Redwood Forest Foundation
Meet Bill Wilkinson,
Redwood Forest Foundation's New Board Member
Bill Wilkinson joined the Redwood Forest Foundation Board in March 2017. Bill’s background spans many aspects of forestry, though for most of his career he has worked in the field in Northern California. Bill has a BS from the University of Tennessee and an MS from the University of Idaho, both in Forest Management. Bill is a Certified Silviculturist (Dept. of Interior) and CA Registered Professional Forester, as well as, a CalFire- certified archaeology paraprofessional. RFFI President and CEO, Mark Welther, states, “We welcome Bill Wilkinson to the RFFI Board of Directors. As a forester with extensive experience in forest certification, silviculture, community forestry and non-chemical, hardwood management, Bill will assume a vital role in RFFI’s long-term planning for the Usal Forest. He also has a deep understanding of Native American forest practices which will help RFFI’s developing relationship with local tribal peoples. We look forward to the role Bill will play in shaping RFFI's future direction.”
His early career, starting in 1974, was spent as a forestry technician/marking crew foreman at the U.S. Forest Service’s Mad River Ranger Station on the Six Rivers National Forest. In 1986, he transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Hoopa as a forester. When the Hupa Tribe took over its own management from the BIA after 1989, Bill worked as their Tribal Timber Sales Officer for ten years. Bill has written or helped write numerous forest management plans for Indian lands and reservations, mostly in California, but also in Utah, Arizona, and Michigan.
In 2000 Bill joined the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US) as Senior Forester. He worked in the Washington, D.C. office and opened the western FSC office in Arcata. Bill’s primary duty with FSC-US was to coordinate the development of regional certification standards specific to the U.S., to supplement the FSC Global Principles and Criteria. Through this process he observed some of the best forestry operations across the country and abroad, as well as the challenges associated with improving forest practices while maintaining economic viability and social engagement.
In the early 2000s Bill helped start the consulting company Baldwin, Blomstrom, Wilkinson & Associates (BBW). From 2013-14 Bill worked full time for Pacific Forest Trust as the Senior Forester, returning to BBW in 2015, where he still works part time.
Bill’s primary forestry interests are silviculture, community forestry, forest restoration, Native American forestry, and strategies to promote long-term sustainable management of forests, such as certification and conservation easements. His favorite job in forestry is marking timber, preferably under a single tree selection prescription
Bill has always had a strong interest in managing California’s hardwood resource, and he worked with the CA Hardwood Task Force in the 1990s. His thesis was on Non-Chemical Control of Tanoak Sprouts. He is particularly interested in the RFFI biochar program, which provides an alternative to chemical control of tanoak.
With his colleagues at BBW, Bill helped create two of the five approved California Program Timber Environmental Impact Reports (PTEIRs), for Weaverville and the Mattole River basin. In addition, Bill collaborated with his partners at BBW in preparing the California Vegetation Management Program EIR, the successor to CalFire’s Vegetation Treatment Program and Chaparral Management Programs (which is currently out for public comment) and which covers over 50 million acres in California. While with PFT, Bill was in charge of operations on the van Van Eck Foundation’s California and Oregon forests.
Bill brings a wealth of non-profit and professional Board experience, both as a founder and a member, to his new role with RFFI. He is a founding member of the Forest Steward’s Guild and long-time Society of American Foresters (SAF) member. Bill served 10 years as a board member in the Social and Economic Chambers of FSC-US, ending in 2016. He also served as a board member at the Institute for Sustainable Forestry, and is excited to now be serving on the RFFI board.
Art Harwood and Steve Smith introduced Bill to RFFI during the early days of its founding. He has stayed in touch through Usal Redwood Forest field trips and watching his colleagues at BBW help RFFI plan for Usal’s future. Bill tells us, “I am enthused about the purity of the notion of creating a community forest out of formerly overcut industry lands, daunted by the challenge of doing so, but believe it may represent the best hope of forestry in northwest California.”
Bill lives with his wife Jamie in Burnt Ranch, Trinity County. His personal interests include overseas travel, homesteading, swimming and snorkeling in the Trinity River, archaeology, reading about science and science fiction, and grandparenting.