The Redwood Forest Council (RFC) is our group of community advisors who contribute their time, expertise & passion for the betterment of the Redwood Region. Over time, the RFC has grown into its role as a direct community voice to the Foundation. In this capacity, it has put forward policies and driven projects delivering real results in the community & the forest. The RFC meets each month to discuss issues of forestry, science, education, and community. RFC members include:
Chris Blencowe, Warren DeSmidt, Sharon Edell, Lillian Frazier, Paul Harper, Art Harwood, Jeff Hedin, Bill Heil,
Madelin Holtkamp, Erin Kelly, Don Kemp, Jon Krabbenschmidt, Jim Larson, Gabriella Levine, Darcie Mahoney, Wesley Chesbro,
Louisa Morris, Linda Perkins, Kim Rodrigues, Nonae Sears, Stephen Smith, Roger Sternberg, David Wright, Amy Wynn, Steve Zuieback
RFFI and local tribal representatives worked together for more than three years – planning and engaging the community – to establish the Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove in the Usal Forest.
In July 2010, tribal peoples from all over California were invited by RFFI and the Wailaki Tribe Corporation to share in a tour of cultural restoration and native plant gathering. Visitors came from all over California to Usal Redwood Forest to learn about this project and to offer advice.
RFFI conducted studies on the areas, including archaeological studies by the State Archaeologist. Usal had been used historically by local native peoples for these same purposes. The State archaeologist identified a location in which no existing Native American artifacts will be disturbed.
The grove was dedicated in late summer 2012. The Cahto Tribe is providing coordination for tribal use of the grove. Native peoples from the Wailaki, Round Valley, and Cahto tribes are involved at this time. The Grove has opened up myriad possibilities. The leaders of this project see many benefits, among them:
Teach others how to cook with acorns,
Include other California Tribes,
Teach youth traditional tribal ways,
Influence how the Usal Redwood Forest is managed,
Ceremonial use of the land,
Focus on all cultural uses such as reed and medicinal plant gather in addition to acorn gathering.
Most significantly they see the opportunity for the forest to act as a catalyst to bring tribal people together to teach cross-cultural respect for the land and educate youth in traditional tribal ways. For more information
Louis Hoaglin Sr., of the Wylaki Tribe, played a pivotal role in kicking off the Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove project.
Since 2017, each class of Krenov students have had the opportunity to tour the Usal Forest and discuss silviculture & hardwood management. After the tour, RFFI delivers hardwood logs from Usal to the Krenov School for milling and drying. After several years, this wood will be ready for transformation at the hands of these craftsmen. You’ve heard of “farm to table,” but this is “forest to table.”
Linwood showcases a dense stand to Krenov students
Fort Bragg High School’s Anchor Academy
Despite all the stereotypes of technology-obsessed teenagers, these students from FBHS love to get their hands dirty! Under RFFI’s supervision, dozens of students have removed invasive species and planted native seedlings at Otis Johnson Park in Fort Bragg and Selkie Cove in Albion. These events are focused on creating thriving ecosystems and forests for generations to come.
Proud students behind a pile of removed invasive plants
Restoration Education Partnership – Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association
For many students living inland of the Lost Coast, there are few opportunities for hands-on, coastal education. RFFI supports the programs of the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association by facilitating access along our internal road network to get students to Usal Beach. RFFI also provides students with educational presentations from restoration and forestry professionals. This is a golden opportunity to inspire the next generation of forest workers and environmentalists.
Students walk along the Peter Douglas Trail near Usal
Oral History Video Series
With generous funding from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County’s Charles F. Flynn and Walker B. Tilley Fund for Sustainable Forestry Tilley Grant, RFFI is embarking on a process to record the past and present history of the Usal Forest. This project is centered around long-form oral history interviews telling the rich, sometimes controversial stories of our founders. Read About One Of Our Projects Here
Camera rolling on Usal Beach’s majestic Roosevelt Elk
This monumental project will eventually provide the first sustained, public access to the Usal Forest in over a century. Spearheaded by the RFC, we recently completed the planning & design phase led by RFC member Louisa Morris. The blueprints are in place, and we are currently identifying funding opportunities.
Usal Hopper Mountain Biking Race
RFFI has partnered with the Grasshopper Adventure Series to host an annual mountain biking race through the Usal Redwood Forest. The race features three loops between 32 and 60 miles long with 4,100 to 8,500 feet of elevation change. Not for the faint of heart!
RFFI partners with the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology Laboratory to host an annual bioblitz, empowering citizen scientists to document the spread of sudden-oak death on Usal. So far, test results have come back negative. However, scientists warn that the arrival of SOD is a matter of “when,” not “if.” With this in mind, it is important for us to continue monitoring the forest’s health.
Bay laurels are among the most virulent vectors of SOD. The bay laurel leaves are showing signs of leaf blight, but fortunately test results came back negative for SOD
Sudden Oak Death Stream Trapping
Further research has been conducted by UC Davis researchers & Carla Thomas. The UC Davis Forest Pathology team utilizes a different method for monitoring the spread of SOD. Their method of “stream trapping” consists of placing a mesh bag with healthy leaves of a pathogen-receptive species into a stream or watercourse. After about a week, researchers check the leaves to see if they have become infected. If so, we know that the pathogen is present somewhere in watershed above the location of the stream trap.
The image of South Fork Usal Creek was taken just above one of the stream trapping locations.
Invasive Species Mapping
Citizen scientists have helped RFFI chart the spread of invasive species, including broom, across the landscape. Using clipboards and highlighters, they have gathered valuable data across many miles of our road network.
Forest Conservation Specialist Karen Youngblood prepares citizen scientists to map the spread of invasive species.