During the preceding four years, professionals from the Forest Service and from a number of universities (including the University of California, Los Angeles, Wayne State University, the University of Chicago, and Humboldt State University) had disagreed on the impact of timbering in the high country. Partly this was an academic dispute between archaeologists and anthropologists, between those who focused on the preservation of historic cultural sites and those who were concerned over the use of space for current spiritual activity. Furthermore, the anthropologists were divided over evidence from their field studies. Was the area still being used as a religious site and, if so, by how many persons? This controversy was related to the very nature of American Indian Religion, which is often misunderstood. Much of the spiritual activity is secret and mystical. Also, some informants in the field interviews reported that the conflict was primarily a struggle between conservationists who wanted to preserve the ecology and loggers who saw a gross stumpage value in Douglas fir of $50 billion. It was estimated that the road, which favored Del Norte County saw mills over Humboldt County mills, would reduce the cost of timber to the mills by $16 per thousand board feet.
To settle this question, the Forest Service contracted with Theodoratus Research Associates to conduct a definitive study involving 600 person-days of work and nearly $200,000. The 450-page Report, plus extensive appendixes, concluded with the following:
"Field data indicate that the increased intrusion into this sacred region would adversely affect the ability and/or success of the individuals quest for spiritual power .
"The nature of Northwest Indian perceptions of the high country and the requirements of their specific religious beliefs  and practices associated with the high country make mitigation of the impact of construction of any of the proposed routes (1-9) impossible ."
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