Greetings … The Willits By-Pass is another of the CALTRANS coordinated attacks on our North Coast environment. CALTRANS is waging a multi-phase campaign starting from the north with the Smith River 197/199 STAA “improvements,” the Arcata-Eureka 101 corridor “improvements”, the Richardson Grove “improvements” and the Willits By-Pass. All of these projects are related and interconnected for the purpose of facilitating STAA truck access and creating a second Interstate Route as an alternate to Interstate 5.
A coalition of groups opposed to the project is organizing non-violent protests and on-going non-violence training. A support demonstration against the project is set for Monday, January 28. Meet at the Evergreen Mall in Willits at 9:00AM – look for the big lumberjack statue. Shuttles will take participants to the site. You are urged to bring signs with the motto “Save Our Little Lake Valley” (SOLV.) Here is the announcement of the action and contact information:
We last updated you in November re. this Caltrans boondoggle project in Mendocino County that would affect significant wetlands, an oak woodland, salmon and steelhead habitat and endangered plant species. Now, after delays and false starts, construction on the Willits Bypass is officially set to begin Jan. 28, 2013. Caltrans has received their last remaining permits from the Water Quality Board and State Fish and Wildlife Departments, giving them the green light to “top” and limb oaks, remove vegetation in the Bypass footprint and punch a haul road into the wetlands to install the first “test” pylons.
A lawsuit filed by Willits Environmental Center, Environmental Information & Protection Center, Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club Coast Redwood Chapter is in federal court but was recently denied a request for a preliminary injunction, leaving direct action as the only option to protect the sensitive habitat of Little Lake Valley from irreparable harm.
Nonviolent civil disobedience trainings are being offered and the resistance to this wasteful, destructive and unnecessary project is building. Tours of the ecological footprint of the project area are being arranged.
This concrete and asphalt assault will have long term negative impacts on the land, water, fish, endangered species, and the rural quality of life. The Bypass is part of Caltrans’ larger plan to pave a four lane freeway from the Mexican border to Canada through road widening projects like those in Richardson Grove and on the Smith River (Hwy 197/199).
The north coast needs your support!