Logging Fight Burns Bohemian Grovers

Exclusive club's July festivities shadowed by redwoods debate

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Jul 6, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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Logging Fight Burns Bohemian Grovers

Raju Tavadia

For once, the Bohemian Grove isn't being criticized for conspiring to rule the world ruthlessly.

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The Bohemian Club is asking that the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection allow it to log up to a million board feet of timber a year without government review on the storied grounds of the Bohemian Grove.

The grove, nestled in the Russian River Valley near the town of Monte Rio, was originally purchased in 1899 from a logging operation, and has been actively logged since 1984.

Critics say that the grove is over the 2,500-acre limit, meaning that it isn't a small enough to qualify for the eased logging restrictions.

It's also sensitive habitat for a number of species, including the northern spotted owl. The Bohemian Club's mascot is an owl, and each year a ceremonial bonfire is held under the gave of an owl sculpture.

The club has come under fire in the past from a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game for its practice of clearcutting, rather than selective logging which is less destructive of wild animal and native plant habitat.

The club argues that it needs to log in order to reduce fire hazards.

Photo by Raju Tavadia.

Jackson West has heard that women are allowed on club grounds for professional, late-night performances of a sort.

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