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Help Make Recreation a Priority in Jackson Demonstration State Forest

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Help Preserve Jackson State’s Wild Lands and Trails

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Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) has timber harvest plans for several areas along the Mendocino Coast, operations that will impact up to 80% of the trails and accessible wild lands between Mendocino and Fort Bragg for a number of years. Public access will be restricted during this time and environmental quality will be greatly altered. This forest is the very thing that keeps so many of us living here, that drew so many of us here in the first place. It is the place that we rely on for our mental and physical health. It is also an increasingly important draw for our county's primary source of revenue: tourism.

Local Cal Fire forest managers have worked enthusiastically and cooperatively with user groups such as Mendocino Coast Cyclists to improve recreational opportunities and the trail network in JDSF, but they are constrained by the forest's primary mandate--timber harvest--and the limited amount of funding earmarked for recreational improvements. Volunteers have put thousands of hours into building, maintaining, and improving trails, only to see access closed for a period of time while harvests are taking place. Historically, many of these trails have required even more volunteer labor to be restored to their previous condition.

These timber harvests may bring money to the state and some jobs to the area, but in exchange they impact the coastal economy by affecting a much larger source of jobs: tourism. In years past, timber was the backbone of our economy, but, now, tourism-related jobs on the Mendocino Coast outnumber timber-related jobs by a factor of ten.

The Background:

Jackson Demonstration State Forest: 48,652 acres--the only large tract of public land in Western Mendocino County, and the only State Forest in California that does not have recreation as one of its primary mandates. Jackson is home to scores of amazing trails, numerous cycling, running, equestrian, and mycology events, not to mention some old growth trees amid much maturing second growth redwood forest. These wild lands shelter black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, ringtail cats, grey foxes, and a number of endangered or threatened bird species such as the marbled murrelet.

Timber harvest plans for 2021 and into the future will take place right in the midst of the most beloved and recreated areas of the forest: the Caspar, Big River, and Jughandle watersheds, directly contiguous to the Mendocino Woodlands and Jughandle State Park. This also happens to be in close proximity to hundreds of residences, and will turn these peaceful hills and canyons into raucous industrial zones for years to come. The Mendocino Trail Stewardship Association is advocating for the creation of zones designated for recreation and conservation and for the funding to make this a reality. We need to show our numbers, to show that we love this forest and that it is an essential part of our lives.

We are not against timber harvest. However, we feel that, in California, one of the richest states in the union and one of the biggest economies in the world, our public lands should be used first and foremost to support the people who live closest to them. We are working, tax-paying citizens who use these lands and actively take care of them. We deserve a real seat at the table, an equal voice in the meetings where the timber harvest plans are being made that will affect all of our futures. (Photo by Art Mielke)

Note: Donations made on this website go to support quite worthwhile cause in itself, but not to Mendocino Trail Stewards. If you want to support MTS, please visit our website.

Sign to add your voice:

With our names below, we add our voices to the chorus of people who use these public lands. Some of us live here, others visit from places near and far. Jackson Demonstration State Forest is an important part of our lives, from bike races and mushroom camps to high school and family overnights at Camp One. We walk the trails alone, with our families and friends, and with our dogs. We ride horses and bikes, we trail run, we picnic, we forage mushrooms, we compete and we congregate. We recreate and we live here. We are California taxpayers and, as such, we are the owners of these lands. Our use of the land, as defined in ‘recreation,’ should be a primary consideration, not just an afterthought. Thank you.

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