Jackson Demonstration State Forest

What is a “Demonstration Forest?” A Demonstration Forest is timberland that is managed for forestry education, research, and recreation. It demonstrates innovations in forest management, watershed protection and restoration, and environmentally sensitive timber harvesting techniques. In such a Forest good forestland stewardship is shown by management for a sustainable timber production. At the same time, the Forest is open to the public at no charge. Demonstration State Forest timberlands are publicly owned by the State of California. They are managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF). As a group, they are financially self-sustaining due to the value of timber harvests.

If you traverse Route 20 between Fort Bragg and Willits you will see a sign that says, “Jackson Demonstration State Forest.” Jackson Demonstration State Forest is the largest demonstration forest operated by the State of California. The forest is entirely located within Mendocino County on land formerly owned by Caspar Lumber Company along California State Highway 20. Logging of the area began in 1862, and intense industrial logging has taken place for many decades. There have been several generations of harvests and replantings. The 48,652 acres that make up the forest were purchased in 1947 and the demonstration forest was created in 1949. Coast redwood is the most common type of tree in the forest, but there is also Douglas fir, grand fir, hemlock, bishop pine, tanoak, alder, madrone and bay myrtle. The elevation of the land varies from 80 to 2,200 feet. Precipitation near the coast averages 39 inches per year, but the average is 70 inches per year inland. The temperature reaches a low of 25 °F (−4 °C) and a high of 100 °F (38 °C). The name Jackson comes from the name of the man who bought the Caspar Lumber Company from its first owner. The buyer was Jacob Green Jackson.

This map shows the extent of the forest.

Map of Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Map of Jackson Demonstration State Forest

If you want to know just how twisty Route 20 is just run your finger along the red line. Allegedly there are 312 twists in the road between Fort Bragg and Willits.

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