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for people who care about the West

Julia Butterfly won't come down

  Julia "Butterfly" Hill has become something of a celebrity. She has lived in a 1,000-year-old redwood tree near Stafford, Calif., for over a year, spreading the message that "each and every one of the old-growth trees is ancient, precious, and priceless." From the 300 to 500 letters she receives daily, Hill is confident that people are hearing her message.


"To me, it's absolutely essential we come from a place of love and higher consciousness," she says. "That's why we've reached so many people, because we all can understand love." Hill, who grew up traveling around the states in a trailer, has refused to touch the ground for 14 months, and it is her perch, a platform high in a redwood she calls "Luna," that has kept Pacific Lumber Co. from logging in the area.


"We are frustrated with people who seem to take the law into their own hands," says Pacific Lumber's Mary Bullwinkel. Though Pacific Lumber has posted public notices throughout the forest, asking tree-sitters to get off their private property, Hill has no plans for climbing down anytime soon.


Moreover, a recent government deal with Pacific Lumber to preserve 6,000 acres of ancient redwoods has Hill enraged. She says the deal preserves some trees at the cost of 50 years of unregulated cutting on Pacific Lumber's remaining 200,000 acres, with very little protection for endangered wildlife.


"This makes it legal for them to destroy more old growth than is being protected," says Hill. That makes her more determined than ever. "I plan on continuing what I am doing; I take it day by day and prayer by prayer." Contact Hill through Luna Media Services, 707/839-8974, www.lunatree.org, or call Pacific Lumber at 707/764-2222.


* Rebecca Clarren