Many friends of the ancient trees and their ecosystem visited Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve on Sunday, May 4 to protest the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s proposed water system developments there. After they learned of threats to the redwoods from new water wells, surface trenching, and underground tunneling among the trees in the natural reserve, local citizens joined together and visited the woods to express their concerns.
The weather was beautiful, the trees were majestic and the park employees were very helpful making sure everyone found the correct trails. Everyone was enthusiastic about having an opportunity to do something to protect the forest and people exchanged stories with each other about how the woods were part of their lives.
Guerneville resident, Linda Lucey stated, “The regulations posted at the entrance to this grove state, natural scenery, plants, and animal life are the principal attractions of most state parks. They are integral parts of the ecosystem and natural community. As such, they are protected by Federal, State and Park laws. Disturbance or destruction of these resources is strictly forbidden.”
“We respectfully refrain from disturbing even a twig in this reserve,”Lucey further stated. “Why doesn’t State Parks follow the same Federal, State, and Park laws that we follow? Do the benefits of more water for visitors outweigh the risks of harm to the old growth ecosystem the visitors come to see? How much is this project going to cost us taxpayers? Why won’t State Parks hold a scoping session so we can understand exactly what is going on?”
Protesters handed out informational flyers at the visitors center and then, walked quietly through the beautiful redwood grove, some dressed as large trees. Their object was to draw attention to what until recently some say have been the very closely held development plans of State Parks.
Many people from the local community, including members of Forest Unlimited, participated in the event. Everyone shared serious concerns about the impacts that State Park’s plans will have on this delicate and now rare ecosystem. All the park visitors encountered by the participants in the protest expressed interest in learning more about the state’s plans and were very supportive of protecting the Natural Reserve.