The May 30th AVA contained an article describing the bureaucratic mess one person went through dealing with the Coastal Commission after winter weather blew a tree over; leaving a hole in the ground that needed filling. The regulatory run-around the article’s author experienced with the Coastal Commission cost an untold amount of time and exasperation as well as thousands of dollars.
That’s a case of regulation run amok. The June 13th River Views mentioned that Mendocino Redwood Company had started falling redwood and fir in a timber harvest plan extending within a couple hundred feet of this house. The closest trees cut will act as tailholds for cable logging across the steep banks of McKay Gulch. Those cables will hang over the road I walk and drive on when I travel to the river bottom section of the Macdonald Ranch, which contains dozens of fruit trees, grasslands, and a small herd of cattle. There is also a full-sized redwood toppled to the ground by winter storms on the grassland near the river. It will be removed without any regulatory assistance, to become firewood. The next time the Albion floods its banks the stump hole will be filled in by Mother Nature. All regulatory agency questions should be addressed to her.
On the other hand, some regulations are needed. The earlier River Views column noted that Mendocino Redwood Co. made no mention of their logging cables traveling over the road I walk and drive on. Only after I called Cal Fire was an amendment added to MRC’s timber harvest plan. The amendment supposedly states that warning signs will be posted at a safe distance north and south alongside the road while cable yarding operations are active.
On the morning of June 19th, around 10:30 a.m., a good-sized Doug fir crashed earthward across the aforementioned road. A little while later another fell on the road a few hundred feet to the south. Each fir was accompanied by a tangle of smaller redwood, fir and madrone trees. The trees felled were to become tailholds or to open up the cable corridor. The end result: the road down to the river is impassable, covered with trees in two places. There was no notice given about the felling of these trees. I would not have walked or driven in an area with chainsaws running, but only unforeseen delays kept me from driving down the hill just minutes before the chainsaws started up. I had planned to water a fledgling pear tree and check on the cattle at 10 a.m. Presumably my pickup truck would still be down at the riverside because phone calls to Mendocino Redwood Company’s Albion area forester indicated that the trees across the road would not be removed by cable for ten days. I’m not much inclined to legalese jargon, but there does exist a judgment of the Mendocino County superior Court that specifically states that I have the right to use this road “for travel by foot, animal and ordinary vehicles for all purposes incidental to the use of the Macdonald Property.”
A mile downriver Mendocino Redwood Co. has another timber harvest plan. The cable logging there spans the Albion River where canoes, kayaks and all sorts of watercraft travel. At no time during two weeks of cable logging were any warning signs posted for boaters.
Mendocino Redwood Co. sells lumber exclusively to Home Depot. Perhaps Home Depot needs to know about MRC’s lack of safety precautions when it comes to their neighbors and the public in general.