Forest And Watershed Restoration

Since the purchase of the Usal Redwood Forest in 2007, RFFI has been committed to restoring a landscape that has been severely degraded by aggressive timber harvesting which depleted the forest ecosystem. RFFI is committed to restoring the essential relationships, values and qualities that characterize healthy forestlands and watersheds. RFFI is developing comprehensive restoration plans as part of a much larger forest stewardship program that addresses problems throughout the entire Usal Redwood Forest. SEE PLANS

RFFI has conducted extensive forest and watershed restoration in the Usal Redwood Forest. RFFI has partnered with Trout Unlimited and Pacific Watersheds Associates and conferred with experts from UC Berkeley, NOAA Fisheries, Humboldt State University, and Cal Fire in the process. The general approach is to conduct watershed evaluation in Usal’s two major watersheds Usal Creek and the South Fork of the Eel River, one of the most important salmon spawning grounds in northern California. We are and will continue to follow up with restoration prescriptions. This is being incrementally applied to the whole of the Usal Redwood Forest.

Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove

RFFI and local tribal representatives have worked together for more than six years – planning and engaging the community – to establish the Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove in the Usal Forest See Map

This grove will be used for acorn gathering by local Native Americans.

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.


Ron Lincoln, elder of the Wylaki Tribe, points to one of the large Chinquapin trees in the grove that gave birth to the name of the Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a cornerstone of the Usal Redwood Forest (URFC) and its parent organization, the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc (RFFI). The unique governance structure provides diverse perspectives. geographically and in terms of interests and  expertise. The Usal Redwood Forest is a sustainable working community forest. Over time, RFFI has engaged the community in planning for: forest management; controlling Tan Oak/ use of herbicides; biochar and uses of excess woody biomass; access / recreational use of the forest; cultural /Native American uses of the forest; the conservation easement; development; and future disposition of excess revenues. RFFI has engaged more than 450 residents in helping to develop recreation plans to address public enjoyment of the Usal Redwood Forest while minimizing the danger and negative impacts of unmanaged public access. The 2011 sale, long-term planning, and work with the Save the Redwood League is providing public access to Shady Dell.  Working with an organization that has the structural capacity to address the many aspects of user safety, trail maintenance, interpretive signage, liability, and user amenities has made it possible to open up an area of unique beauty to the public.


“Mother of the Forest” by Michael Bagdonas.
From “Paint The Forest,” a nationwide juried art and photo competition.

The Art Contest captured both the beauty and plight of our nation’s forests and was endorsed by the United Nations. Paint the Forests engaged thousands of participants and observers across the nation.

Northcoast Biochar

North Coast BiocharNorth Coast Biochar is a fledgling commercial operation of Redwood Region Renewables, LLC, a subsidiary of the Redwood Forest Foundation. The operation evolved from the highly successful, grant funded Biochar Demonstration Project (BDP). The BDP involved a complex partnership, including the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI), Usal Redwood Forest Co. (URFC), Mendocino County Woody Biomass Working Group (WBWG), Humboldt State University’s Schats Energy Center (SERC), Redwood Renewables, LLC, and New Island Capital. The parties are working to improve forest health through the utilization of excess forest biomass for the production and sale of North Coast Biochar, an ecologically sound, sought after soil amendment.