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Earth First Press Release; Ramsey II Sitters Threatened at Gun Point

a peaceful, nonviolent treesitter in Ramsey Gulch, near Mt. Madonna in southern Santa Cruz County, was verbally assaulted and threatened by two men, one of whom carried a rifle.
Press Release
For Immediate Release
19 September, 2002

Ramsey 2 Treesit Update

CORRALITOS, CA, 19 Sept. 2002 - Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, a peaceful, nonviolent treesitter in Ramsey Gulch, near Mt. Madonna in southern Santa Cruz County, was verbally assaulted and threatened by two men, one of whom carried a rifle. The men falsely told the treesitter that they owned the Ramsey Gulch property that the treesit is on and threatened to shoot the treesitter out of the tree if he did not leave. The men then left the area without firing any shots. The treesit remains occupied in defiance of the terrorist threat made by the men.

The property is owned by the Roger and Michele Burch Limited Family Trust, a private trust set up by the Burch's to provide a tax shelter for them and their children. Roger Burch is CEO and part owner of Redwood Empire, a San Jose based timber and lumber company with a sawmill in Cloverdale, CA and retail outlets in the San Francisco bay area. The Burch's and the Redwood Empire company own nearly 70,000 acres of timber property in Central and Northern California.

Santa Cruz Earth First! established the month-old treesit, one of three on the 50 acre Timber Harvest Plan (THP) to protest the ongoing threat to the Pajaro River watershed and Ramsey Creek by the THP and roadbuilding in the area. Ramsey Creek, a fish habitat for Steelhead and Rainbow Trout, was the site of previous logging that began 2 years ago as part of the Ramsey 1 THP. On the same property, and just over the ridge, is the notorious Gamecock Canyon THP where Redwood Empire contractors, Hayward Lumber, amassed 37 violations of the Forest Practices Act by overcutting and failure to control erosion.

This is not the first time that peaceful Santa Cruz Earth First! treesitters and activists have been threatened with violence on Redwood Empire property. A Gamecock Canyon neighbor heard a large amount of gunfire during that THP and activists on a road in the area were fired at. SCEF! activists sitting in a tree in a Redwood Empire THP in Boulder Creek, were fired at with a shotgun and a dog, belonging to an logging equipment guard, was killed by a timber thug who thought it was a treesitters pet. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff has been unresponsive to the threats stating after the Boulder Creek shotgun attack that they would investigate when there was a dead body.

Santa Cruz Earth First! is a nonviolent, direct action environmental defense group, part of the planet-wide Earth First! movement and has been active for over 20 years in the northern Monterey Bay bioregion.

Please call 831-425-3205 and leave a message for further information or reply to cruzef (at)

Dennis P. Davie
SCEF! Local Contact Person

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Ease up on the inflated rhetoric maybe

I probably wouldn't be levying this complaint had this piece of propaganda not been labelled a "press release," but i felt like i had to say something. I usually don't have a problem with political propaganda, but it irks me to see something like this called a press release. This is more accurately a communiqué. I don't think it does anyone any good to set up these simplistic "good, peaceful, nonviolent protestor" vs. "bad, violent, trigger-happy yahoos" dichotymies, if for no other reason than the redundant language belabors the point. And "terrorist threat?" What's up with that? I'm getting really sick of this pattern of Santa Cruz activists trying to hijack the language and the laws of the state to aim it back at those in power. Going around trying to "arrest" tourists and shoppers when they violate the downtown ordinances does next to nothing to confront state power (in fact, it reinforces it), and i would doubt that those doing this will gain many friends among those they "arrest", either (or maybe they want it that way). Similarly, playing the "terrorism" card doesn't work for social justice and environmental activists: it is the primary and almost exclusive tool of the state, and invoking it can only help prop up that power. Anyone willing to read past your inflated rhetoric to actually get to the facts already likely knows that the "terrorism" ploy is bunk--you needn't smash them over the head with the notion.

I have no problem with visceral, angry, heart-felt emotion in communiqués, or even press releases, but i find it useless and annoying to read relatively meaningless and empty language that is the invention, the tool and the solace of the state. There is a lot of good information in this press release, and plenty of passion for justice and a better world evident in the activists doing the work. That's what i want to be reading, not this melodrama amounting to just so many rhetorical pin-pricks to those in power. "Speak truth to power," or, better yet, to those who've been duped into investing power into their masters, but don't spew rhetoric at the choir.

Well said.

Well said, Fhar. Application of the "terrorist" label bugged me too (but I figured as I was fwd'ing the msg, I'd let someone else comment first). To stretch the term this far is meaningless. I might as well label my cat a terrorist for keeping mice out of the house.

By jumping on the language bandwagon in this way, they only lend credibility to the general usage of the term. General usage which still belongs to the White House and mainstream corporate press, and which is highly flawed and manipulative.

The lack of a down-to-earth perspective by SCEF on their own position, agenda, and operation seems to be a common thread through their subculture. I'm reminded of the old observation on the Irish, "They don't know what they're fighting for, but they're willing to fight for it!"

There's certainly a valid story in all this, but their press releases - or whatever you want to call them - like this one do almost more harm than good.


Go Ramsey Gulch!

I feel this article told the story,and I'm sorry it did not please everybody.If these trees were the twin towers,who would be the terrorists then?Answer:Redwood Empire.I think the tree-sitters are doing a great job trying to protect the local watersheds.What are you doing?

terrorism? please.

> If these trees were the twin towers,who would be the
> terrorists then?Answer:Redwood Empire.

Uh, the Twin Towers were destroyed by people other than the owners, and involved 3000 deaths and collosal financial and economic damage.

By contrast, Ramsey II is at least the private property of Redwood Empires CEO Robert Burch.

Furthermore, the Twin Towers were totally erased. Ramsey Gulch and Ramsey Creek may be adversely affected, but will still very much be on the map.

Even looking over at Ramsey I across the creek, which is undeniably a stark contrast, it wasn't clearcut by any means. What's left is sparse, and reportedly far less than was legally allowed by the R1 THP (resulting in the bankruptcy of Hayward Bros and the loss of someone's Timber License), but still - it aint no post 9/11 Manhatten skyline.

So there's a world of difference between the Twin Towers and Ramsey II. Im not saying my overall judgement is one of approval of RII (I have no overall judgement yet), but equating it with 9/11 is only costing you points in the battle for the public mind.

Maybe it's an effective rallying cry for the disaffected who felt no attachment to 9/11 and want to feel like they have their own earth-shattering, unifying, mass-mobilizing disaster, but... no. Be realistic.

> I think the tree-sitters are doing a great job trying to
> protect the local watersheds.What are you doing?

While you all are credulously buying into the "save the watershed!" and "save the fish!" cause without an iota of critical analysis, I'm studying the Redwood Empires Timber Harvest Plan, the Calif Dept of Forestry's Official Response document, and the State of Calif's Forest Practices Act and Forest Practice Rules, and engaging Uncle Dennis, Dragonfly, and other SCEF activists in discussion on the specific issues involved, so that I can make an informed opinion.

I used to think that organized religion centered on tree worship had fallen into antiquity with the Druids of medieval Europe. But if y'all were any more faith-based, you could get grants from George Bush.

(nuke a gay baby whale for Jesus!)

please be responsible

I support SCEF! doing tree-sits at Ramsey Gulch, but I hope in light of the recent violent threats and shooting death of the guard's dog that activists will have better judgement than to bring young children and animals into the trees with you. I'm referring to the fact that 2 years ago one activist brought her baby up, and another brought a puppy. How would those activists had felt if harm had come to either of those innocents? Civil disobedience is a serious commitment - don't put those who can't defend themselves in harm's way.


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