Skip to main content

Community Forest

The McKinleyville Community Forest Project Overview

The 599-acre tract of the Community Forest is located along the eastern boundary of McKinleyville and lies south of Murray Road, extending to near Hunts Drive. The forest is within the watersheds of Widow White Creek and Mill Creek.
The property is within the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) boundary.

The McKinleyville Community Forest consists of second-and third growth Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest located near Humboldt Bay in north-coastal California. The forest also includes riparian areas along Widow White Creek and Mill Creek. Other conifer species found on the forest include grand fir (Abies grandis), western hemlock (Tsuga hetrophylla) and non-native Monterey pine (Pinus radiata).

The McKinleyville Community Forest will be managed for multiple purposes including public access, outdoor recreation, timber production, fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, education and research and soil and watershed conservation. 

Brief History of “How We Got Here...”

In 2013, the MCSD board adopted a five-year strategic plan that included for the first time an objective to create a community forest. The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, (McKMAC) a citizen group, voted unanimously at its Nov 18, 2015 meeting to create a community forest based on one of three potential land base options.

In 2015, responding to community interest, the McKinleyville Community Services District and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) created a partnership to aid in creation of the MCF. A presentation was later made about the proposal to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, and the Board unanimously voted to support the concept. At a later meeting of the McKinleyville Community Services District, the MCSD Board voted approval and to consider sources of funding for the project. Beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2020, MCSD and TPL jointly applied for numerous grants to acquire what the McKMAC described as Option 2 for a community forest.

On Dec 9, 2020, the California Natural Resources Agency awarded a $3.8 million grant to TPL for the purpose of acquiring 599 acres of Green Diamond Resource Co. land and then conveying that land to the MCSD.

Current Status

PRESS RELEASE February 2, 2024

On January 31, 2024, the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD), Green Diamond Resource Company (Green Diamond), and the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) announced the close of escrow on 599 acres of timberlands in northwestern Humboldt County, slated to become the McKinleyville Community Forest.

In 2015, Green Diamond and TPL, a national nonprofit organization committed to improving public access to nature, announced plans to seek grant funding for a land sale that would establish a public community forest adjacent to the community of McKinleyville. The McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD), the independent special district that provides water, sewer, parks and recreation, and other services to the McKinleyville area, was identified as the entity best suited to own and manage a community forest.

For nearly a decade, MCSD, TPL and Green Diamond have worked closely to ensure the success of this project. In 2020, the California Natural Resources Agency’s (CNRA) Recreational Trails & Greenways Grant Program awarded a $3.8 million grant to TPL to acquire a tract of Green Diamond property and transfer ownership and management responsibilities to MCSD.

“TPL is proud of our partnership with MCSD and Green Diamond to help realize the vision of the McKinleyville community to ensure this space is protected from development and enhance the environmental and economic benefits of this land for generations to come,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, Vice President for the Pacific Region for Trust for Public Land.

The McKinleyville Community Forest is located within the Widow White Creek and Mill Creek watersheds which are tributary to the Mad River. The forest primarily comprises second- and third-growth Sitka spruce, redwood, and Douglas fir forest and provides habitat for a variety of plant and wildlife species.

“The District is deeply grateful for the efforts of CNRA, TPL, and Green Diamond to get us to this point,” said Patrick Kaspari, MCSD General Manager. “We look forward to stewarding this land for the community and all of our children and children’s children.”

Much like the Arcata and the McKay Community Forests, the McKinleyville Community Forest will be managed for multiple objectives, including public recreation, timber production, water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. Under the guidance of a forest management plan, MCSD will reinvest income generated by timber harvests back into the forest, offsetting costs of trail, access point, and amenity development and maintenance.

Green Diamond is a longstanding private timberland landowner on the North Coast, managing thousands of acres of working forests adjacent to McKinleyville and throughout the Mad River basin.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to establish another community forest in Humboldt County,” said Peter Jackson, Green Diamond’s Vice President and General Manager of California Operations. “After years of teamwork with TPL and MCSD, Green Diamond welcomes the close of this land sale and the beginning of a long-term investment in the wellbeing of the McKinleyville community.”

With the land transfer complete, the McKinleyville Community Forest is officially open to the public, with two designated yet undeveloped access points along Murray Road. Note that the Green Diamond timberlands east of the community forest will remain closed to the public.

“It has taken us nine years to get to this point, but now the real work begins,” stated Kaspari. “We invite the public to enjoy the Community Forest and contact us to help plan and implement the trail improvements, watershed restoration, tree planting, and all the other projects that we will be initiating for this community asset.”



As stewards of the McKinleyville Community Forest (MCF), MCSD will be developing a committee comprised of forest and natural resource professionals, District staff, local tribe representatives as well as members of the McKinleyville public in service to the planning, development, and management of the Community Forest.  We are now (April 4, 2024) soliciting applications for committee members and anticipate having the committee formed and ready to begin meeting in July or August of this year. The MCF Committee Application Information Letter and Application can be found at the links below. You can also pick up a hard copy from our Parks & Recreation Office at 1656 Sutter Road in McKinleyville.

The McKinleyville Community Forest (MCF) will be managed for multiple purposes including public recreation, timber production, fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, education and research and soil and watershed conservation.  The development and management of the MCF will rely heavily on input and support from the community.  MCSD will be holding several public input processes as we move forward to ensure that the MCF is stewarded in a socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate, economically viable and sustainable manner.

McKinleyville Community Forest Committee Application Information Letter.pdfMcKinleyville Community Forest Committee Application (Fillable PDF).pdf

McKinleyville Community Forest Committee Application (Google Form)


Please see an article regarding the McKinleyville Community Forest in the February 29, 2024 edition of the North Coast Journal at the following link: NCJ - "A Really Cool Asset"

Map of McKinleyville Community Forest, highlighting boundaries, roads, watercourses, and future access points.
Printable McKinleyville Community Forest mapMcKinleyville Community Forest Framework Plan

MCSD:  Patrick Kaspari: General Manger,, 707-839-3251

MCSD:  Lesley Frisbee, Parks & Recreation Director,, 707-839-9003