Headwaters Forest is the last unprotected old growth redwood grove on earth. It is a national treasure, and part of our American heritage. Its owners want to cut these ancient trees down. Due to public outcry an eleventh hour reprieve has mercifully put the logging on hold while the government and Pacific Lumber work to negotiate a deal. The situation remains in flux as a small portion of the forest remains protected while logging continues nearby.
The Pacific Lumber Company owns Headwaters Forest. Pacific Lumber had been a model of forest stewardship. The company was debt free, had generous employment benefits and owned vast tracts of primeval redwood. All that changed in 1986 when Charles Hurwitz of Houston, Texas acquired the century old company in a leverage buy out. In an apparent attempt to pay off his junk bond debt, Hurwitz quickly tripled production at Pacific Lumber. Questions have been raised in Congress about improper parking of stock and insider trading during the takeover.
Rare and endangered animals call Headwaters home, among them the Northern Spotted Owl, Marbled Murrelet and Coho Salmon. One of California's three remaining populations of the Marbled Murrelet, a rare and threatened bird, nests in the unbroken canopies of the redwood groves. Up to ten percent of California's wild Coho Salmon, a threatened species, spawn in the watercourse of the Headwaters. Pacific Lumber's relentless logging places the ancient groves in jeopardy and threatens any hope of restoring wildlife habitat on these over cut lands.