SACRAMENTO — Sierra Pacific Industries will scale back clear-cutting in Calaveras County in response to public opposition, the company's chief forester said Tuesday.
California's largest timber company was stung earlier this year by public complaints about increased clear-cutting in the 1.5-million acres of forest it owns near Arnold, a former logging town now dependent on tourism and retirees.
The small mountain community has been in an uproar since Sierra Pacific began logging a patchwork of clear-cuts near a scenic highway and above a reservoir used for drinking water.
"We've got a solid proposal that we believe will go a long way to solving most of the concerns, if not all of the concerns--the more reasonable concerns--of the community up there," said Tom Nelson, Sierra Pacific's director of timberlands.
Executives of the Redding-based timber company called a temporary moratorium on logging in the area July 24 to revise their clear-cutting plans.
Nelson made the remarks after the state Senate Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on a proposed two-year moratorium on clear-cutting--logging that removes every tree in 20-acre patches.
Sierra Pacific opposes the measure by Assemblyman Fred Keeley (D-Boulder Creek).
If the Legislature passes the bill before it adjourns next week, a panel of scientists would study the effects of clear-cutting in the state. They would report their findings to lawmakers, who would take action as warranted.