On Friday, July 8th, Green Diamond filed a notice with Cal Fire that they intended to begin logging operations on the “McKay 09” THP in Ryan Creek, near Cutten, in Eureka. This notification means Green Diamond could begin timber falling anytime in the proceeding 15 days. Green Diamond has already begun road clearing operations in preparation for potential logging. The “McKay 09’” THP proposes to log 60 acres of mature second growth and residual old growth redwood forest that supports threatened species such as the Northern Spotted Owl. Ryan Creek is also known to support threatened Coho salmon. Green Diamond intends to clearcut 37 acres of this forest, while selectively logging 21 acres in riparian management zones. Behind the clearcutting and forest conversion looms the specter of permanent conversion for residential development.
According to a March 11, 2008 letter from Green Diamond to the County, the Company has 442 acres of suitable development property in the Mckay Tract, 256 of which is already zoned for that purpose. However, a 12/15/10 article in the Eureka Times Standard indicated that Green Diamond is working with the Trust for Public Land to craft a plan to protect the 7,500-acre McKay Tract next to Cutten and virtually the entire Ryan Creek watershed from development. So now as the chain saws are set to run, the question begs whether Green Diamond wants a community forest, or residential sprawl for the McKay tract. Resorting to clearcutting some of the last remaining mature forest in the Ryan Creek watershed would send a message of Green Diamond’s intent. Despite all its posturing of good will, it is now unclear that Green Diamond prefers development over conservation in the McKay Tract. EPIC will continue to monitor the situation in the McKay Tract closely. Please stay connected to www.wildcalifornia.org  for more updates.