Richardson Grove: Trucks v. Trees

The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) is proposing to widen a portion of Highway 101 that runs through Richardson Grove State Park on California’s north coast.  The project is part of former Governor Schwarzenegger’s Strategic Growth Plan to allow over-sized trucks (over 8 1/2 ft wide) to traverse 101.  Richardson Grove is home to old-growth Redwood trees that range between 1,000 and 3,00 years old.  Some of the Redwoods are 18 feet in diameter! I had a chance to visit this park on my way to San Francisco from Portland.

CalTrans is planning to cut the roots of approximately 66 Redwood trees and remove approximately 54 other non-old growth trees.  According to the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Redwoods have shallow roots and deep cuts can cause these trees to die.


EPIC , the Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and three individuals are suing CalTrans for violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  This law requires CalTrans to create a thorough Environmental Impact Report  before it is undergoes a project that could effect the environment.  The plaintiffs argue that there is a lack of data necessary for CalTrans to properly determine the environmental effects of the road widening project.   



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