Weaverville Community Forest
Last year was a great year in the Weaverville Community Forest. The community’s partnership with the federal land managers – the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service – was strengthened as we worked together. In December, the District and the Forest Service entered into a new, 10-year cooperative agreement for almost all of the Forest Service lands in the Weaverville basin to be managed as a part of the Weaverville Community Forest (WCF). This will increase the size of the community forest to about 13,000 acres. The initial community forest was formed in 2005 from 984 acres of Bureau of Land Management lands. The same principles that have guided stewardship on the BLM lands will now be used to manage the entire community forest. These strategic efforts include the following:
- Promote healthy forest stands and reduce fire hazards through vegetation management
- Road and trail maintenance and obliteration to improve or maintain water quality
- Weed management
- Watershed and wildlife habitat improvement
- Cultural resources protection and interpretation
- Effectiveness monitoring
- Community outreach and outdoor education
- Increased recreational use
The District understands the importance of planning AND implementing projects at the same time. So we put down our pens and picked up our tools to implement a number of projects in 2008 with the BLM. This plan focused on smaller stewardship projects that did not involve the removal of merchantable timber. Instead, these projects met other stewardship objectives using funds earned from the timber sale in 2007. Fuels reduction work continued in the vicinity of the 2007 timber harvest and firewood was sold. Additional small diameter trees were removed and will be the source of firewood this year. Brush was removed in the Grub Gulch area of the Oregon Fire to in-crease growth of conifer seedlings and additional trees were planted. The “Christmas Tree Farm” was replanted and Douglas Fir seedlings were cared for throughout the summer, resulting in a 95 percent survival rate.
A new trail was constructed along Weaver Creek, extending Weaver Basin Trail system from Mill Street to the Industrial Park. A blackberry eradication project was completed along portions of this same trail. A crew from the Trinity River Conservation Camp built the mile-long trail in May by cutting away huge blackberry thickets to clear a route. Then a herd of 32 goats was brought in for two weeks to browse back the new shoots.
Getting people out to the community forest is key to its continued success. We gave a number of tours of the community forest in 2008 to showcase the projects on BLM lands and to assist with efforts to expand it onto USFS lands. Interpretive tours were provided to:
- General Accountability Office of Congress (April 17)
- Humboldt State University Natural Resources Class (April 3)
- BLM Resource Advisory Committee (June 11)
- California Association of Conservation Districts Forestry Committee (August 14)
- University of California Cooperative Extension Roads Workshop (September 13)
- Congressman Herger (October 6)
- East African Group Study Exchange Team (November 14)
Much good is derived from involving the community in the forest and its management. The 2008 Community Firewood project was a great success. Wood purchased by TCRCD from BLM was prepped and sold for local household heating use. The Lowden Aquatic Park Project (LAPP) worked with TCRCD staff for the second year to collect Douglas Fir boughs from the forest. These were used to make holiday wreaths and swags as a fundraiser for LAPP and to decorate downtown Weaverville.
In 2008, the District was able to obtain 102,800.00 in additional funding for the forest from other sources, by leveraging WCF Stewardship funds obtained through the 2007 timber sale. These funds will be used to assist with reducing impacts of wildfire on the streams in Weaverville basin, to improve the forest stands in the Grub Gulch area, to storm proof Democrat Gulch Road and to develop an educational brochure for trails in the West Weaver Creek Mining District.