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Draft Legislation for Declaration of Policy and Legislative Intent for Jackson State Forest

1.0 Declaration of Policy and Legislative Intent

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to reestablish Jackson State Forest as an old-growth redwood forest, as a living example of mature redwood forest ecology in Mendocino County. The coast redwoods, as the dominant tree species in this area, are an increasingly rare and valuable repository of endangered species, and are unique in North America. Because of redwood timber’s increasing economic value, all privately owned commercial tracts of coast redwoods have been reduced to extremely young stands of trees; therefore Jackson State Forest provides an unparalleled opportunity to establish a mature old-growth forest for the use, enjoyment, and education of the public.

It is the intent of the Legislature in designating Jackson State Forest as Jackson State Restoration Forest, to provide an environment that will do all of the following:

1) Provide a resource for the public, biologists, ecologists, foresters, environmental groups, elected officials, environmental planners, the educational community, and the media as an outstanding example of restoration of a second-growth, cutover redwood forest to an old-growth redwood forest.

2) Restore watersheds and streams within its boundaries to provide the best possible habitat for salmon and other endangered aquatic species.

3) Provide a large-scale protected environment for endangered species that are dependent upon late-seral stage redwood forest.

1.1 Timber Operation

All timber cutting operations in Jackson State Restoration Forest will conform to the following requirements:

a) Cutting of redwoods will be done only to enhance the future quality of the old-growth forest, or to speed the rate of restoration to old-growth state, or as necessary to permit a limited amount of public access for education and recreation.

b) Timber operations will be conducted in such a manner as to minimize their ecological impact. In areas of the forest visited by the public for education, timber operations will be conducted in such a manner as to minimize their esthetic impact, unless this conflicts with the primary need to protect the redwood-forest ecology. Efficiency considerations will be tertiary to ecological and esthetic considerations.

c) All revenue, above harvesting expenses, shall be spent on fulfilling the objective of restoring the old-growth ecology of Jackson Restoration State Forest.

 

1.2 Management of the Forest

The management of the Forest shall be shared between the Department of Forestry and the Department of Parks and Recreation, with the Department of Parks having primary responsibility for determining overall management policy and maintenance of recreation and education facilities, and the Department of Forestry having primary responsibility for forest and watershed restoration and timber operations.

Income from the state forest property will sustain all costs of non-recreational operation and provide income for restoration, research, and education activities. Expenses incurred specifically for providing recreation opportunities with the forest will be borne by the recreational users or funds allocated by the legislature for this purpose.

1.3 Advisory Committee

An advisory committed shall be established to assist the forest managers in planning management of the forest. The committee shall include representatives from: …

1.4 Adoption of a General Plan

The management, in coordination with the advisory committee, shall adopt by …, a general plan for the state forest, which reflects the long-range development and management plans to provide for the optimum restoration of an old-growth redwood forest, as provided in Section 1.0, as well as the restoration of stream habitat conducive to recovery of endangered salmon species. The general plan shall be approved by the advisory committee prior to adoption by the management.

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