Logging protester begins second year in redwood
'Butterfly' spends time writing poetry, making cell-phone calls
STAFFORD, Calif. -- Logging protester Julia Hill has been up a tree,
literally, for a year.
Her tiny perch 18 stories above the forest floor has been her home since
Dec. 10, 1997, when she left terra firma to live in a majestic redwood she
"When I climbed Luna, I gave my word to her, the forests and all people
that I would not allow my feet to touch ground until I felt I had done
everything I can. I still feel there is more I can accomplish from this
perch," she said Wednesday.
Hill, 24, who calls herself Julia Butterfly, celebrates her first
anniversary atop Luna on Thursday.
She said her treesitting is a protest, in part, against "the government
compromising away the health and quality of the environment."
Hill, along with a number of Northern California environmental groups,
opposes a $490 million state-federal deal to purchase 10,000 acres of
forest from Pacific Lumber Co., which is controlled by Texas financier
Charles Hurwitz's Maxxam Corp., a major shareholder in Kaiser Aluminum. The
deal includes 3,000 acres of ancient redwoods in the Headwaters Forest,
near Eureka, Calif.
The money was authorized jointly by the state and federal governments. The
property would be turned into a public preserve; final approval of the deal
Environmentalists believe the entire 66,000-acre Headwaters Forest complex
should be covered by the deal.
Luna is not in the Headwaters Forest, but is about 10 miles away on Pacific
Lumber land near the tiny logging community of Stafford about 250 miles
north of San Francisco.
Hill discovered redwoods when she traveled west after a near-fatal car
wreck in 1996 led her to question her life as a bartender in Fayetteville,
Through fog, sleet, rain, snow, hurricane-force winds and even sunshine,
Hill has been lodged nearly 200 feet up on a plywood platform about the
size of a queen-sized bed protected by a tarp.
She uses a bucket for a toilet, takes only sponge baths and relies on
supplies ferried to her in the backpacks of Earth First! members. In her
time alone, she writes poetry on the backs of pasta and cereal boxes.
Hill has regular interviews with the media, and sometimes will climb down
to the 100-foot level to meet with reporters on a makeshift platform. She
has two cellular phones, a pager and a press agent.
Her save-the-redwoods protest has drawn attention from celebrities, too:
Woody Harrelson climbed the tree to meet her, and actor Martin Sheen and
members of the Grateful Dead band have called her on the phone.
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