Tree had been home for two years to activist Julia Butterfly Hill
The small hamlet of Stafford, California is the site of a landslide that originated on PL/Maxxam land that destroyed seven families’ homes.
Stafford is also home to the Stafford Giant, an ancient redwood tree now known to the world as Luna. The tree was named Luna by forest activists who used thelight of the full moon to rig a treesitting platform 180 feet high in the redwood in October, 1997.
On December 10, 1997 Julia Butterfly Hill climbed into the tree to protect the magnificent redwood and to help make the world aware of the plight of the ancientforests. From her perch she carried out a tremendous amount of outreach to politicians, religious leaders, school children and citizens worldwide.
After two years of risking her life, Julia, with the help of members of the US Steelworkers of America and other forest activists, successfully negotiated thepermanent protection of Luna and a nearly three-acre buffer zone. The tree was protected by a Deed of Covenant, similar to a conservation easement that is held bythe land trust Sanctuary Forest.
The Luna Preservation Agreement, signed by Julia Hill and PL/Maxxam Corp., was designed to protect Luna in perpetuity so the tree could live for anothermillennium. On Thanksgiving weekend it was discovered that a critical cut had been made into Luna by a large chainsaw.
The perpetrator made one deep and precise cut that went through a significant portion of the tree. While the tree is still alive and standing, Luna is extremelyvulnerable to a windstorm. Judging from the precision of the cut and the fresh sawdust, the criminal action appears to have been committed by an experiencedtreefaller within the last few days. Julia Butterfly was devastated to learn of the injury to Luna, “Luna is the greatest teacher and best friend I have ever had.”
I gave two years of my life to ensure that she could live and die naturally”. But two years is nothing compared to the thousand years she has lived, providing shelter,moisture and oxygen to forest inhabitants. “It kills me that the last 3% of the ancient redwoods are being desecrated“.
Hill described the vandalism as a personal blow. “I feel this vicious attack on Luna as surely as if the chainsaw was going through me, Words cannot express the deep sorrow that I am experiencing but I am ascommitted as ever to do everything in my power to protect Luna and the remaining ancient forests.” Circle of Life Foundation and Sanctuary Forest are researchingwhat can be done to stabilize the critically injured tree.
There is a criminal investigation at the crime site for clues as to who may have committed this spiteful and malevolent action against this permanently protected tree.The forests surrounding Luna are sacrifice zones that were not protected under the Headwaters Forest Agreement.
Other sacrifice zones include the old-growth Douglas fir forests on Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole River watershed. Police convoys are actively trying to stop forestactivists from defending these forested steep slopes that are slated to be clearcut during this rainy season.