Bohemian Grove timber harvest is a hard industrial model – removal of slower growth trees, removal of “competing” non-conifer trees, herbicide use to enforce stand composition changes, maximization of growth and harvest and development of a heavy permanent road system. Don Erman, Professor Emeritus of Ecology, UC Davis

Since the modern era of commercial logging at the Grove started in the early 1980s at a rate of 500,000 board feet per year, some eleven million board feet of redwood and Douglas fir have been removed from the property, including significant old growth and involving the occasional use of clearcutting. The road and logging skid trail system has more than doubled in miles, has fragmented formerly contiguous stands of forest and continues, to this day, to cause erosion problems on the property.


The Bohemian Club says:

The amount of net acreage of forest clearly falls below 2500, the threshold for the granting of an NTMP.

Reality:

The Director of the California Department of Forestry wrote to Assemblywoman Patty Berg (in whose district the Grove is located) on November 2, 2007: “At this point, additional work is needed to determine the gross ownership acreage before a determination can be made relative to the larger question of whether or not the Bohemian Grove timberland ownership is under the 2500 acre threshold.”


The Bohemian Club says:

We will be able to harvest up to approximately 1.1 million board feet annually of our second growth conifer forest. Because we plan to remove less timber than will grow back, our NTMP will meet a sustainable objective…

Scientists say:

The Bohemian Club NTMP inflated its growth and yield tables by including areas which will never be cut, including the 107-acre Main Grove and now (although not originally disclosed by the Bohemian Club) the Bull barn and Upper Hollow Tree (Grande Dame) old growth stands. See Professor Philip Rundel, UCLA, letter

According to the California Department of Forestry, the Grove’s forester will be resubmitting revised growth and yield tables to meet a sustainable harvest level.

 

The Bohemian Club has stated (variously):

Original 2006 draft NTMP: “The property contains no unique or special values.”
Revised 2007 draft NTMP: “The property contains no unique or special values, with the exception of the 107 acre main old growth grove.”
Jay Mancini’s October 23, 2007 letter to club members: “Approximately 143 acres constitutes areas with Old Growth Redwood trees. “
Joel Butler’s December 14, 2007 letter to local residents: “Approximately 163 acres constitutes areas of Old Growth Redwood trees.

Reality:

The above sequence of quotes summarizes the Bohemian Club’s ongoing foot-dragging in disclosing important information about the nature of the Bohemian Grove to the responsible agencies. More than any other factor, this failure by the Bohemian Club to disclose important information about the property has slowed down the review process. At this point, the responsible agencies have identified nineteen stands and patches of old growth conifers on the property.

The Bohemian Club says:

Large patches of tanoak are a fire danger.

Reality:

Removal or thinning of dense stands of tanoak, and possibly other understory hardwoods or shrubs, is a legitimate fire hazard reduction measure on several places on the property. No permit from the Department of Forestry is needed to remove and process tanoak trees, and the club has, in fact, been thinning tanoak along River Rd, above Forepeak Camp and in other areas since 2005. So this issue is being addressed without objection and is not related to whether or not the Bohemian Club obtains a permit to cut redwood and fir trees. It is worth noting that the club started spraying a herbicide called Arsenal at a rate of 70 acres per year in 2005, and this activity may be aggravating the problem of tanoak mortality and associated fire danger.

 

For more information, please call John Hooper, Coordinator,
Bohemian Redwoods Rescue Club 415-626-8880.

 

3/15/08
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bohemian Club trying to convince membership in effort to salvage its logging proposal

There appears to be growing concern among Bohemian Club members over the wisdom of logging its Bohemian Grove property. Over the past couple of months, Club president, Jay Mancini, accompanied by Club forester and logging proponent Ralph Osterling have invited key Bohemian Club members in for private briefings to explain the Club’s troubled logging plan and calm the waters within the club.

The Bohemian Club Board of Directors has also invited Thomas M. Bonnicksen, a major supporter of the Bush Administration's Healthy Forest Initiative, to address the Club membership on Tuesday, March 25 at the Bohemian Club's 624 Taylor St. facility in San Francisco. The talk will begin at 4PM.

Simultaneously, the Bohemian Club is making a big push for final approval of its plan to log more than one million board feet per year of redwood and Doug fir from its Bohemian Grove property. A hearing on its proposed NTMP (Non Industrial Timber Management Plan: 01-06NTMP-011SON) is tentatively set for Thursday, March 27th at the CA Dept of Forestry office in Santa Rosa, although the Club has yet to submit final changes to its proposal, allegedly still being reviewed by Bohemian Club attorney Wayne Whitlock. For the latest from CDF, call 707-576-2942.

Local activists, scientists and environmentalists have successfully blocked the plan for two years for its failure to meet sustained yield requirements; for its failure to disclose important old growth stands on the property and for the damage the proposed plan would cause to important wildlife habitat.

The 2700-acre Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio on the Russian River includes the largest acreage of old growth redwoods in Sonoma County, twice as large, for example, as the old growth component in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve just up the river outside Guerneville.

For more information, please call John Hooper, Coordinator,
Bohemian Redwoods Rescue Club 415-626-8880.

Press Release
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