Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (S.A.F.E.) was begun in 1979 in response to massive pesticide spraying on public and private timber lands in Trinity County in northern California. Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides and fungicides. Agencies and companies that were doing this include U.S. forest Service, Champion, Simpson and most recently Sierra Pacific Industries. Local citizens became active and formed S.A.F.E. to promote alternatives to pesticide spraying. S.A.F.E. has since branched out into advocating and informing the public about environmentally sound forest management. S.A.F.E. has been instrumental in convincing the U.S. Forest Service, the Trinity County Road Department and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to cease using pesticides on the public lands in Trinity county. S.A.F.E. also took the lead in convincing the Trinity County Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance prohibiting any detectable discharge of toxins into Trinity County’s waters.
S.A.F.E. became a California nonprofit corporation in 1984 and is an IRS tax-exempt 501(3)(c) organization. Contributions, donations and gifts are tax deductible.
S.A.F.E. was involved with the Board of Supervisor’s passage of a resolution banning the growing of genetically engineered (GE) organisms, plants or animals in Trinity County. This makes Trinity County the second county in the nation to ban the growing of genetically engineered plants and animals.
S.A.F.E. has worked diligently for years and succeeded in reducing the number of clear cuts and spray sites on both public and private lands in Trinity County. The have initiated, participated in and won lawsuits on various issues to defend and protect our public forests, waters and fisheries.
Citizens for Better Forestry (C..B.F.) was a S.A.F.E. project for resource planning and management. C.B.F. is now a separate group affiliated with S.A.F.E. C.B.F. participates in many planning processes. They created the Citizens’ Alternative for the Shasta-Trinity National forest Land and Resource Management Plan after the disastrous first draft of the ‘Forest Plan’ in the early 1980’s. The Citizens’ alternative was included and revised through all the succeeding drafts of the Forest Plan and was actually used to devise the ‘Spotted Owl/Ecosystem Management’ revisions for the whole Plan. This alternative plan was based upon ecosystem management principles. C.B.F. also works on monitoring resource management. S.A.F.E. monitors the U.S. Forest Services’ compliance with the Northwest Forest Plan through C.B.F.
As a result of S.A.F.E.’s continuing activities, there is little to no spraying on public lands in Trinity County.
Generally, aside from over-the-counter poisons, structural spraying for insects, a few orchards and vineyards (who often spray organic pesticides) and ranchers, only the large timber companies(SPI) spray in Trinity County. The County does not spray roads or school yards, Caltrans does not spray the state highways and the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (B.L.M.) do not spray on public lands. Many people, agencies and businesses use alternative methods of one kind or another. It’s been a long, hard struggle that requires continuing vigilance, but it is worth it!