"I have the ability to sense the presence of chemicals that overall people don’t notice. So I’m personally motivated to stop this terrible practice."
In 2003 Lynn and her husband were helping a friend die. They were taking shifts being with him when they heard a noise from the adjacent property and realized that it was being logged. It was this event that compelled Lynn into action.The first thing you see as you pull off the road into Lynn’s driveway is a sign that reads “Pesticide Free Home” and on the other side of the driveway a red sign reading: “Protected Forever, Northwest Land Conservation Trust.” Her pottery studio is off to one side of the house with a forest on the other. We decided to conduct the interview on her porch, where it was just the right amount of sunny and shady. Wind Chimes played in the background while her cat watched us casually. Lynn’s nature is easy going and reflects the calm of her surroundings.
Map of Lane County showing areas sprayed with herbicides in one year. Almost all of the private forest land was prayed.While Lynn and her husband were taking care of their dying friend, they began to hear a high pitched whine and realized it was a skidder. The person running the skidder — the machinery used to drag logs to be stacked in one place — was up way past dark. The noise was making it difficult for Lynn to rest. One night Lynn’s husband came back around 11p.m. from their friends house to find Lynn “crying and screaming,”saying “I can’t stand this anymore!” The next morning the person logging was at it again with the skidder.
Lynn thought to herself, “‘Well, crying and screaming doesn’t do a damn bit of good. I have got to change my attitude … I’m going to do something about this.’” She got on the phone with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and continued calling them several times a day. She was informed that everything the person was doing was perfectly legal, and, if she wanted to, she could subscribe for notification of forest activity. Notification costs only $5. Within one week Lynn was receiving emails about aerial herbicide spraying happening right next to her that before she had no idea about.
Lynn decided “We need a map.” Together with a friend from the University of Oregon Geography Department they pulled information from the ODF website and created a map showing a whole year’s worth of spray in Lane County. The entire map was covered with areas showing it had been sprayed. Realizing that this was not an isolated situation, she began talking to people and lobbying.
On Lynn’s own property, the trees are growing undisturbed. Occasionally she and her husband will harvest firewood or lumber for building projects. Her forest gives a wild and healthy feeling. “It’s a wonderful spot. It’s paradise. You couldn’t ask for better,” she says of her own place. Besides fighting for the rights of the forest, Lynn makes and sells beautiful pottery.
Over the years Lynn has been involved with local community rights organizing efforts. She is also the chief petitioner
for the Support Local Food Rights group which has a ballot measure for outlawing GMO food in Lane County. Lynn hopes for a GMO free future and for private forest regulations in Oregon to follow the example of the stricter federal logging regulations. Her words of advice for aspiring activists is “to start with what’s going to impact you, because that’s your authority to act.”