Press Release - Former Vice President Al Gore and Prominent Fire Scientists Weigh In On Los Gatos Creek Logging Plan

Press Release From Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging (NAIL). Los Gatos, CA
Release Date: Monday, November 27, 2006.

Former Vice President Al Gore and Prominent Fire Scientists Weigh In On Los Gatos Creek Logging Plan

Efforts to protect the Los Gatos Creek Watershed from a logging plan proposed by the San Jose Water Company (SJWC) received prominent backing in recent days - eliciting support from Former Vice President Al Gore as well as some of the country's most prominent fire scientists. The plan to log over 1,000 acres of redwood trees in a vital watershed adjacent to Silicon Valley led to the formation of the community group Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging (N.A.I.L) to fight the plan. Nearly 5,000 signatures have been collected in opposition.  Mr. Gore is among those who have signed the petition.

Former Vice President Al Gore became aware of the plan through his viewing of a Google Earth virtual flyover of the logging zone that showed the location of the logging and its proximity to thousands of local residents. He had words of praise for NAIL and criticism for the logging plan. "I support Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging in their diligent efforts to inform themselves and their community about the details of the San Jose Water Company proposal to log more than one thousand acres of redwoods in the Los Gatos Creek Watershed. The proposal is deeply flawed, the commercial logging of these trees simply makes no sense."  Over 100,000 Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz Mountain residents obtain drinking water from the creek.  In the words of the former Vice President, "Forests like these are worth fighting to save". Mr. Gore also spoke of the vital role this forest plays in the ecosystem. "As one of the largest stands of coastal redwoods in Santa Clara County and adjacent to Silicon Valley, this healthy forest is performing many vital unseen functions including storing carbon dioxide, which reduces global warming."

Residents have long stated that the plan to log the largest, most fire resistant trees will increase fire hazards in the watershed. Some of the country's most prominent fire experts have studied the logging plan and visited the site of the proposed logging. Reports from Dr. Scott Stephens, Professor of Fire Science at the University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Philip Omi, Professor, Forest Fire Scientist at Colorado State University; and Richard Montague, former Western Regional Director of the United States Forest Service and President of Firewise 2000 are being submitted to the California Department of Forestry.  Dr. Mark Finney, Research Forester for the United States Forest Service in Missoula, Montana and the author of the FlamMap computer model for studying fire behavior, reviewed and concurred with the report written by Dr. Stephens but did not visit the site. The FlamMap model was used by SJWC in the Fire Hazard Assessment contained within the logging plan.  

Mr. Montague had this to say in his report. "It is my opinion that fire spread, fire intensity and flame lengths will be much higher after timber harvest than if the coast redwoods and Douglas fir stands within the watershed are left in their natural state." Dr. Stephens stated, "If thinning occurred it would open up the canopy and this would probably result in a forest with higher fire hazards." The experts also refuted the results of a fire hazard assessment submitted by the San Jose Water Company. "The report is misleading insofar as it builds an apparent rationale for timber harvest under the guise of wildfire hazard reduction" according to Dr. Omi.

Issues of potential damage to water quality and increased landslide danger have also been raised by residents and corroborated by hydrology and water quality reports submitted to the California Department of Forestry as part of the logging plan review process.

Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging - N.A.I.L.

For more information contact:
Kevin Flynn - NAIL
email: keflynn at
phone: 408-832-7180


Terry Clark - NAIL
email: taclark at
phone: 408-353-3454

Rebecca Moore
November 28, 2006