"The big issue for us," added Jay Holcomb of the Sierra Club, "is that redwoods-to-vineyards conversions are worse than clear-cutting because they are permanent."
Opponents organized under the banner Friends of the Gualala River have enlisted allies among the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, who worry that the project would destroy sacred remains scattered throughout the targeted groves.
"I get mad just thinking about the people from far away who can't wait to buy wine from vineyards that would destroy our forests and ancestral lands," said Violet Parrish, a Pomo tribal elder who lives near Annapolis. "We don't want those vineyards, or the fertilizer and pesticides that would pollute water supplies our children will depend upon."
One thing everyone seems to agree on, though, is that Sonoma County, the lead regulatory agency considering the land deal, faces some tough choices when planners take up the issue later this year.