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Bohemian Grove: Rich White Men Lose Right to Log, For Now

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Breakfast at Owls Nest Camp, Bohemian Grove, July 23, 1967
Photo Credit: LBNL Photo Collection, UC Berkeley

Let's face it- The Bohemian Grove has always had an image problem. If it's not men in dresses and funny hats, they're sacrificing infants and deciding the fate of the world at their annual summer hoe-down. Or both. Whatever. When you have an annual secret gathering of powerful white men that includes former and future presidents, people are going to think something's up. The camp was founded in the 1870's by San Francisco's Bohemian Club- artists and writers- along a bend of the Russian River near Guernville on land that had been mostly previously-logged. The artists and writers lost control of the club a long time ago. And it's the "mostly" that seems to have tripped up the club this time- yesterday a judge revoked their logging permit, in part for failing to identify virgin stands of redwood in their 2007 application for unsupervised logging. The Club had not logged for some eighty years and the second-growth redwood was suddenly an attractive asset, but the Grove was too large a holding to harvest without extensive government supervision. What to do?

Divestiture! Often a creative alternative to government supervision. The club gave away hundreds of acres to an un-named Montana conservation trust, thus reducing itself in size to below the 2500 acre threshold required for the permit, originally one intended for smaller land owners as a way to cut through profit-taking planning and bureaucracy. The usual buzzwords are being thrown- spotted owls, salmon habitat, virgin forest on one hand- and forest fires and conservation and sapling-planting on the other.
· Bohemian Club's 100-year Logging Permit Revoked [SFGate]
· Bohemian Club's long-term logging plan draws fire [Metroactive]