My experience with the Quincy group wasn't positive

  • Erin Noel, environmentalist

    Ed Marston

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Erin Noel grew up in a small town within the region the Quincy Library Group has staked out as its domain. She founded Forest Alert, which monitored the Lassen, El Dorado and Tahoe national forests. She now studies law at the University of California, Berkeley. She spent this summer in Washington, D.C., working for EarthJustice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund).

ERIN NOEL: "I grew up in Sierra Nevada forests that had a history of mining and logging and today I'm attracted to forests that are of the same types, but that have had less disturbance. A few years ago, I spent several weeks on a solo backpack in the Lassen. The Lassen especially has some particularly fine stands of forests and some particularly wild areas. They are biologically rich. A new genera was found there in the region surrounding Mount Lassen - a snowberry leafy plant. And there have been fisher marten and wolverine sightings.

"Because of my interest in the region, I went to several meetings of the Quincy Library Group. I am also involved in a cooperative resource-management group for 1,800 acres of land near my community.

"But my experience with the Quincy group wasn't positive. They were consistently reticent to discuss details. Their plan would double the level of logging that the Forest Service has estimated, with incredible impacts. The 2.5 million acres is the size of Rhode Island and Delaware, and this plan was formulated by people from a town of 5,000.

"Their approach strikes me as back to the past. Prior to the national environmental laws, there was intense pressure at the local level to let corporations do what they want. Local governments let incredible damage occur.

"At (QLG) meetings most of my written comments were disregarded. My questions met with a very hostile reaction from Michael Jackson. He told me, 'Raising questions is not OK.'

"I don't think you should make a community by excluding other voices. If that means not doing a huge plan, then do a small one like we are, around (the town of) North San Juan.

"And don't push too hard on the Forest Service. I have seen change in the agency. But they don't do well under these kinds of prescriptions."

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