Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Honoring The Redwood Chapter Of The Sierra Club On Its 50Th Anniversary

Rep. Mike Thompson

legislator photo

Madam Speaker, together with my colleague Lynn Woolsey, I rise today to congratulate the more than 10,000 members of the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Named after Sequoia sempervirens, the Coastal Redwood, whose greatest forests are along the North Coast, the Chapter remains true to the visionary environmental ethic of Sierra Club founder, John Muir, striving daily to preserve and protect our lands, waters and wildlife.

The Redwood Chapter, founded in 1958, is one of the earliest regional entities of the Sierra Club. With six local Groups in nine Northwestern Counties, it is a potent force for the environment.

Over the years, the Redwood Chapter has marshaled grass roots forces to focus on forest preservation, protection of our spectacular coast, free-flowing rivers and verdant watersheds, sustainable growth management, endangered species protection, and the multifaceted challenge of global climate change. The Chapter played a strong supporting role in Sierra Club national initiatives to protect national environmental treasures like the Grand Canyon while safeguarding our water and air, and battling environmental rollbacks.

Within the Chapter's 25,000 square miles, it has been particularly effective, playing major roles in the creation of the Redwood National Park, design and construction of the Coastal Trail, designation of Federal wilderness areas, including the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel, Snow Mountain, Yuki Sanhedrin, Cache Creek, King Range and Cedar Roughs Wildernesses; designation of numerous State and Federal designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, including portions of the Smith, Klamath, Gualala, Black Butte and Eel Rivers; preservation of the 7,400 acre Headwaters Forest; implementation of conservation management strategies on public lands; and development of recovery strategies for endangered and threatened species, including the marbled murrelet, the spotted owl and coastal salmon.

In recent years, legislative achievements include the passage of the Cache Creek Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (2005). I am especially grateful for the Redwood Chapter's support for my Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which was enacted in 2006, and Congresswoman Woolsey's Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act, which was passed by the House this year.

Members of the Redwood Chapter have also had a profound influence on local politics and policies, through its participation in initiatives to protect open space and agricultural lands, create trails and community separators, protect coastal forests, provide new low carbon transportation alternatives and promotion of smart growth management and climate protection.

The Club also has played a vital educational, service and recreational function. Over the past half century thousands of people have participated in the Chapter's ``Outings'' programs, which includes over 6,000 hikes, nature walks, backpacking journeys, canoe trips within the Chapter and elsewhere in California, as well as hundreds of trail building projects and other service activities.

Madam Speaker, it is difficult to imagine what this area would be like without the Redwood Chapter's passionate resolve to protect the land and life that sustains us. What if there was no wilderness retreat in our coastal headlands? What if our cities were merged in endless sprawl? What if our pure rivers and streams were diverted, degraded and disrespected? We can be thankful that is not the case, and largely because the members of the Redwood Chapter have been such effective advocates for the environment.

So today, Congresswoman Woolsey and I congratulate the members of Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club on their achievements in their first fifty years. And we look forward to the Chapter's continued active participation in public policy debates and to hearing their member's loud, clear, reasoned voice for a healthy, vibrant, natural world.