Albion Monitor /News

Thousands Rally For Headwaters

Photos by Nicholas Wilson

At least 6,000 gathered at the Headwaters Forest rally in Humboldt County on September 14, with demonstrators coming from throughout the United States and abroad. The peaceful event was far larger than rallies held in the previous two years, and the diverse audience reflected a broad base of support for preserving the forest.

Bonnie Raitt sings Bonnie Raitt sings "Mother Earth" at rally. Raitt had just completed a four-city Forest Aid concert tour to raise funds for the preservation of Headwaters Forest.

After listening to speakers and entertainers at the Stafford, California gathering. the huge crowd marched to the nearby site of a mudslide that destroyed seven residences in the small Humboldt County hamlet on New Year's Day 1997.

Other celebrities attending included former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and actor Woody Harrelson.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown Former California Governor Jerry Brown addresses the crowd. Also speaking was former Congressman Dan Hamburg, Earth First! activist Darryl Cherney, and leaders of several prominent environmental groups.

Frustrations were high because negotiations between the federal and state government and Pacific Lumber appear to have stalled. Headwaters owner Charles Hurwitz is said to be demanding that additional properties be added to the deal, which currently includes land in San Francisco and logging forests elsewhere in California.

More detailed information about Headwaters Forest and goals of the rally is available at the "Rally Cry" web site, including additional pictures from their photo gallery.

Mike O'Neil Stafford, California, resident Mike O'Neil points toward his home as he stands on a remainder of the gigantic mudslide.

Hundreds of Headwaters Forest rally attendees formed a sandbag brigade to help O'Neil protect his house if the debris-filled mud torrent moves again during the coming winter's predicted heavy rains. Residents say the slide was caused by a Pacific Lumber Company clearcut on the mountain above the slide.

Asked for comment, Pacific Lumber president John Campbell told the San Francisco Chronicle that earth tremors and rain make slides like this "...a natural part of the landscape."

About 100 law enforcement officers guarded the ramps leading to Hwy. 101 at Stafford Road to prevent Headwaters Forest demonstrators from trying to reach the freeway.

Only two arrests were made at the Rally after police said there would be no "symbolic" arrests, and anyone trespassing on Pacific Lumber property would be charged with felony assult on a police officer for passing through their line. At last year's protest, more than 1,000 participants were arrested.

Photos © Nicholas Wilson
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Albion Monitor September 17, 1997 (

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