The Weaverville Community Forest is an award-winning partnership between the BLM, the US Forest Service and the Trinity County RCD to manage 13,000 acres of federal land as a community forest. Using a federal contracting tool called Stewardship Contracting (enacted as a pilot program in 2003), our federal partners have entered into ten year stewardship contracts with the RCD to actively manage these lands for forest health objectives. This forest is located within the Weaverville basin and supports a variety of activities, including intensively used trails, firewood sales, fuels reduction projects, forest thinning and logging. With the overarching goals, as expressed by the community, of high visual quality, fire resiliency and improved forest health, the RCD works with its partners to achieve these goals through its five year strategic plan, annual operation plans and annual reporting.
For Weaverville and surrounding communities, this unique Forest Stewardship model offers a way to recruit and sustain local involvement in the management of federal lands for local needs and desires by matching the resource needs of federal land managers with the skills of a locally run conservation district. In particular, the Weaverville Community Forest embodies the spirit of Stewardship Contracting, because of its high level of public involvement, broad range of objectives, and diverse interests of the community. The historical model of timber-based economies is changing, as it must, to become an opportunity for multi-use, community-driven forest management that creates and retains living wage jobs in an otherwise economically challenged rural community. This project provides timber for the town mill, educational and historical venues for local and tourist populations, and maintains high visual quality for the town residents. This community forest-themed Stewardship Contract is being closely watched in DC and around the country, because it is the only project that truly embraces the Forest Stewardship concept.
The Weaverville Community Forest hopes to keep expanding its opportunities by providing community involvement on a number of levels, and by continuing to strengthen the connections between the land and its people.