Man Camps on Platform 100 Feet Up a Douglas Fir, Blocks Logging at Capitol State Forest

A Tumwater man who climbed a tree in Capitol Forest about 10 days ago to protest planned logging in the area is still on the tree, a friend of his said Sunday.

"He is going strong, he is well-equipped and he is planning to stay," said Ian Fredrick of Olympia, who identified himself as a friend.

A call to the man in the tree, who apparently is using the name, "Tree Angelo Barksdale," was returned by Fredrick on Sunday. The Olympian identified the protester as "John Barksdale" on Thursday, but it wasn't his real name.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources also said Sunday that the protester was still aloft.

"The person is still in the tree and the apparatus and derelict car remain undisturbed," Bobbi Cussins said in an email. "The area remains closed. Again, safety of all involved remains our top priority. It's an active investigation, so not much more to add."

The "apparatus and derelict car" is a reference to the protester's rigging, which apparently runs from his platform in the tree and is anchored by a vehicle on the ground. The protester said last week that if the vehicle is moved, his platform, which is 75-80 feet off the ground, could collapse.

The man is protesting planned logging in the area after DNR auctioned off some area timberlands -- something the state agency regularly does to raise revenue for school construction -- to a Grays Harbor County business earlier this year. The auction sale name was "Chameleon."

Meanwhile, after The Olympian identified the protester as "John Barksdale," it led to some confusion for Johannes Barksdale of Olympia, who teaches at Aspire Middle School in Lacey.

He said in an email, and on the phone Sunday, that he has been contacted by DNR, plus by friends and former students, asking, "Dude, what is going on?"

Johannes Barksdale, 43, wanted to make clear Sunday that he is not "Tree Angelo Barksdale."

"I am receiving tons of messages from friends and family concerned and wondering why in the world I would climb a tree," he said in an email to The Olympian.

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(1) comment

Fiat Trucker

Where's an ambitious beaver when you need one?

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