Up to 40 people gathered at Courthouse Park in downtown Sonora this afternoon to call attention to the plight of timber industry workers.
Loggers say they want to see the timber harvest process sped up. Several layoffs of employees by Sierra Pacific Industries mills throughout the state have made the issue vitally important to the people that depend on the forest for their livelihood .
Most of the people that attended the rally either work for the logging industry directly or have a family member that does. Some expressed frustration that the mill must sometimes import logs from out of state in spite of the mill´s close proximity to the Stanislaus National Forest.
One of the people that we spoke with holding a sign at the rally said she is married to a mill worker. She claims that if the rules in the forest aren´t changed, the consequences to the economy and the health of the forest could be catastrophic.
National Forest officials dispute the contention that the amount of timber being made available to logging companies has varied much in the past five years. Mother Lode Congressional representative George Radonavich says he is in contact with the Department of Agriculture regarding speeding up the timber harvest planning and salvage logging process.
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