The project is a collaboration among CAL FIRE, the Pacific Forest Trust, Michigan-California Timber Company, and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest

CAL FIRE announced today a $4,072,000 California Climate Investment grant award to Pacific Forest Trust for its multi-partner forest health and conservation project that is designed to reduce the likelihood and intensity of fire spreading across the Black Butte and Mount Shasta forests.

The project would reduce threats to the communities of Weed and Mount Shasta, according to a Pacific Forest Trust news release.

Working with the family-owned Michigan-California Timber Company, Pacific Forest Trust’s Mt. Shasta Headwaters Forest Health and Resilience Project, as stated in the release, “will prevent development on the privately-owned Black Butte property, extend a major firebreak, thin hundreds of acres of young pine plantations, and establish permanent requirements to restore and sustain a more diverse, resilient forest.”

PFT says the project’s benefits will include “higher levels of carbon sequestration and more fire-resilient forests” and they “will be secured by a permanent working forest conservation easement funded through CAL FIRE’s Forest Legacy Program and granted to Pacific Forest Trust on Michigan-California’s 5,000-acre Black Butte property. The project will allow this large forest tract, highly visible along Interstate 5, to remain available forever for sustainable timber production and outdoor recreation.”

The California Climate Investment Program reinvests the revenue generated by the state’s cap and trade program to reduce climate pollution through a variety of projects that reduce greenhouse gases and help California prepare for climate change, according to the release. “Protecting healthy, resilient forests is a key tool in mitigating climate change.”

As stated in the release by CAL FIRE Director, Chief Ken Pimlott, “Investments in forest health are even more critical now because of climate change. California continues to invest millions of dollars into protecting working forest lands which will help increase carbon sequestration and have the added benefit of helping protect our state’s vital watersheds.”

“Conserving our Black Butte forestland in partnership with Pacific Forest Trust and CAL FIRE will help our company achieve its long term vision of environmental stewardship while sustainably providing timber for our nearby manufacturing facilities,” said Joe Gonyea III, the managing partner of the Michigan-California Timber Company.

“We can’t solve our climate crisis without the aid of healthy forests,” said Connie Best, Co-CEO of Pacific Forest Trust. “We are extremely grateful for the support and recognition this CAL FIRE grant provides for this critical first phase of the Mt. Shasta Headwaters Forest Health and Resilience Project.”

Fuel reduction activities are expected to begin as soon as possible while PFT continues to raise sufficient funds to acquire the conservation easement in 2018, according to the release.

“Future phases of the project include additional thinning and forest health treatments of adjacent plantations on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and potentially the use of prescribed fire to further reduce fuels and restore forest health on the flanks of Mount Shasta.”

The project is a collaboration among CAL FIRE, the Pacific Forest Trust, Michigan-California Timber Company, and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. More information about the project is available at https://www.pacificforest.org/conserving-forest-blackbutte/.

About Pacific Forest Trust

Since 1993, the Pacific Forest Trust has been dedicated to conserving and sustaining America’s vital, productive forest landscapes. Working with forest owners, communities, and an array of partners, we advance innovative, incentive-based strategies to safeguard our nation’s diverse forests. In so doing, we’re ensuring forests continue to provide people everywhere—from rural communities to urban centers—with a wealth of benefits, including clean water, sustainably harvested wood, green jobs, wildlife habitat, and a livable climate. http://www.pacificforest.org/