Weaverville Community Forest Becomes a Reality
The purpose of the Weaverville Community Forest is to invest the community with a sense of ownership and responsibility for land stewardship in the Weaverville basin. Through Stewardship Contracting, a new federal tool, the Bureau of Land Management and the Trinity County Resource Conservation District have built a partnership to manage 984 acres of federal land as a community forest, through a 10-year stewardship agreement.
Most of the Community Forest is located in the Weaverville Basin between Mill Street and Oregon Street, abutting residential areas like Timber Ridge. The District and Trinity Resource Conservation and Development Council invited people to a community forest visioning workshop in May 2004. High visual quality rose to the top of the list of goals in that meeting along with the shared vision of a forest that would be managed in a way that improves its fire safety and forest health, provides recreational and educational opportunities and produces merchantable timber to sustain the management of the Community Forest.
The District and BLM entered into the stewardship agreement last fall with all of these goals in mind. In May of this year the District invited everyone back to “check our vision”, as Pat Frost, the District Manager, put it and to look at the first phase of forest health thinning that was designed by Baldwin, Blomstrom, Wilkinson and Associates, professional foresters hired by the District. The reality of the Community Forest vision has been underscored with the sale and delivery of power line hazard trees to Trinity River Mill, putting the first money in the Weaverville Community Forest Stewardship account. These funds, held by BLM, will be used by the District to implement other elements of the community forest plan – trails that link the Forest to the basin-wide trail system, erosion control projects that improve fisheries habitat in West Weaver Creek and noxious weed control.
The Weaverville Community Forest is getting attention far beyond Trinity County. Articles have appeared in the National Association of Conservation Districts Forestry Notes newsletter. Assemblymember Patty Berg cosponsored the nomination of the Weaverville Community Forest for the 2006 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards. In her letter she stated, “Community participation has been the cornerstone of this grassroots project. Its success so far is due to the strong and long-standing landowner-to-landowner relationship between the TCRCD and the wider community.”
If you would like to know more about the Weaverville Community Forest visit the District’s website where you can find, among other things, previous articles, notices of upcoming meetings and field trips.