National Forests in California
National Forests in California by J. Zimmerman,
National Forests cover one fifth the land in California. What is their
purpose? Where are they. And what can you see there?
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What is a National Forest?
[Check out National Forest of the Californian
National Forests are forested lands publicly
owned by the United States of America and managed by the national Forest
Service, a Federal agency (within the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
- The Forest Service is the largest forestry research organization in the
world. It provides technical and financial assistance to State and private
- National forests encompass 191 million acres (8.5% of the land area in the
United States) nationally, an area equivalent to the size of Texas.
- The Forest Service managers help people to share and enjoy the forest,
while conserving the environment for future generations. Gifford Pinchot, the
first Chief of the Forest Service, gave the mission of the Forest Service as,
"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in
the long run."
- Congress established the Forest Service in 1905 to provide quality water
and timber for the Nation's benefit. Since then, Congress directed the Forest
Service to manage national forests for additional multiple uses and benefits
and for the sustained yield of renewable resources (water, forage, wildlife,
wood, and recreation).
- 155 national forests.
- The National Forest System contains land in 44 States, Puerto Rico, and
the Virgin Islands.
- To explore a National Forest, you usually do not pay a charge for day use.
There is usually a small charge for overnight camping.
What are the main features of the National Forests in California?
- Cover 20% of the land in California.
- Total acres of NFS Lands = 20,061,888 acres (NF source, October, 2001).
- Produce almost half the state's runoff water. Many of California's
National Forests were created to safeguard and preserve water supplies vital
to the economic and environmental health of California.
- Prohibits clear-cutting, which can cause excessive erosion and
sedimentation buildup in streams.
- Prevents uncontrolled fires, which can destroy entire forests, leading to
massive erosion and water pollution. Monitors and controls natural
low-burning, low-temperature ground fires, which periodically clear forests of
brush. This helps maintain forest stability.
National Forests in Northwest California
In North California to the Oregon border. Contains Marble Mountain Wilderness
and Siskiyou Wilderness. North of Trinity Alps Wilderness.
East of Uriah and Willits; south-west of Red Bluff. South of Trinity National
Forest. Contains Snow Mountain Wilderness in the South and Yolla Bolly Middle
Eel Wilderness in the North.
East of Six Rivers National Forest.
- Six Rivers
A long narrow band in North California, 10-to-40-miles inland from the Pacific
ocean. East of Crescent City, Trinidad, Arcata, Eureka, and Bridgeville. West
of Klamath National Forest, Trinity National Forest, and Trinity Alps
Wilderness. Contains Siskiyou Wilderness in the North and North Fork
Wilderness in the South.
National Forests in Northeast California
- Lassen Contains Caribou Wilderness and Thousand Lakes Wilderness. Lassen National
Park is inside the Forest. North of Plumas National Forest.
- Modoc In North
California to the Oregon border. East of Klamath National Forest. North-east
of Shasta National Forest. South-east of Lava Beds National Monument.
- Plumas East
of Chico; north-east of Oroville. North of Tahoe National Forest. Contains
Bucks Lake Wilderness.
National Forests in Central California
Southwest from Lake Tahoe. East of Camino Visitor Center on Highway 50. The
East side contains National Forest Wilderness areas (Desolation, Caples Creek,
Mokelumne). North of Stanislaus National Forest. South of Tahoe National
- Inyo On the
east side of Sierra Mountains. Contains Inyo Nation Forest Wilderness and Inyo
Mountain Wilderness. East of Sierra National Forest and Kings Canyon National
- Lake Tahoe
Basin Land rimming Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake.
North of Bakersfield. In four portions, containing several wilderness areas
(Monarch, Jennie Lakes, Golden Trout, South Sierra, Domeland) The Giant
Sequoia National Monument, at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada, ranges
from 2,000-feet foothills to high-country peaks over 9,300 feet. The giant
sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are in this area. These trees
reach over 270 feet tall and diameters of over 30 feet. These trees are in 38
groves. The largest tree reported in the National Forest System is the Boole
Tree: 269 feet high; 112 feet base circumference.
- Sierra Central California, South of Yosemite National Park; South-east of Stanislaus
National Forest. East of Mariposa, Oakhurst, Clovis, and Prather. The eastern
third is wilderness, including portions of the Ansel Adams Wilderness and John
- Stanislaus Central California. East of Sonora, north of Mariposa.
North-west of Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest. South-west of
Toiyabe National Forest. South of Eldorado National Forest.
- Tahoe West of
Truckee. North-west of Lake Tahoe. South of Plumas National Forest.
- Toiyabe National Forest. East of Stanislaus National Forest. North-east of
Yosemite National Park.
National Forests in Southern California
North of Los Angeles and Santa Monica. In two portions. The East portion
contains National Forest Wilderness areas (San Gabriel, Sheep Mountain,
Chucamonga). Pacific Crest Trail runs about 80 miles through it.
East and north of San Diego. The most southern of California's National
Forests. About 20 million people live within 2 hours travel of the Forest. 22
endangered plant and animal species are reported in the Forest. Ranges 651' at
El Capitan Dam area to 6,271' at Monument Peak.
- Los Padres, in two portions: northern portion is east of Big Sur; southern portion
is north of Santa Barbara. Half of the land is wilderness area.
Bernardino. In two parts north and east of Riverside. Northern part
contains Cucamonga Wilderness and San Gorgonio Wilderness. Southern part
(south-west of Palm Springs) contains San Jacinto Wilderness and Santa Rosa
Resources - Books
Resources - Related pages.