Thursday, September 17, 1998 11:08 PM

Environmental protester killed by redwood tree

FORTUNA, Calif., Sept 17 (Reuters) - An environmental activist protesting
against logging of old growth redwood trees was killed on Thursday when a
redwood tree fell on him after being cut by loggers, officials said.

David Chain, who was in his mid-20's, died after pleading with loggers from
Pacific Lumber Co. not to chop down redwood trees near Grizzly Creek,
outside the town of Fortuna, Darryl Cherney of the group Earth First! said.

Cherney, a co-founder of the environmental activist group, said the
accident occurred as Earth First! members were playing "cat and mouse" with
loggers -- fanning out through the forest in hopes that their presence
would deter logging of the world's largest trees.

"They try to engage the loggers, they try to talk to them, or show them
that they are there in hopes that loggers will leave the trees alone,"
Cherney said.

"We hope people won't think it's worth killing people to make a buck," he
said, but added that often loggers ignore the tactic.

"This is not the first time that a person has been hit by a tree, but it is
the first time that someone has been killed," Cherney said. "I'm not saying
they did this on purpose, I am saying that they did know activists were

Officials at Pacific Lumber, a unit of MAXXAM Inc (Amex:MXM) . which owns
more than
200,000 (81,000 hectares) acres of California forests, said the death
appeared to be "a tragic accident".

"Pacific Lumber has one of the finest safety records in the industry. But
despite all our precautions, a trespasser was apparently killed by a
falling tree at one of our logging sites on private property," the company
said in a statement.

Pacific Lumber said the work crew "had no knowledge that this individual
was anywhere nearby" and had followed safety precautions to the letter.

Cherney said Earth First! targeted the Grizzly Creek area, about 300 miles
(480 km) north of San Francisco, because it contained significant numbers
of old growth redwood trees and was a habitat for the marbled murrelet, an
endangered bird that depends on redwood trees for its nesting habitat.

Pacific Lumber, which has long been the target of environmental protesters,
has agreed to sell the government some 8,500 acres (3,400 hectares) of
timberland for almost $500 million under a deal designed to save the
Headwaters Forest, the largest privately owned stand of virgin redwoods in
the world.

1998, Reuters

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