We’d like to thank everyone who made it a point to attend the Feb 25th hearing about Sutro Forest, and especially those who spoke. It was a great turnout, and overwhelmingly opposed UCSF’s plan to remove thousands – or tens of thousands – of trees on Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve.
Though technically it was a hearing for comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (details HERE), it became a platform for people to speak of their love for this magnificent forest, and the need to preserve it. Around 250 people attended (the room was full); and
47 55 spoke. (Six more had intended to speak, but because the hearing continued past 9 p.m., they had already left by the time their names were called.)
A more detailed account of the meeting is HERE.
A FOREST PEOPLE LOVE
Sentiment ran [better than] 2:1 in favor of preserving the forest, and celebrating its wildness. It was marvelous to hear the emotion resonating through the room; this is a place people love. People spoke of magic, of an emotional connection, of the forest as a place of refuge, even one that is spiritual and sacred.
Channel 2 KTVU was there, and it covered the Sutro Forest story. You can view that here.
You can see the newscaster’s reaction when she encounters the forest… many of us felt that way when we first entered Sutro Cloud Forest.
UCSF’s PLAN WOULD INCREASE THE FIRE HAZARD
But perhaps the most impactful statement of the evening was made by someone who wasn’t even there… a statement from a professional ecologist who has experience with forests nationally and internationally, and who noted that the Plan would increase the fire hazard by drying out the understory and the duff. He ended with:
“The forest on Mt. Sutro is, indeed, a novel ecosystem with many introduced species. Yet it is a diverse, functioning ecosystem providing many services, the most interesting of which is that it provides a small piece of wild nature in the heart of our city. The forest is old, but it may not yet be mature. There is no forest perfectly analogous to what exists on Mt. Sutro – a cosmopolitan mix of species, much like San Francisco. The fact that the forest is strange to us is not a sufficient justification for destroying it.”
[Edited to Add: You can read his whole 3-minute statement HERE.]