These are all the RBDA letters sent by the Board in 2002
Forestry Board Appointments | RMC Lonestar chainsaw permits | RMC Lonestar quarry expansion | Sudden Oak Death Syndrome
Re: postal deliveries | Coast Dairies planning comments

21 January 2002

The Honorable John Burton
President pro tem,
State of California
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA  95814

Dear Senator Burton:

The Executive Board of the Rural Bonny Doon Association, which has over 500 members in this forested mountain community, applauds your recent position regarding appointments to the Board of Forestry.

We heartily agree with you that those positions designated as ‘public’ should be filled by concerned and informed citizens, unaligned with industry groups.  And so we thank you for striving for balance on the Board and, in the process, protecting the interest of all Californians.

We hope that, through your leadership, the Board may move away from endorsing some careless practices, such as those we describe in the enclosed letter.

We send you our best wishes as you work for the State’s benefit – and ours.


Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary


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21 January 2002

Director, Regional Office
Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention
State of California
P. O. Box 670
135 Ridgway Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

 RE: Timber Harvest Plan No. 1-01-439-SCR, on property of RMC Pacific Materials

Dear Director:

Enclosed please find a petition concerning Item 38 (page 15) of this Timber Harvest Plan, a proposal to allow chainsaw operations on weekends.  The Rural Bonny Doon Association is very concerned that RMC is attempting to operate with disregard for its neighbors and the laws justly enacted to protect them. 

The petition, signed by 60 residents of Bonny Doon at the Rural Bonny Doon Association’s 9 January meeting, states,

 "We, the undersigned residents of Bonny Doon, request that RMC’s request to allow chainsaw operations on weekends be denied.  We request that the THP comply with Forest Practice Rule 926.9 Hours of Work, which states:  ‘The operation of chainsaws and other power-driven saw equipment shall be restricted to the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., and shall be prohibited on Saturdays, Sundays, and nationally designated legal holidays.’

"This 458 acre timber operation, once approved, could continue for three years, including the winter periods.  Chainsaw operations could be within hearing range of residences off of Bonny Doon Road, and Pine Flat Road.  Some residents of these neighborhoods were disturbed by the weekend noise from the chainsawing and tree felling during RMC’s previous THP #1-98-096-SCR, which was adjacent to this THP."

We are also very worried about RMC’s proposal that fuel woods should be harvested (Item 15).  At a recent Rural Bonny Doon Association meeting, Dr. Keyt Fischer, a resource ecologist, spoke about Sudden Oak Death Syndrome.  She made us aware, beyond what is printed in newspapers, of how very pervasive this pestilence is, how vulnerable we are to it, and how catastrophic its results can be.  In the Bonny Doon area, where isolated infestations of SODS have already been found, we ask that no hardwoods be cut or removed from the property until we can be absolutely certain that the wood is not infected.

Last, we are astonished that RMC could have submitted a proposal which neglects to note the site of its own (and Davenport town’s) San Vicente Creek water intake point, directly below the harvest area. 

We ask you, with these considerations in mind, to give this Timber Harvest Plan your most careful and thoughtful review, and to deny those aspects which might cause harm to either the land or its residents.


Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary

cc: John Burton, President pro tem, Senate, State of California
Board of Supervisors, County of Santa Cruz 
Angela Peterson, RPF, CDF Forest Practice, Felton Office

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22 January 2002

Planning Commission
County Government Center
701 Ocean Street, Room 400
Santa Cruz CA 95060

 Re: Application #99-0561, APNs 063-132-08 and 063-132-09

Dear Commissioners:

The Rural Bonny Doon Association supports the Environmental Coordinator’s determination to require an Environmental Impact Report for RMC Pacific Materials’s proposal to expand its limestone quarry below Smith Grade, and to revise its reclamation plan.

First, and of utmost importance for all the County’s residents, is the very real potential for damage to the City of Santa Cruz’s Liddell Springs water intake point.  Although it is true that Bonny Doon residents do not draw water from this source, we do not live in isolation on our mountain:  a water crisis in Santa Cruz would affect us in many obvious and very detrimental ways.

Second, we are concerned for harm to our land, and the plants and animals it supports.   The Environmental Review makes clear why the mining reclamation plan must be revised:  the soil has been so disturbed and its chemistry so changed by RMC’s quarrying activities that it cannot sustain its original, native plant species.  Can we expect this large multi-national corporation, with a minimal local presence, to spend its resources in order to preserve ours?  This will not happen, we believe, without significant government oversight.

For these, and many other reasons detailed in her excellent and thorough review, we ask you to uphold the Environmental Coordinator’s determination and the interest of the County’s residents.

We thank you for your careful consideration.


Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary

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24 January 2002

George Gray, Senior Resource Ecologist
Parks and Recreation
State of California 
600 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

Ralph Fairfield, Chief Ranger
Parks and Recreation
State of California 
600 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

Dear Mr. Gray and Mr. Fairfield:

Recently Keyt Fischer, Resource Ecologist, spoke to the Rural Bonny Doon Association.  She made us aware, beyond what is printed in newspapers, of how very pervasive Sudden Oak Death Syndrome is, how vulnerable we are to it, and how catastrophic its results can be.

Since then, we have been concerned that information about SODS should be given to as many people as possible.  In particular, we hope that State Parks can do more to increase awareness among its visitors, so that they can avoid spreading the disease and learn what they can do to help.  We know that State Parks has created brochures; perhaps there could also be signs at the entrances to parks, or displays in visitor centers, to draw the public’s attention to them?

We realize, of course, that your funding is limited.  But for so devastating a pestilence, we hope that a great effort can be mounted. 

We thank you for sharing our concern, as we face a common peril.  If we can help in any way to inform the public, or to avert SODS, please let us know.


Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary

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31 January 2002

Darcey C. Rosenblatt
Project Manager for Coast Dairies
The Trust for Public Land, Western Region
116 New Montgomery, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA  94105

Dear Darcey:

We thank you very much for the complex, thorough work which you and your staff put into preparing the Opportunities and Constraints Analysis for the Coast Dairies Property.  It is, as we had all hoped, a fine basis for the many decisions which will be made about this varied property and its uses. 

While we do have concerns about it, stated at some length below, they should be seen as corrections to oversights – albeit, we believe, potentially important ones -- rather than fundamental disagreements with what we consider a truly excellent document. 

We are also especially pleased with your plan to hand over the land with the Plan as a Deed, so that all its restrictions will be recorded and enforceable.

A propos of the November 7, 2001 Opportunities and Constraints Analysis, in general we support the points made by the working group at the January 26, 2002 Citizens Advisory Group meeting.

Specifically, regarding mining concerns, we support the comments expressed by Celia Scott, Attorney at Law, in her letter to you of January 25, 2002.  We emphasize that we do not support any further mining on the Coast Dairies property, and believe that the land should not be given over to any agency unless they are willing to accept deed restrictions that explicitly prohibit any further mining on the property, whether it occurs inside or outside of the existing RMC lease boundaries. 

With regards to forest management, we support the points made by Betsy Herbert during the working group presentation on January 26 to the Citizens Advisory Group, which she has detailed below:

The goals and standards must be consistent with the intent of the original Assignment of Stock Option:  "Protect the redwood trees from commercial harvest, except to the extent determined necessary or desirable, for public safety or for the health of the forest as a natural reserve rather than a timber production forest." 

Unfortunately, the wording of the above statement is quite vague, and raises questions such as:

a) Who would determine if commercial logging is necessary or desirable?
b) What standards would determine when there was a threat to the public safety or public health?
c) What standards would determine if commercial logging would be the appropriate management alternative to address these threats?
d) What is a natural reserve? What is a timber production forest?
We have always believed what the Steering Committee has said publicly over the past two years:  the intent is to protect the forested areas from commercial timber harvesting.  If State Parks were the recipient of the forestlands, then we would not have to worry about commercial logging, because they don’t allow it.  However, it is now clear that BLM is the intended recipient of the forested lands, and we are concerned that commercial logging could become a real issue, since BLM does have a policy of timber production and commercial logging on their lands. 

Our first concern is that, as stated in the Opportunities and Constraints Analysis, forest management goals and standards open the door to commercial timber harvest, by giving complete discretion to the future land managers to determine when commercial logging would be appropriate to address "public safety" or "forest health."  Nowhere are these vague terms defined, nor are standards spelled out for identifying conditions in the forests that would actually present a threat to public safety or forest health, or for determining if commercial logging would be the appropriate management alternative to address these threats.  Prescribed fire, for example, is generally thought to be a much more effective management tool for reducing fire hazard than commercial logging.  In fact, logging has been shown to significantly increase fire danger.  For example, the federally mandated Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (1996) reported that "timber harvest has increased fire severity in the Sierra Nevada more than any other recent human activity."  The City of Santa Cruz cites scientific studies by Perry (1998) and Alber et al. (2000), indicating that logged forests are more vulnerable to fire than unlogged forests (City of Santa Cruz Watershed Resources Plan Final Existing Conditions Report 2001).

The issue of "forest health" with respect to commercial logging also invites mischief.  The primary example is the federal Timber Salvage Rider of 1993, which allowed commercial logging on thousands of acres of federal old-growth forests under the guise of "salvage logging," which was ostensibly to remove "dead and dying" trees, for a "healthier" forest. This legislation was severely criticized by op-eds in major publications all over the country, and was opposed by virtually every environmental group in the nation.

Our second concern about forest management is that the Opportunities and Constraints Analysis provides large incentives for commercial logging. Goal C. 3, which falls under "Human Uses" strongly implies that the forest is not to be managed as a natural reserve, but rather as a timber production forest and for timber revenues. This is not consistent with the original intent:

Goal C.3 (p. 25):
"Standard C.3.1: Permit no harvesting of trees from the property, except to the extent determined necessary or desirable for public safety or forest health."

"Standard C.3.2: Use any monetary compensation received as income resulting from the commercial uses of the Property: 1) to meet obligations associated with the operation and management of the property; 2) for endowment and/or funding of Property management/ and/or 3) for measures to maximize the public enjoyment of and/or the preservation and enhancement of the property’s natural resource values." 

Under this scenario, land managers could use timber revenues to supplement their management budgets, or to build restaurants, visitor centers, or trails. 

Worse still, Goal B.7 (p. 23), prevents development of trails and other uses in sensitive areas, unless budgets meet a certain level.  So, in lean years, timber revenues might be used to supplement management budgets in order to build trails.  These things all provide incentives for commercial logging, whereby the land manager would be encouraged to look for forest health or public safety problems when none existed, in order to justify commercial logging.

We doubt whether forests could be managed as natural reserves under these conditions.  They would instead, become timber production forests.

A third concern is that there are no standards under Goal A.4 for restoring forests as there are for grasslands, and non-native species.

"Goal A.4 (p. 19): Manage the property to protect and restore native grasslands, native forest stands, unique vegetation associations and to constrain or reduce the spread of non-native plant or animal species." 


  • Define goals and explicit standards for forest management, consistent with the original intent
  • Define the terms "public safety" and "forest health" and define explicit standards that would prevent these terms from being used indiscriminately to justify logging
  • Allow only non-commercial logging when necessary to protect public safety or forest health
  • Remove Standard C.3.1 from Goal C.3 (inconsistent with forests being managed as a natural reserve). 
  • Identify opportunities for re-establishment of native forests, restoration and connectivity
  • For individual management prescriptions in the following areas, add wording to read, "Preserve, protect and enhance native forest ecosystems."
  • Laguna Woodland/Shrub Zone
  • Laguna Stream Protection Zone
  • Yellowbank Woodland/Shrub Zone
  • Yellowbank Stream Protection Zone
  • Liddell Woodland/Shrub Zone
  • Liddell Stream Protection Zone
  • San Vicente Woodland/Shrub Zone
  • San Vicente Stream Protection Zone
We very much appreciate the efforts you have made to bring us together and to give us an extended opportunity to comment.  Most important, we are grateful that you have worked so very hard to bring about our shared goal:  creating a wondrous legacy .

With best wishes,

Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary

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31 January 2002

Donald Cattivera, Postmaster
Santa Cruz Office, San Jose District
United States Postal Service
850 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

Dear Mr. Cattivera:

As we discussed in our telephone conversation on Friday, it is our impression that, since our previous conversation on 3 January, mail service on two Bonny Doon routes has deteriorated.   Although the data below are from only one address, they represent, we believe, the experiences of a considerable number of Bonny Doon residents.  Situations noted at 1411 Pine Flat Road:

Overdue first class deliveries -- following, in two instances, days with no mail delivery at all  (There may have been other overdue mail; we happened to notice these.)

  • Tuesday 8 January:  No mail delivery
  • Wednesday 9 January:  Two first class mailings delivered:
    • One postmarked in San Francisco on 21 December
    • Another postmarked in Louisville KY on 28 December
  • Tuesday 15 January:  First class mail delivered, postmarked in San Jose (Santa Cruz return address) on Saturday 12 January
  • Thursday 24 January:  First class mail delivered, postmarked in San Jose (Santa Cruz return address) on Thursday 17 January
  • Saturday 26 January:  No mail delivery
  • Monday 28 January:  First class mail delivered, postmarked in San Jose (Bonny Doon return address) on Wednesday 23 January
Late mail delivery (We do not keep track of the postal delivery time; these are chance observances in the past few days. They represent, we think, a considerable improvement over earlier months.)
  • Thursday 24 January:  Mail delivery at 5:35 pm.
  • Monday 28 January:  No mail had been delivered at 5:15 pm; it had arrived by 6:00 pm
Bulk mail delay
  • Friday 4 January:  The Highlander, the Rural Bonny Doon Association’s newsletter, arrived on two of the Bonny Doon routes.   This is exactly one week after its delivery on the third route, on Friday 28 December.  We acknowledge that The Highlander is sent as ‘Prsrt Std US Postage Paid’, and we don’t expect first class service.  But a week’s delay seems excessive and did cause us – as an organization – concern, because we were announcing a forum for county supervisorial candidates and hoped people would attend.
Contract carriers, we are told, receive less training than regular postal carriers.  Now we hear that one carrier has contracted for these two routes, and is then subcontracting the deliveries.  We wonder whether the subcontracting and, perhaps, lack of training or accountability, are the cause of some of our problems?  We also wonder whether it is legal for postal responsibility to be passed on in what seems to us a rather casual fashion?

As we mentioned in our letter of 12 December, we look forward to hearing from you about installing collection boxes in Bonny Doon, and to cost estimates for Neighborhood Delivery Box Collection Units.  We also hope to find solutions for the contract carrier difficulties which plague us.  Our problems, we know, do not lie within your control.  We await your guidance about how best to pursue their resolution.

We continue to thank you for your understanding and support, and to send good wishes.


Miriam Beames
Corresponding Secretary

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