A Public Treasure
in 1947, Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is a public treasure.
By far Californias largest state forest, it embraces over 50,000 acres of
Mendocino County, reaching from the Pacific coast to the ridge of the inland valleys to
the east. The city of Fort Bragg and the town of Mendocino lie two miles from its western
edge. It is crisscrossed by almost 100 miles of streams, including Casper Creek,
Hare Creek and tributaries of the Noyo River and Big River. It is a trove of diversity,
home to thousands of species, from the yellow-cheeked chipmunk to the spotted owl, some
abundant, some declining, andsome all but
Because Jackson Forest is already publicly owned, it has the potential to provide
enormous ecological, recreational, and educational benefits without any expenditure of
taxpayer money. A recovering 50,000 acre redwood forest would provide a huge sanctuary
for endangered species, a living laboratory and school for scientists, professionals and
students, as well as recreation, solitude, and inspiration for the people of Mendocino,
California, and the world.
But, to capture this potential, we must act quickly.
A Demonstration of Logging
Although publicly owned, Jackson State Forest has always been run by the California
Department of Forestry to "demonstrate" large-scale, commercial logging. When
acquired, the eastern third was virgin redwood forest and a majority of all the wood in
the forest was in old-growth trees. Today, only two small groves and widely scattered
individual trees remain. Thousands of acres have been clearcut and once-thriving salmon
streams made barren.
Every year, the state continues to sell tens of thousands of redwood trees from Jackson
State Forest to the highest bidder. Areas of old second-growth that havent been
logged for decades are the first choice for cutting. Every year the condition of the
forest worsens, making restoration more difficult and slower.