SACRAMENTO — Voters could decide to ban the cutting of any tree that grew before California became a state in 1850, if a coalition succeeds in putting the initiative on next year’s ballot.
A group of social, religious, civic, business and conservation organizations on Tuesday will launch an effort to put the question on the 2002 ballot.
The measure would apply to all state-owned forests and private land, but could not restrict logging on federal land. It is opposed by the state’s logging industry.
The coalition estimated less than 3 percent of native forests in California are still standing, and said most of those are protected in state parks. The initiative would safeguard the remaining ancient and old growth trees.
“Our government should be the ones protecting this international heritage, but because they’ve failed, we, the people, have decided to protect the last of this living legacy,” activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill said in a statement.
Hill spent more than two years living in a California redwood to save it from being cut down. Logging groups said the initiative was superfluous.
On the Net: Read the initiative at http://www.ancienttrees.org