Home > Richardson Grove > Rooting for the trees

Rooting for the trees

Trinidad resident Stan Binnie notes some contradictions between Cal-Trans and science when it comes to the Richardson Grove highway project in Saturday’s Times-Standard:

In Richardson Grove State Park, just feet from where the road project is proposed, there are signs that say: “AREA CLOSED TO PROTECT ROOTS.” And another nearby sign says: “Ironically, one of the greatest threats to a redwood’s longevity comes from well-intentioned humans. Continuous foot traffic compacts the soil around a tree, damaging its network of fine surface roots and restricts their intake of water and nutrients. For this reason, visitors are asked to stay on designated paths.” How is it that there is concern about foot traffic damaging the roots of ancient redwoods but there seems to be little concern over heavy equipment crushing their roots or the fact that the project will require the cutting, filling and compacting of soil over their delicate root systems.

Binnie also quotes HSU’s redwood expert Steve Sillit:

“I have studied redwoods for many years, and my repeated observations of large redwoods near construction sites have convinced me that cutting large roots is a BAD IDEA if maintaining tree health and vigor is a goal.”

Darn scientists!

  1. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Ahhh armchair scientists. Gotta love ’em. They make all sorts of crazed assumptions to reinforce their preexisting beliefs. Real scientists set out to prove themselves wrong. Perhaps Mr. Binnie could give it a try.

  2. Fred
    February 13, 2011 at 5:58 am

    The irony of that My Word piece being that trees that have lived right next to the road for decades are still there and seem to be healthy which brought us the need for the realignment in the first place. And I’m sure they’re doing more to protect the trees in the realignment than when the road was first put through the grove, yet the trees still stand.

  3. Goldie
    February 13, 2011 at 6:25 am

    What causes the redwoods that have no branches on top to be that way? I have looked for damage to trees along the roads and sometimes I see trees that seem to be dying on top.

  4. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 6:47 am

    obviously fred is not realizing a two-lane highway built 60+ years ago does not equate to cal trans plans for the future

  5. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 6:53 am

    most commonly trees dieing on top is the result of a lack of nutrient bearing water reaching the top of the tree. other causes such as disease and lightning strikes can also result in the lack of healthy vegetation at the top of trees. capillary action is the method employed by trees to move water vertically up the trunk and outward to the branch tips. capillary action begins where water enters the tree, the roots

  6. February 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I love the comment about the “Area closed to protect roots.” It reminded me of the first time I ever camped at Richardson Grove. About 11 p.m., I got out of the tent and trotted to the bathroom. I arrived back at the campsite to find that some gung-ho LEO Ranger had drug my poor sleeping wife out of the tent and was rudely interrogating her in her pajamas in the headlights of his truck. Our crime? Apparently, we had set our tent up slightly outside the “approved radius” of the camp site, which we were brusquely informed was “deleterious to the old growth root system.” I’ll spare you the ugly confrontation and the pointless calls to worthless Eel River Sector Park supervisors that followed. What I do find it interesting is that the staff at the Grove felt it was so important to hassle sleeping campers in the middle of the night because of those root zones; now suddenly the root zones don’t seem to matter when there’s a multi-million dollar “road realignment” project at stake.

  7. Plain Jane
    February 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Redwood trees also absorb water from fog and there has been less of it in recent years.


  8. February 13, 2011 at 7:09 am

    obviously fred is not realizing a two-lane highway built 60+ years ago does not equate to cal trans plans for the future.

    When they built the highway 60+ years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind they didn’t take anywhere near the precautions with the trees that Caltrans is planning on with the small amount of work they’re planning. The trees are still there and seem healthy enough.

    Heck, we can even drive cars through redwood trees and they seem to do ok:

  9. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Convincing argument. Does anyone know if CalTrans looked into the possibility of building up the road prism without cutting into the tree roots?

  10. Ponder z
    February 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

    So the trees with blacktop over 40% or their roots are dead? They look pretty solid to me. Time to remove some of these trees to fix the road. I can save eleven seconds off my yearly trip south. And fifty two foot trailers will legally bring new stuff to Wallymart. The science of the opposition is flawed, feelgood sierra club save the rainforest hype. All these trees are second growth age. If the trees are so sensitive, has anyone looked at the damage Buttholefly did to her host tree? The big trees are in parks and protected. Take a hike sometime. But stay off the roots fucktards.

  11. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Some trees are in protected zones and some are not.

  12. Decline to State
    February 13, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Sometimes when “scientists” are telling you what you want to hear you listen and quote them. Sometimes when “scientists” are telling you things you don’t want to hear you don’t. Sometimes “scientists” don’t agree with other “scientists.” There is no god called “science.”

    Just because Bennie and Sillit know more about this issue than I do doesn’t make them necessarily right…but still I can’t help but notice (35+ years in the timber industry) that there are a lot of dying redwoods down slope of the road on the 101 corridor in the Avenue of the Giants area.

  13. February 13, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Fred’s making a logical point.

  14. Steak n Eggs
    February 13, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Well said Decline to State.
    More BS from the ultra-minority who cannot move on. Better yet, from some Socal newbie who is going to save us from ourselves.

  15. Defender of Mother Earth
    February 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I have it on good authority that not a single CalTrans worker is using the sacred power of healing crystals while they do their construction work! This is an outrage! Our trees are doomed!

  16. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Is it “scientific” to ask: whatever happened to all the virgin Old Growth trees that died BEFORE humans resided hereabouts? I mean, look at any “preserved” redwood groves (the ones that were saved from the axe). Notice how some of the trees are big and old, while others are middle-aged, and some youngsters are in the stand? Isn’t that evidence that many old trees have died? If these trees died, and not from the axe, how is that they died? Don’t you think even old redwood trees die? If it lives, it dies. I would rather see some blog posts showing concern for old growth humans. When was the last time you visited some shut-in older human? Be sure to stay off their roots.

  17. Bolithio
    February 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

    The way I understood it, the real ecological reason to keep thousands of tourists off of the forest floor is to promote understory vegetation – which is noticeably absent in most heavily trampled areas.

    And when the highways were originally built, I guarantee you there was NO consideration of protecting near-by trees.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

    How is it that developers are forced to not be able to develop an extra lot or two because CDS and other agencies come in and say humans will destroy the indigenous/native habit area. Then, the mitigations are done where delineation lines are drawn to coincide with elevations on record to point out the no-enter zone. Then, the parcel map and development map will show the “off-limits boundaries” as well. Then, CDS will fill out gubbamint fascist paperwork to say that the mitigated portions of the land are protected (on paper that is and only until the unit is sold – see, it is about tax collections and restrictions even if it means nothing after the unit is signed off).

    Then, the homeowner moves in, cuts native indigenoues habitat down while pulling faces and saying it was mother natures windstorm that allowed the opportunity to go into the “off-limits area” to not only cut-up the tree, but to trample all over the habit around the tree because the aggravated and malicious intent was to destroy by concealing how through typical “pulled-faces” cop-out reasonings that are only mentioned because the one using the diatribe knows they done wrong. The sad part is the CDS will not seek prosecution willingly when crud like this by future homeowners is dicovered and complained about. Why? The answer lies somewhere in the shorts of whomever gets the crapola for fraudulantly filing paperwork that goes unmaintained and unregulated after-the-fact, again. Yes, when these kinds of agreements are made between developer and gubbamint fascists, don’t expect much follow-up on violations unless it is someone the jurisdiction is itching butt frack.

    …..and just like Stan Binnie mentions about foot-traffic, maybe the reason for the sign’s verbage is simply garbage and other impacts as a reason to put up such signage – after all, fascist gubbamint will write, say and do anything to get what IT WANTS AS A CONTROL MECHANISM. Maybe foot traffic does not trample the roots, but maybe foot traffic tramples other habitat around and between the roots. Mankind has always been an adventurer and a traveler with or without roads, paths and trails. So, I am not surprised by the types of reasongs used as justifications that only contradict future manipulations of words on paper that really mean jack schit.


    February 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Not that is has not been mentioned, yet; but, a road over roots will HELP disallow uplift of those roots in a heavy wind storm as the extra weight and mass of the road infrastructure weighs down on the top soil even heavier when considering uplift forces – time to look at engineering calculations for load bearings like building a multi-structure building…..On the flip, road coverings change how he roots receive water and other nutrients.

    Fred – you make a great case in point AGAIN about human history; and, I bet less people had a problem thenwith the grove than they do now, but, population growths and patterns are also increased, so I dunno how much of a difference then and now really is.

    Good point though nonetheless.


  20. February 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Binnie’s comment about compacting the roots is a crock of crap and totally contradicted by the highway that’s been compacting the roots of old-growth trees since the highway was constructed. Binnie’s BS about protecting Richardson Grove’s trees is a cover for his real agenda. You can read what that is here. How is it that Humboldt Herald did SEE the OBVIOUS CONTRADICTIONS? Kudos to Fred! At least one observant, free thinker. Darn Bullshit Bloggers – Heraldo!

  21. Bolithio
    February 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

    There are redwood trees along the 101 with dead tops. Is it because of the road damaging the roots? There is no comprehensive study that I know of that addresses this. We can only discuss our observations. Since this issue came up, I have tried to observe the trees near the highway looking for dying or dead-topped trees. You all should do the same.

    I have noticed that I can see dead-topped trees all throughout the old growth stands along the rivers. With the exception of two areas along the 101 where there were massive cuts to build the highway, it does not appear that the highway, or other roads are harming the trees. In the areas of concentrated dead-tops, I think it is reasonable to hypothesize the highway construction potentially altered groundwater availability in the vicinity of significant earthwork.

    There are significantly more examples of healthy trees very close to roads vrs dead ones. The drive into bull creek towards Rockefeller Grove is one of the best examples where the road is very much on top of the root system, and there is no real evidence that the road is impacting trees adversely. Go drive it and look.

    There are hundreds of more examples like this. But perhaps this one is the best.
    In 1938:

    and again, approximately 60-70 years later:

    By now, any guesses on how many cars have driven over this trees roots? What about the parking lot right there, or the other trees near-by? See any dead tops or stressed out trees?

    You can decide for yourself, but I reject the notion that redwoods are “fragile” or that they have “weak roots systems”. If they did, you really think that there would be 1,500-2000 year-old trees still standing?

  22. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

    California’s budget is a disaster, large trucks already pass through Richardson’s Grove, $10 million is better spent addressing the record pedestrian, cyclist and motorist accident and death rates in Eureka.

  23. February 13, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Sorry, Joe Blow, but to call Fred an “observant, free thinker” because he made a single correct observation is just giddy.

  24. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

    You just can’t help yourself, can you Joel. What a sad little man you are.

  25. February 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I’m not sad, but thanks for “little.”

  26. Derral Campbell
    February 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Goldie – Loggers call those “spike tops,” and generally it’s a sign the tree is dying, or at the end of its growth cycle. They can go on for decades without shutting down, however.
    I want to bring up the Arcata Plaza rebuild. I think it was back in the 90’s. Miller farms was going to fix a spring from making a muddy area, they were going to build a retaining wall around a tree. Miller Farms was accorded the deference given to industry experts, though the idea of building a concrete wall around a redwood seemed dicey. They were the pros, they were going to fix it up. Well the mud’s still there and the tree died. Is this comparable to claims being made in SoHum by Highway “experts?” We’ll see about 3 years after they’re done.

  27. Dot
    February 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    When they built 101 to bypass the Avenue of the Giants there was a lot of talk that having the clearing created by the highway would cause the Redwoods to die back from the road. Now 40+ years later, I cannot tell, but I don’t go that way too often and am driving so cannot really look. It appears they did not die back as was feared – but…
    Does anyone have stats/ did a study or? on this?

  28. February 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    As Dot and Fred pointed out, anecdotal evidence would indicate that the highway will not kill trees. I applaud people who love that section of 101, do not want to change it, and are willing to fight for it — hell, I’d be happy with a stop-light system that would effectively make it a one-way road — but I’m in favor of an efficient way to haul things.

  29. Bolithio
    February 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Does anyone have stats/ did a study or? on this?

    In a way yes. We have a solid photo record of the county which was flown 1-2 times per decade. There has been no dieing off effect. The funny thing is, if you look on the photos from 40+ years ago (1960s), you will undoubtedly notice that virtually the entire county is barren of trees.

  30. treesnstuff
    February 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    “Just because Bennie and Sillit know more about this issue than I do doesn’t make them necessarily right…”

    Our distrust of experts seems to be a theme in America. By God, we say, I’m just as smart and good as anyone else, so I don’t care what a scientist says, I think the trees will be fine because they look OK to me. Sillet is the foremost authority in the world on Coastal Redwoods. So, yes, when he says something like root systems will be harmed by the type of construction planned by Caltrans, his word carries more weight than all the people commenting on this thread combined. People who have studied a specific subject for decades and devoted their life to such study are experts on said subject. It’s just like if Oscar de la Hoya was going to train you as a boxer and you said, “No, I don’t want to throw as many jabs as you say I should because I’ve seen other boxers who throw very few jabs and they were successful.” When somebody is an expert on a topic you listen, instead of trying to find BS arguments to wiggle your way out of the truth and espouse your personal non-scientific agenda.

  31. treesnstuff
    February 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    @Joel Milke: Just out of curiosity, why is it important to you personally that Humboldt County has what you perceive to be a more “efficient way to haul things.” If that’s why you support the R Grove project, can you explain how you think having a more “efficient way to haul things” will benefit you personally? Do you think you will benefit by paying cheaper prices as a result of the project? Do you think you will benefit by shopping at new big box stores that come to the county? Do you think you will benefit from the overall economy improving? I ask because unless you are a local business owner whose shipping practices will be impacted by the project, I do not understand why you would feel as you do.

  32. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I agree treesnstuff. We should defer to scientists. I’ll defer not to Sillet, but to the scientists who have actually inspected the trees within the project area.

  33. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    David, how many times has Sillet cut root systems to study the effect on trees?

    Yeah, I thought so. You can sit down now.

  34. A-Nony-Mouse
    February 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Anonymous, you don’t know what Sillet has done or has studied, do you. Why do you blow so much smoke out your blowhole. When the guy who’s studied the trees gives an opinion, listen to him. Just like when the Cop tells you that you shouldn’t play in the street at rush hour, LISTEN to him! That’s why we have experts.

  35. A-Nony-Mouse
    February 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Sorry. Forgot the ????? marks above.

  36. PLUTO
    February 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I have always found it odd that so many ignorant individuals seem to think they are an expert about everything under the sun. I would not presume to tell a stock broker about his business nor do I claim expertise in this area. Why? Because I am NOT AN EXPERT in this area. Why would you not listen to a person such as Sillet. Listen and you may learn. But then one has remember how this area came to be. Logging. Not exactly an intellectual pursuit.

  37. Scott
    February 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I really don’t get what is driving this. The trucks go through now, but with some sort of waiver? If the widening is supposed to allow trucks that currently make their way through already, what is the issue? Do cattle trucks somehow have preference over Cypress Grove, Lost Coast Brew or Mad River Brew? Seems way too political. I’m (personal opinion here) sure the trees will be fine if this isn’t stopped. Redwoods are pretty frickin’ resilient.

  38. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    you don’t know what Sillet has done or has studied, do you.

    Eat your own words, dude. If the guy hasn’t studied the trees in the project area and the proposed work, he’s flying blind. You go right ahead and fly with a blind pilot. Crash and burn.

  39. pete
    February 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I could not find the Stan Binnie My word in Times Standard on line. Are they trying to ignore or bury this well written letter against the widening of Richardson Grove? They are editing opposing posts on their imposed Face Book blog. Did I miss it?

  40. treesnstuff
    February 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    @Anonymous 3:58: First off, nice handle… Sillet has studied redwoods all his life, so even if he never cut into root systems to see what would happen, he is an expert on redwoods and their life cycle. You would totally dismiss his expert opinion because he never chopped up roots to see what would happen? That makes no sense. Gee, what a wonder that Caltrans scientists say it won’t hurt the trees. Just like when Monsanto tells the people that PCBs won’t destroy the environment (whoops, later found out they did) or when the coal industry tells the people that coal ash isn’t toxic and mountaintop removal is not destroying the environment (whoops, turns out it’s poisoning rivers and coal ash dams like the one in Tennessee burst and inundate entire towns).

  41. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    David, you need to release yourself from conspiracy theories. CalTrans is now like Monsanto? Get some help.

    February 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Experts – sometimes, experts are incorrectly educated as if on purpose and/or by design …….. to fit a political agenda that is manifested by gubbamint and greed through the public education system for starters…..,ya know, that paper degree stuff that really does not match the job careers of so many graduates…..but hey, they got a little smarter about stuff and paid someone else darn good money to receive no future job guarantees that utilize such degrees obtained……. yet, it is ok though cuz big bad gubbamint “bails-out” those student loan default types like the banks, so it is kinda odd that many students turned future expert professionals moan and groan about wealth disparity when so many created debt for free cuz again, gubbamint fascists bail em out at the expense of non- default types in order to push job careers that are politicized …… which keeps gubbamint arguing for further expansionisms…..kinda the sweet deal though if your the future expert utilized by whatever sides involved in political issues/projects.

    Now, years of “in the field training and job experience” IS hands-on and priceless in a many ways …… so, what would people rather have, paper or a job….because having both paper and a matching job seem to be in low supply for college graduates these days. Could this mean more importance is applied to those current experts with degrees from many years ago who have, up until this point, been afforded the long term job opportunity to make the argument of being an expert based oin hands-on experiences and not in class studies that seem less and less of value in the job market?


  43. Toohey
    February 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Very much to do about not a lot. A trench a few feet wide dug and couple of feet deep has the whole county fighting itself. Who would have guessed the future would be so boring. Get cable please.

  44. February 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    No, the whole county isn’t fighting, just the usual suspects on the far ends of the spectrum, which is simply business as usual around these parts.

  45. David
    February 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    @Anonymous 7:30: OK, you’re right, I will get some help and release myself from conspiracy theories about Monsanto and the coal industry. Thank you for showing me the light oh nameless one.

  46. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    If the highway is widened, the trucks will spend less time on the road because they will be moving faster, hence they will put less pressure on the root systems of the trees. What would you people do without me???

  47. hazey
    February 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    We humans have made such a mess of this pretty planet. We have lost all sense of respect for our connection with nature. Our arrogance and stupidity are reflected in the sorry ways we treat each other. Look at the perpetual wars, abuse of children and women, racism, neglect of elders, greed.

  48. Anonymous
    February 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

    It is pointless to debate with the type of zealots like those who are protesting the Richardson Grove project. When people have the attitude that we are “murdering” trees, they are beyond the point of reason.

  49. Farmer
    February 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

    The re-route of the 101 around the Avenue of the Giants did cause crown die-back. It would appear that Dot and Joel don’t pay attention to things like that normally.

    It’s funny that Joel would suck up ideas like Freds armchair speculation, implying that his logic deals a crushing blow against the expertise of foremost Redwood researcher Steve Sillet.

    The road is perfectly fine as it is, slow traffic down, esp. big trucks, and traffic will be safer for all of us. Increase truck size and speed, and it will be more dangerous in the grove and on our highways.

    Big trees please, hold the cheese!

  50. PLUTO
    February 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I know people that grew up around Richardson Grove. About 3 years ago I asked them why there were dead trees and crown die off of the crowns of the trees along the highway. I was told that it was the road that had kept the roots from getting water. Also the roots were disturbed by the paving. I know trees are weakened in a grove when surrounding trees and other growth are removed. The trees protect each other from windstorms. A grove also hosts a variety of wildlife. The more we humans tamper with nature the more negative consequences we will suffer.

  51. Thirdeye
    February 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    The 101 crown die-back was due to the microclimate and water diversion effects of a new four lane road with a large median and large fills. Comparing that to a couple of curve re-radiusings through Richardson Grove is silly. Sillett hasn’t weighed in on the RG realignment. All we have is self-styled experts trying to claim his authority for their own flaky ideas.

  52. Bolithio
    February 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Can any of you explain why there is no damage, crown die-back or the like to the Chandelier tree after almost a century of heavy tourism traffic? (see post above for links to picture, then and now)

  53. Plain Jane
    February 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I’m no arborist, but it seems like gradually increasing traffic, like the Chandelier Tree experienced, would encourage roots to grow in areas not as heavily impacted so as the traffic increased in weight and volume, the roots which were “persuaded” to develop in less impacted soil would be able to nourish the tree even as the roots in the heavily impacted soil died. Every gardener knows roots will grow where it’s easiest and that’s where the water is too.

  54. tra
    February 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Some of this comes down to one side saying “prove to me that the proposed construction will harm the old-growth trees” and the other side saying “prove to me that the proposed construction will NOT harm the old-growth trees.”

  55. Cristina Bauss
    February 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Well, Reasonable, that’s pretty much what it’s going to come down to for the judge: which side needs to prove – or NOT prove – its argument.

    As for the questions about die-off in certain areas: no one has really studied this in depth. As Third Eye pointed out, a number of people believe that it’s due to water diversion, which is not planned for the RG project. EPIC will probably argue that because the cause of die-off near roads is unknown, the project is an unnecessary risk. Caltrans will probably counter that the apparent health of the trees in the grove, almost a century after the original road was constructed, negates said argument. Which takes us back to Reasonable’s totally reasonable and concise comment.

  56. Steak n Eggs
    February 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Its great to have a sense of responsibility to the environment. The thing is, humans are constantly impacting higher forms of life on a constant basis, and the majority of us do this with no second thought. However, we choose to only concern ourselves with a tiny percentage of species that we have given value to. Save the whale but kill the rat and so forth. Not to mention the countless animals that are much more complex than a redwood tree but are still considered “pests”.

    Richardson Grove Realignment is a case of “your impact” is hurting “my species”. But don’t worry about my impacts and your species because I don’t give a narcissistic shit. This is about me and my group and our values not yours. Hypocrites in need of an environmental ethics lesson.

  57. tra
    February 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Well Steak & Eggs,

    It’s certainly true that it’s easier to rally public support for certain animals that people like, and for awe-inspiring plants like old growth redwoods.

    But to be fair, it’s also true that environmentalists frequently get criticized for blocking projects due to little creatures that “no one cares about” like snail darters or for that matter the various native plants that get crowded out by invasive species.

  58. Redwood Expert
    February 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    It’s a scientific fact that disturbance of a redwood’s roots can cause mortality. Let’s start there, shall we?
    Now move on to the “Avenue of the Snags,” where ancient redwoods are dying by the dozen due specifically to trenching that has damaged their roots, and to disruption of water flows (either too much or too little).
    That’s a big issue with Richardson Grove. The “improvements” can kill the big trees, no doubt about that.
    Now let’s move on to the other big issue: Will allowing STAA trucks to access Humboldt County cause sprawl? Of course it will. And it won’t take much to ruin Humboldt County as we know it. Ever drive through Sonoma County? It’s hell, yes, you’ll agree on that, along the 101 corridor. Sonoma County has just over three times the population of Humboldt County, but its problems of congestion and pollution are at least 10 times what we face.
    So how many more people, and schlock shopping centers, will it take for Humboldt to slide down the irrecoverable path of industrial desolation that the market makers would have in store for us? Not many. It would happen and the economy would still suffer, because this type of development does not bring good jobs, but shit-paying service jobs. Get a clue, CPR dunderheads. (As for those of you who obviously have a clue and are simply playing the plebes for their undying support of your get-rich-at-the-expense-of-everyone-else schemes: We’re on to you!)

  59. Redwood Expert
    February 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    And Joel, such a Pollyanna response. “Get a clue!”

  60. Jacqbear
    February 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    AW just cut em all down. What a nusiance they are: catching on fire, dropping branches on houses and cars, preventing us from tromping around wherever we like, inhibiting the spread of civilization, increasing unemployment, causing arguments among us. The only thing trees are really good for is replenishing oxygen supply and thereby prolonging human existence. I’ve heard suffocation is like falling asleep except there’s no wake up in the morning. Not so bad really. I’m sure the smaller species think the planet will be better off without us; they pine for the days when this was paradise.

  61. neomoderate
    February 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Someone please explain to me how the only thing preventing Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Santa Rosa from arriving is STAA trucks? Seems to me Wal-Mart already tried once, and failed, and STAA was not even discussed. STAA IS an issue with local small businesses, however.

    Trees are doing pretty well along the avenue, and I can guarantee you no one gave a crap about the roots when it was built.

    Last point, if you can call it that: Fearmongering is ugly whether it’s from the right fringe or the left fringe. The misinformation that has been spread like manure over the last few months has really put a dent in my respect for some local enviro organizations, and yes, I’m a member of several of them. Lets have a discussion, but keep it fact-based, OK?

  62. Cristina Bauss
    February 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Good luck with that one, 11:28. I’m particularly fond of the Santa Rosa argument, myself. Because, you know, Humboldt County has SO much in common with a place that’s basically a bedroom community to the Bay Area. And our massive influx of retirees and big-box shoppers is going to come from… wait… what’s the closest thing to SF around here? Oh, yeah. SF!

    We already have Costco. We already have Target. We already have K-mart. We already have WinCo. We already STOPPED Wal-mart. Trader Joe’s isn’t interested. But hey, let’s not let facts interfere with our hyper-paranoid economic theories.

  63. February 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    And to think, all of you have the right to vote! Is there any wonder why we are all represented by self-serving, corrupt morons that are just smart enough to sell everyone out to the highest bidder?

  64. February 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Let the facts speak for themselves…

    Stan has obviously researched this issue more than Caltrans, and the opinion of Steve Sillet goes beyond anything else that has been put out by both SRG and Caltrans. Don’t believe me? Read the project FEIR and then come back to the table to argue. Caltrans has no science or evidence to support that this project will not damage the OG in RGSP.

    Caltrans admits that the project WILL damage the OG trees, it’s in the FEIR. I’m not sure how or why anyone in support of the project can continue to argue this fact when even Caltrans has already admitted to it. The more that Caltrans backpedals against the facts about this project, the more ridiculous project supporters sound. What was the removal of 54 trees has now become the removal of “only a few trees”, according to Charles Fielder at the CT rally.

    Since when has the number 54 ever been referenced to “only a few”? Does a “couple” equal 2? Does a few mean more than two, more than ten? Does Charlie Fielder go to a bar and order a few beers? Someone better get Charlie a designated driver…

    If you cannot accept the facts due to a mental roadblock or due to personal biases against environmentalists, then your arguments for the project are not only flawed but also based on a distortion of the truth…possibly even based on a distorted reality.

  65. Anonymous
    February 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I once went to Cal Trans to question the mowing of the highway during the spring nesting season. Charles Fielder and his mowing crew didn’t know that there were numerous species of sparrows. They thought the only sparrow was the English Sparrow. This bird is not even native to the United States. Can you trust them about this when most grade school kids know that there are many species of sparrow not just one? Cal Trans does have a distorted reality based on ignorance.

  66. Misty
    February 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Caltrans significantly changed the Richardson Grove Project in the Draft EIR after close of public comment, and with no opportunity for review by the public or other agencies, Caltrans added an additional 46 trees to the original 41 trees identified in the Draft EIR as having potential root impacts. Most of the trees are large Redwoods; 73 are 30 inches or greater in diameter (the standard Caltrans uses to define “old-growth), and 40 are between 7 and 18 feet in diameter. These are of the original 120 acres entrusted to the State of California to protect for all time, not just until the next highway expansion for bigger and bigger trucks, that will be antiquated in 10 years. These old growth redwood trees are 1,000 to 2,000 years old or more. Artifacts were found on site to be 3,500 years old, so the canopy with roots enter-twined needs to be left alone.

    We can not chance further harm to Richardson Grove than caused by floods, and the highway expansion of 1968, that logged many of the original old growth entrusted to be protected for that highway expansion project. Now Caltrans wants to do more damage for bigger trucks that already pass freely and frequently and safely through Richardson Grove. Some are with exception and many just pass through and chance a fine. You see them driving after 9 p.m. at night. They always speed, and I try to keep up to clock their speed but I can not keep up and be driving according to the speed limits. Put the speed at 25, and people will go 35.

    Construction activity in close proximity to these trees could result in impacts to the root systems. Cut and fill activities occurring within the structural root zone, will result in impacts.

    68 of the 87 total trees that will have cut and fill activities within their root zone, proposed to be damaged with placement of impervious surface, fill, or cutting of roots.

    Caltrans acknowledges in the EIR that “it may not be possible to avoid cutting roots greater than two inches.” Caltrans also admits that it did not conduct any field studies of the Redwood trees’ structural root systems that would be affected by this Richardson Grove Project, and Caltrans admits it does not know where roots may be encountered. Caltrans admits it does not know what the ultimate effects of the Richardson Grove Project will be on the Redwoods or the root systems.

    Caltrans says they have no plan to do any scientific study of the Marbled Murrelets until after the proposed project, even though this has been going on since 2007 and it is now 2011. There are no scientific studies planned for the Northern Spotted Owls. New garbage cans will solve that, says Caltrans. There are no scientific studies, period. An arborist is not a scientist.

    Stan Binnie just finished his term as Mayor of Trinidad. He is a highly respected community member, and he has written a publication about how to avoid construction damage to tree roots, that .I was fortunate to read when he presented it to Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

    Obviously, Stan Binnie is more highly educated than most of us, and he is not alone in believing HSU Professor Steve Sillet has provided more science to be studied on the damages this proposed project will do in Richardson Grove State Park, than any Caltrans employee or consultant they pay to tell lies. .

    See all letters by Steve Sillet and others in Volume Two of the Final Enviornmental Impact Report. The letters are in alphabetical order. There are no letters from anyone pushing this Caltrans Environmental disaster, only names at the end of Volume 2. Sun Valley Floral, Lost Coast Brewery, O & M, are major pushers, as the cattle and dairy already have exceptions and will continue to have exceptions, as will other companies. .

    Now Caltrans wants to do more damage in Avenue of the Giants on another project they themselves again admit will harm old growth redwood roots, Marbled Murrelets, Northern Spotted Owls, Salmon and other protected fish and wildlife in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and the list goes on. This is to widen 4 bridges. . That Caltrans Meeting will be from 4 to 6, Monday, February 28, at Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitors Center, 17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA. EXPECT a full house..I believe it is from around 4 to 6 p.m.

    The mean people here are most likely the pushers of this very destructive proposed project. Those are definitely old growth redwood trees that are targeted for root cutting and root impacting, all along the highway, and they are 1,000 to 2,000+ years old. The acquired buffer to Richardson Grove since 1922, is composed of a great deal of previously logged areas then bought by the State as a buffer. This is 2nd growth, and it is where they have moved the campground so as to not cause further damage the original 120 acres of old growth entrusted to the state to be protected, back in 1922.

    The highway was not surfaced until 1927. The freeway of 1968 caused enormous environmental damage to the original old growth of that 120 acres, as many many old growth were logged for this project. Additional damage has been from the storms of 1955 and 1964, that took out many old growth. There are precious few left.

    My suggestion, as mentioned above, would be to take a couple months to study these 200 to 2,000 page documents, like so many of us bothered to do. The Draft EIR is at the Eureka Public Library, or you can buy it from Caltrans for under $25, but the Final EIR costs $150. Here on the computer it is free.

    Again, here is the Draft Environmental Impact Report

    Here is Volume 1 of the FEIR

    Here is Volume 2 of the FEIR

    There are two lawsuits filed against Caltrans in their violations of CEQA and NEPA. Do you think Pete McCloskey of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy would bother with taking on a lawsuit if this Caltrans Richardson Grove proposed project was not in violation of laws to protect our State and Federally protected lands? Do you think Peter Galvin or Kevin Bundy of Center for Biological Diversity would bother to also join these lawsuits, if this was not a serious violation of the law to consider going ahead? Do you think the Granddaughter of the Hartsooks who made Hartsook Inn an amazing destination back in the day, would bother joining in a Federal Lawsuit, if she did not believe this project is completely illegal and harmful, and she also has no current invested interests, as now the owners of Heartwood Inn own Hartsook Inn.

    Please do become more educated yourselves, before you criticize highly educated people like retired Professor Stan Binnie and HSU Professor Steve Sillet.

  67. Anonymous
    February 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Misty-would our governor be able to stop this destruction in the Park? This is an outrage that a handful of greedy business owners would be pushing this. And everyone knows that CalTrans will pave anything for a paycheck. We should not have to sue to protect our Park system.

  68. pete
    February 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I am still boycotting Lost Coast brewery. I will never go there again nor will any of my friends.

  69. tra
    February 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm


    I would like to nominate Misty’s 11:27 post for your consideration as a possible guest post for the front page of the Herald.

    She’s done a better job than most of making the case against the RG project. People can agree or disagree with the specific points she’s making, but there is certainly some substance to discuss there.

  70. February 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Both Stan and Misty have put in so much of their time, research and expertise into compiling all of the information out there in regards to Redwood Root systems. If you think about how much time they have devoted, it would make sense to say that they are well informed on this matter. Much more than anyone at Caltrans I would expect. On top of all of that, you have the opinion of Steve Sillett who is one of the most acclaimed researchers of our Redwoods.

    So the information coming from Caltrans about the Park, tree and habitat impacts of this project must be flawed, outdated or distorted, less Caltrans is lying about the project. Which they are.

    While Caltrans still publicly claims that the project won’t harm the root systems or vitality of the ancient trees in Richardson Grove State Park, both the DEIR and FEIR state otherwise.

    If you have doubts about this fact, read the public comments section if the task of reading and comprehending the FEIR feels to be a daunting task. It is an easy way for anyone out there to reference a vast amount of falsehoods, discrepancies and contradictions in the mitigations proposed for this project.

    I would like to applaud Stan, Misty, Barbara and everyone else out there who lives, eats and sleeps “Save Richardson Grove”. No one at Caltrans has that kind of dedication in protecting the environment from the blatant ecological damages from their road impacts to OUR STATE PARK.

    The coalition has had little cooperation from the local main stream media in sharing this information with the public, we don’t have luxury in having our hands in the Headwaters Fund to pay for media, as Caltrans has.

    So let them speak…

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