Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – The city is preparing to make a long-sought, historic addition of 49 acres to its 2,350-acre Arcata Community Forest (ACF) while wrapping up a harvest in its 1,305-acre Jacoby Creek Forest (JCF).
Meanwhile, the Arcata Ridge Trail’s key crossing across county territory is being finalized while a yak and its associates are complicating life for forest managers and users alike.
The new addition is the Forsyth Property, located just east of Humboldt State University in the Jolly Giant watershed and heavily used by students and others. Appraised at $645,000, the land will be acquired with a combination of state and federal grants. A detailed city press release on the acquisition is expected this week.
When it becomes part of the ACF, the Forsyth Property will be managed in a manner consistent with the rest of Arcata’s sustainably-managed forestlands.
“We can do trail planning and grow bigger trees,” said Director of Environmental Services Mark Andre. The city will work with recreational groups to shape its use.
Jacoby Creek Forest
Logging is all but complete in the JCF, where 400,000 to 425,000 board feet of timber has been harvested. This year’s harvest is about 2 percent Grand fir, 15 percent Douglas fir and the rest Redwood.
For perspective, about two million board feet of timber grow annually in the ACF. The 2018 cut is about 22 percent of one years annual growth increment. For just the JCF, this year’s harvest represents about 35 percent of annual growth.
This year, the city was fortunate to log while redwood prices are high, maximizing revenue. About $540,000 is expected for the timber, with the city netting perhaps $410,000 after expenses.
The city hopes to build a cushion of funding so that logging can be postponed during years that lumber prices are depressed.
The harvest was conducted by John Boak Logging, and the logs will be processed at local and regional mills. Due to steep terrain, cable yarding was used for the first time in an Arcata forest since 1989. The technique involves lifting out felled timber with cables, and allows less road construction and soil compaction.
“Thinning – there’s an art to that,” Andre said. “Those guys did a great job.”
The logging operation will be followed by cleanup operations, rocking of roads and an inspection by the Forest Management Committee in which, like all the monthly meetings of that committee, the public is invited to participate.
Cleanup work will be accomplished by city crews, volunteers and inmates from High Rock Conservation Camp.
The cleanup will yield several cords of wood the city will sell to help fund completion of the Ridge Trail.
Arcata Ridge Trail
The Arcata Ridge Trail, virtually complete but with a gap where it crosses Fickle Hill Road, is about to be made whole. The city is about to submit an encroachment permit to the county to make the crossing official.
The county will do speed monitoring at the crossing, and install signs warning drivers of the crossing. The city will pay for maintenance.
Trail work near the crossing is expected to take place in September and October and involve the city, volunteers and the California Conservation Corps.
A neighborhood meeting was held Thursday night to coordinate the crossing’s opening, and nine area residents attended.
At the request of area residents, the trail has been located away from a water source on city property which serves homes.
The city is incorporating protection measures for future timber management in the vicinity. Other domestic water intakes downstream from other ACF lands have been mapped for future protection.
After the Fickle Hill crossing is up and running, still another access point will be created this winter at the terminus of Beverly Drive in Sunny Brae. That trailhead will invite users to a challenging trail with lots of elevation gain east to the Ridge Trail. A neighborhood meeting will be held to solicit comment.
The Volunteer Trail Stewards (VTS) held a productive trail workday in July, and have another one planned for Saturday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. with lunch between noon and 1 p.m. The VTS hopes of finishing the rehabilitation of Trail No. 4, give the ferns another good dose of water and armor some more of the trail.
Meet at the Fickle Hill Road parking lot near the entrance of Trail No. 9 to carpool or walk up to the south end of Trail No. 4. New volunteers are welcome; bring water and gloves; work will proceed rain or shine.