Kin to the Earth: Mark Lovelace
Mark Lovelace was elected to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors in 2008 to represent the 3rd District, including Arcata, Manila, and Bayside. In 2012, voters re-elected Lovelace with over 67 percent of the vote. In August 2015, Lovelace announced he would not seek re-election, and last June, Humboldt Bay Harbor District Commissioner Mike Wilson was elected to the seat. Mark’s term will end on December 31.
Before running for Supervisor, Mark spent many years advocating for a wide range of environmental and social issues, including land use and planning, affordable housing, economic development, active transportation, and forest management. He is perhaps best known for his leadership in creating Arcata’s Sunny Brae Community Forest, 171 acres of redwood forest once slated for clearcutting which was acquired by the City in 2006 as an addition to the Arcata Community Forest.
In 2003, Mark became the President of the Humboldt Watershed Council (HWC), where he advocated for less destructive logging practices and more protection from logging-related flooding and erosion for residents in Elk River and Freshwater Creek.
Elk River resident and HWC member Kristi Wrigley recalls that Mark was always very prepared. “He did his homework and everyone else’s too. He knew the facts and had the figures to support them. He was brave and courageous, and spoke directly to the entrenched supporters of Maxxam and their logging with the same tenacious sincerity as he did his choir of supporters.”
She continues, “He was then as he is today, prepared, knowledgeable, ready to listen and learn and then speak up for the well-being of all, especially the ordinary citizen. He collected, compiled and organized a huge volume of information on Maxxam’s history and sordid logging in Humboldt County. He knew the truth, he had the facts and he always stood up for the public good. We are all better prepared to deal with today’s’ shortcomings because Mark was there, always on topic arguing for better policy, not just participating in partisan politics. He was spot on when it came to addressing and explaining Maxxam’s and all loggings’ horrific effect on water quality while he was president of Humboldt Watershed Council. I will always be grateful
for his leadership.”
During the Pacific Lumber Company/Maxxam bankruptcy, Mark was often the lone Humboldt County resident attending proceedings in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mark wasn’t just concerned with the forest and streams being destroyed by irresponsible logging practices; in 2007, he helped organize a workshop for Pacific Lumber employees to help answer their questions about how the bankruptcy would affect them.
Mark also helped found the Healthy Humboldt Coalition to advocate for sustainable natural resource management, housing, and transportation policies in the Humboldt County General Plan Update, a process that is currently in its 17th year. Mark also helped found Citizens for Real Economic Growth, a group focused on responsible economic development, particularly at Eureka’s Balloon Track.
As Supervisor, Mark played a role in a long list of accomplishments, including working with Green Diamond Resource Company, the Trust for Public Land, state agencies and funders to establish the 1,000 acre McKay Tract Community Forest, securing the County’s long-sought right to 50,000 acre feet of water from the Trinity River, and reviving the Coastal Counties Association.
Sarah Christie, California Coastal Commission Legislative Director states, “Mark has always been a strong voice for coastal protection, and he was an active member of California State Association of Counties’ Coastal Counties Group. Mark served on the Coastal Commission’s Local Government Working Group from 2012-2014, which was key to enhancing the coastal management partnership between the Commission and local governments. He always recognized the mutual benefits in state/local collaboration, and looked for ways to advance our shared mission and goals. As an elected official he was committed finding ways to improve the Local Coastal Programs process to achieve a more effective, predictable and efficient public outcome. Mark’s work was essential in supporting the successful efforts in Sacramento in 2013-14 to re-establish an annual grant program to help fund local coastal planning. Coastal cities and counties will be reaping those benefits long after Mark has left office.”
Mark also worked diligently as Supervisor to advance the statewide discussion around marijuana regulation and pushing for removal of the four lower dams on the Klamath River.
“Though I’ll be stepping down from the Board, I’ll continue to be involved in County issues, just as I was for many years before running for the Board,” said Lovelace. “There are many ways to contribute to this community. Serving in public office is just one of them.”