Tuesday, December 21, 1999
A Protester Returns to Earth
JULIA "BUTTERFLY" HILL has finally ended one of the stranger demonstrations
in recent memory.
"Butterfly" became something of a cult hero among the radical environmental
set by perching herself in the upper reaches of an ancient redwood tree in
Humboldt County for 738 days. Her protest drew news reporters from around
the world, and helped draw attention to the plight of the redwood groves
owned by the Pacific Lumber Co.
Hill did not leave the redwood without a firm commitment that the tree she
calls Luna would not be sliced into decking and 4-by-4 posts. For her part,
Hill agreed not to trespass on Pacific Lumber property, and said she and
her supporters would pay $50,000 to the lumber company, which will donate
the money to Humboldt State University for scientific research.
Many of the Butterfly stories focused on the oddity of a woman living on
6-by-6 platforms more than 150 feet high. It was illegal, to be sure, but
it was nonviolent and actually added a touch of levity and wit to the long-
running timber wars of the Redwood Empire. Charles Hurwitz, president of
the parent company Maxaam Corp. and a notoriously hardball negotiator,
Score one for Butterfly.
Return to Home