Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: To protect Redwood Trees in Richardson Grove State Park.
Acting as a natural gateway into Humbolt County, the towering Redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park have existed for centuries (the oldest of them dating back over 2,000 years). Despite their remarkable longevity and immense size these trees are still under an extreme threat. Over the past century these towering natural relics have been devastated by logging and development projects. Today only 39,000 acres are still in existence of the roughly two million that were present a little over one hundred years ago. Once destroyed it would take a millennium to regrow; this is not any pine forest where the logging industry can simply plant new trees to replace those they have cut down.
The importance of these trees, coupled with their inability to be replaced, should make their protection and preservation absolutely paramount. Unfortunately their degree of protection appears entirely reliant upon their impact on commercial interests. Now that more commerce and travelers are on the roadways than ever before, it appears that the widening of Highway 101 at Richardson Grove has taken precedence over the life of trees that were first coming into existence when the latest road construction projects were being undertaken by ancient Romans. The intended purpose of this widening is to allow more leeway for commercial trucks to pass in opposite directions, a relatively minor benefit considering what would be given up in return.
Caltrans is required by law to give ample care and attention to alternative solutions to the movement of goods (such as additional shipping via rail), yet has shown here an unwillingness to attempt anything contrary to direct road expansion. These alternative solutions exist, and must be undertaken before even the consideration of destroying an old growth forest can occur. Richardson Grove State Park must be allowed to remain completely intact, and for this to happen Highway 101 cannot be expanded.
Dear Governor Brown,
Among the iconic symbols of California few are as immediately recognizable or inherently majestic as those of ancient redwoods towering above the landscape. These trees are centuries old, with some dating back over 2,000 years, making them among the oldest living things on the planet. Despite this grand history, the bulk of these natural skyscrapers have already been destroyed. Today fewer than two percent remain, and their numbers continue to dwindle. Any animal with its population so heavily depleted would be immediately shielded under the endangered species act with that animal’s protection outweighing any and all commercial interests. The same consideration must be afforded to botanical life that has suffered similar destruction.
Sadly, this has not shown to be true. A perfect example of commercial interests outweighing consideration for the natural environment can be observed in Humbolt County. Here, within Richardson Grove State Park, Caltrans is looking to destroy countless trees in order to enact a widening of Highway 101. This highway widening project is intended for the express purpose of allowing commercial trucking headed in opposite directions to have an easier means with which to pass each other. Improving the flow of goods to the area is admirable; however there are far too many viable alternatives to aid in the movement of goods in and out of the North Coast region of California to require such a destructive project. Caltrans must not be allowed to destroy ancient redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park, roads will wink in and out of existence, but these ancient trees cannot be replaced. Once destroyed they are gone forever.
[Your Name Here]