On Thursday, December 15th Sierra Club activists with the statewide Great Coastal Places Campaign made a holiday presentation to the California Coastal Commission. In an effort to highlight a proposal by the Pebble Beach Company to cut down 17,000 threatened Monterey pine trees for another Pebble Beach golf course, Sierra Club members presented each commissioner with a small, potted Monterey pine Christmas tree. Each tree was decorated with some of 1,200 hand-written notes/ ornaments from concerned residents from throughout the state, all urging the protection of the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) that makes up the Del Monet Forest.

The trees were hung with notes/ ornaments from residents within each of the Commissioner's home districts (we also presented many ornaments submitted by inland coastal activists from Fresno, Bakersfield, Concord, and Nevada City among many other places)

The Commission will make decisions about the fate of this forest early next year, in what will be one of the most important coastal protection decisions in many years. As if it were not enough, the Monterey pines and all the plants and animals that call the forest home are threatened not only by the loss of 17,000 trees. The remaining trees left standing would also be at increased risk of pitch canker disease which can be fatal to Montery pines.

Great Coastal Places members traveled from throughout the state, coming to the Bay area from Monterey, San Francisco, Marin, San Clemente, Long Beach and San Luis Obispo in order to demonstrate the statewide concern for forest protection and to show the Commissioners that people in their own back yards were equally committed to protecting this threatened forest.

As Great Coastal Places Chair, Tarren Collins said in her testimony before the Commission, "We hope when you return home to your families and the holidays that you will take a moment to read some of the insightful comments from your neighbors and constituents and realize that there is no greater holiday gift you can offer to future generations than a protected Monterey pine forest."

Visit Sierra Club's Great Coastal Places website at http://www.sierraclub.org/ca/coasts/