Anti-logging activist settles timber violation
Leader of campaign to halt logging in Jackson State Forest says action
August 16, 2003
By MIKE GENIELLA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Vince Taylor, a Mendocino Coast activist who has led a high-profile
campaign to stop commercial logging in Jackson State Forest, has admitted
violating state timber harvest rules by illegally cutting down trees
to make way for a new home.
State officials said Taylor's illegal logging operation last year
was on private property in a zone protected by the California Coastal
Act. The tree cutting created potential harm to the habitat of the
red tree vole and coast lily, "two species of special concern,"
according to the state.
To settle a pending enforcement action by the state Department of
Forestry, Taylor stipulated that he violated state laws governing
timber cutting operations. In return, the state agency dropped plans
to impose a $3,000 fine on Taylor.
Taylor also agreed to pay his own legal costs incurred during months-long
negotiations with state officials to resolve the case. It stems from
a 2002 tree-cutting operation on property Taylor owns near the town
of Mendocino on Little Lake Road.
State foresters said Taylor failed to obtain a state permit to convert
land zoned for timber production to a non-timber growing use. He also
failed to submit a timber harvest plan for state approval, according
to the settlement.
Taylor said Friday he "inadvertently" violated state law.
He said he believed, based on conversations with county planning staff,
that because he intended to remove fewer than 15 trees greater than
12 inches in diameter, he wasn't required to obtain the state permits.
Taylor said the trees were cut by a licensed timber operator, and
that all the timber cut was for his own personal use.
"Because of what's involved, I know a lot of people want to make
more out of this," said Taylor. "But really, it was an inadvertent
violation of the law."
"There was no real harm done," he said.
The settlement was signed June 20 by Taylor, and two weeks later by
Andrea Tuttle, state director of forestry. As part of the deal, the
state agency agreed not to release news of the deal unless otherwise
State forestry spokesman Louis Blumberg confirmed the agreement had
been reached, but he declined Friday to discuss any of its terms.
A copy of the agreement and supporting documents show that Taylor
originally faced a $3,000 civil penalty for violating state timber
Taylor is executive director of the Caspar-based Campaign to Restore
Jackson State Forest. The organization has waged a contentious two-year
campaign in the courts and before state agencies to curtail commercial
logging operations in the state forest.
Jackson State was established in the 1940s by the Legislature to be
a working forest dedicated to research, education and the demonstration
of sustainable forestry practices. Over the years, it has become the
best-stocked timberland on the North Coast and a significant provider
of logs to local mills.
But a successful legal challenge to long-term state management plans
for Jackson was filed by Taylor's group, resulting last month in the
blocking of a $7 million timber harvest deal with two Mendocino County
At the time, Taylor said state forestry officials' attempt to move
ahead with the disputed logging operations was "not reason enough
to ignore legally mandated environmental protection for the public
You can reach Staff Writer Mike Geniella at 462-6470 or email@example.com.