Old growth advocates receive support from city council

By Devona Walker Daily Planet Staff
Friday April 19, 2002

Old growth advocates got a political boost from Berkeley City Council by way of a unanimously-supported resolution, which they’ll use as they move forward into a signature drive to get an initiative on the upcoming statewide ballot. 

“We’re excited to get this support,” said Redwood Mary, a leader of the Old Growth Inititiative group. “Our next step will be a huge presence at Earth Day where we hope to get more signatures on the petition. 

According to Mary the group needs approximately 500,000 signatures to get an initiative on the statewide ballot. 

The City Council resolution specified concerns about logging practices in the state of California. Those concerns were origininally brought to the city’s Peace and Justice Commission from a number of citizens gorups — such as the Citizens Campaign for Old Growth Preservation/East Bay, San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, The Ecology Center, Bay Area Coaliton for Headwaters, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Univesalitsts Social Justice Committee and the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters. 

The signature deadline for the petition is May 31. Earth Day is one of the last remaining large vehicles for the group to get more signautres on the initiative. 

According to Mary, the group has tried unsuccessfully in the past to get the initiative on the ballot and were unable to do so for Novembmer, 2002. The present push for signatures would get the initiative onto the ballot in March, 2004. 

A recent survey conducted by Northwest environmental groups and completed by the research firm Davis & Hibbitts, Inc. of Portland found that 75 percent of people in the Northwest want an end to old-growth logging 

in national forests; that is three out of every four people in the state of Oregon and Washington. 

In the Northwest the issue of old growth has crossed party lines as many timber towns have also begun to soften to the idea of preserving ancient trees.