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Senator, 2nd District
Representing the North Coast and North Bay Counties of
Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Sonoma


March 30, 2004                                (916) 445-3375

Jackson Demonstration State Forest Reforms

SACRAMENTO -– The Senate Natural Resources Committee approved legislation to provide new direction for the State of California's 50,000-acre publicly owned redwood forest in Mendocino County. SB 1648, by Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata), would for the first time require California to manage Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) in a manner that would provide sustainable timber production, while restoring the habitat, watershed, and recreation values of the forest.

“We have a serous management problem at Jackson State Forest,” Chesbro testified in committee. “For the past two years no timber has been harvested and it is unlikely that the courts will allow harvesting in the near future. My goal is to bring parties together to update management priorities in a manner that will recognize the numerous benefits that can come from this forest.”

The Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is 50,000 acres of forest lands that were heavily logged by commercial timber operations in the early part of the last century and then acquired by the State to restore. Of the eight California State forests, JDSF is the largest and most controversial.

“The Jackson Demonstration Forest is an important resource for Mendocino county and has been for many years,” said Art Harwood, of Harwood Products in Branscomb. “I hope that the final plan will respect what we have been doing here and the interest of our local comminutes. I will be working to make sure that happens.”

The improved management plan included in the Chesbro legislation is based on a series of recommendations prepared by a Mendocino Citizen's Advisory Committee on Jackson Demonstration State Forest.

The Senate Committee approved the legislation on a (6-3) vote. According to Chesbro, “Our next step is to work with community groups, forestry professionals, and researchers to make sure that the Jackson Forest will continue to provide resources, research, and habitat benefits for all the people in Mendocino County.”

SB 1648 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will be heard next.