There are currently two tree sits blocking destruction in CalTrans’ proposed Bypass route. Since January 28th, there have been seven tree sits in total. Though many of CalTrans’ activities have been clearly illegal, there are no regulatory agencies, courts, or elected bodies that are standing in their way. The tree-sits have been the best and only injunction against the destruction of the land so far.
On this page, you will find an overview of the current tree-sits along with information about how you can visit and support them.
General information: California Highway Patrol has maintained a policy of restricting access to the tree sits in an effort to “starve them out.” In the case of recent tree sits that have now been evicted, they maintained a 24-hour watch, complete with blinding spotlights, and threatened to arrest anyone who attempts to enter the areas below the tree sitters.
It is always vital to have people on the ground in the vicinity of each tree sit, for ongoing legal observation and to show the tree sitters they are appreciated. Bring cameras or video cameras if you have them. To arrange a donation of food or other supplies for the tree sits, or inquire about current needs, send an email to [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Update: Sadly, much forest has been lost recently, and Caltrans contractors cut the trees that the first five tree sitters inhabited, after forcibly evicting them. In the last month, Caltrans has devoured large stands of oak, madrone, and pine trees and fed many of them in to a chipper machine on site. But there is still much that remains to be defended.
Crow’s Hael Creek Tree Sit (#7)
The latest tree sit was discovered on April 16th in a stand of very large old alders above Haehl Creek, directly in the path of Caltrans’ bypass project. For more information about this new tree sit, look here.
Owl’s tree sit (#6)
On Saturday, April 6th, a woman who goes by “Owl” ascended into an old oak tree near the banks of Haehl Creek, only a few hundred yards from where The Warbler was perched and almost immediately next to where one of the other tree sitters, Eagle, likewise made his stand in an ancient oak.
Owl’s tree is between 150 and 200 years old. It is right near the downed trees where Caltrans conducted its cutting spree of recent weeks. Because Owl’s tree is in a federally designated riparian area, it does enjoy a greater degree of legal protection than the trees Caltrans has cut so far. Legally, the tree cannot be cut down until June. However, Caltrans’ well-established pattern is to thumb its nose at the law, and we expect that its treatment these National Marine Fisheries Service-designated riparian areas will be no exception.
Owl says she is no stranger to living in the forest with few conveniences. She lived in a redwood forest for nine months with a group of other people. She says she sees the struggle against the Caltrans Bypass of Willits as a continuation of hundreds of years of assaults on people’s right to access the commons: in other words, cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth — resources that are held in common, not owned privately.
In Owl’s words, “This is just another example of a company taking public land for private profit with the backing of law enforcement that are supposed to be protecting the public.”
Past Tree Sits
Warbler’s tree sit — Jan. 28th to April 2nd, 2013
Warbler’s tree-sit was the first, established on January 28th, 2013. Her platform was located 71 feet up in an old ponderosa pine tree she has named “Liberty Ponderosa” on the east side of Highway 101 south of Willits, at mile-marker 43.74. For more information about the initial impetus for this tree sit, see the AVA article, The Warbler and The Willits Bypass.”
On March 28th, the two-month anniversary of her stay in the tree, Warbler began a hunger strike, with three demands—principally, a halt to bypass destruction. She continued the hunger strike until April 10th. For more information on her hunger strike and extraction, see this post on the front page.
Pine Grove tree sits (2nd & 3rd) — March 18th to April 2nd, 2013
The Pine Grove tree sits started in the early morning of Monday, March 18th. They were located in a ponderosa pine grove near DripWorks off of East Hill Road.
The two separate platforms were high up in the grove and anchored in to four additional trees by traverse lines. The young men occupying these trees went by Caspian and Celsius. Their tree sits ended violently, with a California Highway Patrol SWAT Team firing bean bag pellets upon Celsius following a roughly three-hour chase through the pines. For more, see this page.