Humboldt County tree sitters refuse to abandon perches on lumber company-owned land

Friday, March 14th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) _ As cold winds whistled through tall redwoods and steady rain pelted the branches, 18 tree sitters defied a court-ordered deadline to come down from their airy perches on lumber company land.

The environmental activists waited out a court-backed demand Thursday from Pacific Lumber Co. that they descend from the trees and cease trespassing.

``We are continuing to evaluate the situation,'' said Pacific Lumber spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkel, adding that safety concerns raised by the stormy weather might prevent a move to force the sitters down.

As the day wore on, there was no sign of the climbers that logging companies often hire to remove activists, and Pacific Lumber extended the face-off, at least until the weather improves.

With nature-friendly aliases such as ``Wren'' and ``Remedy,'' the tree sitters in the Freshwater Creek area of Humboldt County spent the rainy day shrouded in plastic tarps on platforms, some more than 100 feet above ground.

The occupied trees are part of more than 200,000 acres of forest the logging company owns.

Pacific Lumber formally served the tree sitters with a temporary restraining order Wednesday afternoon, Bullwinkel said, giving them 24 hours to come down. But the sitters didn't budge, insisting that the ecology of the region was at stake.

In requesting the temporary restraining order, the company argued the tree sitters were trespassing on private property, blocking roads and interfering with its ability to log.