City Forests

Community-based forestry is a participatory approach to forest management that strengthens communities’ capacity to build vibrant local economies while protecting and enhancing their local forest ecosystems. By integrating ecological, social, and economic strategies into cohesive approaches to forestry issues, community-based approaches give local residents both the opportunity and the responsibility to manage their natural resources effectively and to enjoy the benefits of that responsibility.

-Aspen Institute


Arcata offers many ways to explore our forests, marshes and community through recreational programs for all ages. Learn more about these opportunities and sign up today.
The Arcata Community Forest, established in 1955, is comprised of 2,350 acres of second growth redwood forest in Humboldt County, California. Community Forests are relatively rare in the western United States but recently there has been an increasing interest and effort to establish community forests. Timber harvest revenue funds forest operations, habitat restoration and management of the forest for recreational uses. A combination of working forest areas, special management areas and ecological reserves create a balanced management approach. Community forestry in Arcata is designed to provide local residents the opportunity and responsibility to manage their natural resources.

Visual Backdrop
& Recreational Draw
The forest forms the visual backdrop of the town and provides extensive passive recreational use (i.e. hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and nature walks). Although the 16,000 town residents own the Arcata forest, stakeholders include the surrounding communities and the greater Humboldt County area.

The forest is a recreational draw in the region due its extensive trail system that supports hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Redwood Forest Bird Checklist
The Redwood Forest Bird Checklist (PDF) provides a list of the 144 bird species that may be found in the Arcata Community Forest.


Watch this 6:06 minute video to learn more about the Arcata Community Forest and how it is managed.

Example for Other Communities
The Arcata Community Forest has served as an example for other communities that have wished to acquire and manage community forest lands. For those interested in doing this, access Acquiring and Managing A Community-Owned Forest: A Manual for Communities (PDF).

Helpful Online Resources
Below are links to resources about the Arcata Community Forest and community forestry: Offset Your Carbon Footprint, Purchase Carbon Offsets