Ten years ago in December a wildlife biologist named Roy Van de Hoek was arrested, thrown face down, and handcuffed forcutting non-native shrubs out of the legendarily wild and beautiful Carrizo Plain. He faced twelve misdemeanor charges, but eventually was given three years probation.
That’s according to a Mother Jones "hellraiser" piece on Van de Hoek from l997.
Carizzo Plain is a place I hope to see next spring. It’s in Central California, but inland, and is said to be one of the wildest places along the Central Coast.
For several years before his arrest, Van de Hoek spoke out loudly against Bureau of Land Management administration that allowed fences and tree-planting in the grassy flats of Carrizo Plain. He especially disliked non-native shrubs, and ultimately was caught cutting them down himself.
Now he’s in trouble again, charged with six misdemeanors, including cutting down a ficus tree without authorization in the Ballona wetlands, not too far from LAX, which is one of the few semi-wild places left in or around the beach in Los Angeles.
"I love the wetlands and I care about the endangered species that live there, the plants and animals," van de Hoek said, his voice trailing off with emotion, according to ABC News.
The ABC story mentions a "Free Roy!" petition. I looked for it but can’t yet track it down. When I find out more, I’ll bring it up.
For now, here’s a picture of my latest hero for the day, from a Sierra Club newsletter. He ran for the board as a petition candidate last year. Wish I’d voted for him! If I’d only known…