Controversy over logging Y-camp property
It's been years since San Mateo County has had a fight over logging in its redwood forests, but a proposal for a major timber harvest on 733 acres of the YMCA's Jones Gulch Camp near La Honda has neighbors and environmentalists up in arms.
To manage fire hazards and get some income, the San Francisco YMCA is applying to the California Division of Forestry (CDF) for a timber harvesting permit, in perpetuity, that will allow it to harvest 60 percent of redwoods and firs 18 inches or larger on slopes of up to 80 percent, every 15 years. Old-growth trees would be protected — with some exceptions.
Most of some 30 people who turned out to the only public hearing held by CDF, on August 17, opposed the plan.
La Honda activist Patty Mayall objected to the scale and duration of the plan. "It's such a large-scale plan," she said. "It's overly broad and has the potential to severely impact surrounding properties and creeks."
Ms. Mayall, who attended the camp at Jones Gulch and loved it, hopes the Y will consider a smaller-scale land stewardship plan that would provide for fire control and land management without such severe cutting. "I'm not against all timber harvest plans, but this is an unsustainable plan," she said.
In an action alert, the Committee for Green Foothills warned that CDF will be making its decision soon. It advised people to submit further comments by September 6.
Lennie Roberts of the Committee for Green Foothills urged the YMCA to work with the Peninsula Open Space Trust or the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to establish an easement that could protect the forest and provide some income to maintain the camp facilities.
Comments should be addressed to Leslie Markham, California Division of Forestry, 135 Ridgeway Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95401; faxed to 707-576-2608; or e-mailed to SantaRosaPublicComment@fire.ca.gov. All comments should refer to Plan #1-06NTMP-014-SMO.