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Originally published Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 7:05 AM

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Logging halts after damage to archaeological site

A Native American group is clashing with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and state officials over logging at a site in Northern California.

The Associated Press

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CHESTER, Calif. —

A Native American group is clashing with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and state officials over logging at a site in Northern California.

PG&E Corp. has announced plans to suspend logging at the 368-acre site in the Humbug Valley after reports that a Maidu Indian archaeological site was damaged, the Sacramento Bee reported on Thursday (http://bit.ly/10u1lvt).

The valley is 10 miles southwest of Lake Almanor, which is in Plumas County.

PG&E has temporarily expanded a buffer area at the site from an acre to 3 acres. It is now working to develop a new protection plan for the area, the Bee reported.

"We don't want to impact a cultural site," PG&E archaeologist James Nelson said. "We're very concerned about that."

But representatives of a group made up of Maidu Indian tribal, nonprofit and grass-roots organizations say the buffer zones should be permanently expanded.

The current protections are inadequate, said Farrell Cunningham, chairman of the group known as the Maidu Summit. He cited a house pit at the base of a hillside in the area as an example.

PG&E archaeologists had flagged it for protection but allowed logging within 10 yards, compromising a larger village site, he said.

"Maidus did not live in their houses. Their kitchens were 20 yards away, and they gathered foods and medicines all over this valley," he said.

The timber harvest at the site started last fall under an emergency permit issued by state fire officials. The site is controlled by PG&E, which applied for the permit following last year's Chips fire. The fire burned 75,000 acres between the Feather River Canyon and Lake Almanor.

Maidu officials say they did not receive notice of the logging until after it began. PG&E officials have apologized, saying the notice somehow did not go out on time.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com

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