McKay Community Forest


The McKay Community Forest contains approximately 1,194 acres and is located southeast of Eureka within the watershed of Ryan Creek, a tributary of Humboldt Bay (overview map). The Community Forest is situated along the urban interface with residential and commercial areas of Myrtletown, Cutten, and Ridgewood Heights. The Community Forest was established in 2014 for multiple purposes including public access and recreation, timber harvest, and watershed and resource conservation.

The Community Forest is envisioned as a place for Humboldt County residents and visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy walking, hiking, mountain-biking, wheeling (on approved mobility devices), horseback-riding, learning, and connecting with the natural world. The Community Forest is intended to enhance the quality of life by providing opportunities to experience a diverse, dynamic, and productive forest.

  1. The Forest Stewardship Plan and the environmental study (CEQA document) for the Trail Plan were circulated for public review and subsequently approved by the Board of Supervisors on September 27.
  2. The Northridge parking area was opened for public use on September 29.
  3. Trail building work began by the Volunteer Trail Stewards (VTS) and Delta Force. A total of 233 volunteers logging 998 crew hours over four months, with coordination and guidance by Robert Vogt and Dennis Houghton.
  4. The Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) was submitted to CAL-FIRE for review and approval. BBW was the lead forester with assistance from SHN and Stantec.
  5. Planning efforts began with Redwood Community Action Agency for an off-channel habitat restoration project along the Cutten Branch of Ryan Creek.

Current Status of Trails and Access Points

The Northridge Parking Area (located on Northridge Road in Cutten) is open and provides access to approximately four miles of designated trails. The trails at Northridge are still in development but ready for public use. The Northridge Parking Area will be the primary access point to the Community Forest for the near future.

McKay Community Forest Trails

McKay Trails 08.22.22

Click the map for a larger view of the McKay Community Forest trails. 

The trail network will continue to expand over the next several years in a logical progression. Humboldt County is working closely with the Volunteer Trail Stewards, Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association, and others to build sustainable trails that are compatible with the forest landscape. A total of ten bridges will be required to connect the various trail units.

The Community Forest along Harris Street near Redwood Acres does not have a formal trailhead. Efforts are ongoing to develop a trailhead, construct appropriate trails, and install signs to clarify property lines, which are not obvious and do not align with natural features and landmarks. The Community Forest near Redwood Acres is expected to be formally open for public use later in 2023.

Connecting the northern and southern portions of the Community Forest is challenging due to the presence of a privately owned residential parcel within the Community Forest. Connecting the northern and southern portions will require securing an easement on the east side of the North McKay Ranch subdivision which surrounds Redwood Fields.

Advisory Group

The role of the McKay Community Forest Advisory Group is to share community perspectives, identify needs and opportunities, provide feedback on proposed actions, and make recommendations. The Advisory Group has three permanent positions for representatives from the City of Eureka, Wiyot Tribe, and Humboldt Trails Council and six at-large positions which are filled annually through an application process in December.

Meetings will be held at the City of Eureka’s Adorni Center Conference Room (1011 Waterfront Drive) on the following dates from 3:30 to 5:00 pm and are open to the public:

  • January 24, 2023
  • April 25, 2023
  • July 25, 2023
  • October 24, 2023

Meeting Materials

Annual Reports

McKay Community Forest 2022 Annual Report

Trail Plan

The McKay Community Forest Trail Plan (December 17, 2020) provides a blueprint for the development of trails, access points, and amenities to support recreational and educational activities within the Community Forest. The Trail Plan describes the overall goals, objectives, guiding principles, design standards, and construction practices for building sustainable trails to support outstanding outdoor experiences for a diversity of trail users. The Trail Plan proposes a trail network with 31 miles of multi-use roads, multi-use trails, hiking trails, and mountain bike trails, with additional trails to be considered in the future.

Trail Plan (49 Mb) 

Full CEQA Document (Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration) (25 Mb)

Notice of Intent (154 kb)

Forest Stewardship Plan

The McKay Community Forest Stewardship Plan (September 13, 2022) is the County’s guidance document for managing the Community Forest through the next ten to fifteen years. The Stewardship Plan addresses non-recreation aspects of managing the Community Forest, including silviculture, fire risk reduction, habitat restoration, carbon sequestration, monitoring, and adaptive management. The Forest Stewardship Plan describes existing conditions within the Community Forest, defines the management goals and objectives, presents the overall management approach, establishes guiding principles and conservation measures, and highlights the initial priorities.

Forest Stewardship Plan (full document) (43 Mb)

Presentation Slides from May 12, 2022 Informational Meeting

McKay Community Forest Aerial View

McKay Community Forest aerial photo

Phase 2 Property Acquisition

In June 2020, Humboldt County acquired approximately 197 acres contiguous to the south end of the Phase I property as the Phase II expansion of the Community Forest.  

Phase 2 Staff Report

Phase 2 Expansion Maps

Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan

On April 19, 2022, Humboldt County submitted a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) to CAL FIRE for review and approval (1-22NTMP-00003-HUM). The NTMP is a regulatory document demonstrating how the County intends to comply with the California Forest Practice Rules and associated laws and regulations. Technical studies to support the NTMP include a forest inventory and analysis, inventory of controllable sediment discharge sites, and geomorphic and geological analysis. The review process for the NTMP will extend through the summer of 2022.


  • Green Diamond Resource Company
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • City of Eureka
  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • California Wildlife Conservation Board
  • California Department of Housing and Community Development
  • California Coastal Conservancy
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Humboldt County Headwaters Fund
  • Redwood Community Action Agency
  • City of Arcata
  • California Conservation Corps
  • Humboldt Trail Council (Volunteer Trail Stewards)
  • Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association
  • Redwood Acres

Background Documents

Project Overview (April 2014)

Project Report (April 7, 2014)

Project Report Maps (April 7, 2014)

Historic Profile of the McKay Tract (March 2014)

Forestry Documents

Cash Flow Analysis of Timber Management (December 2013)

Logging Road Assessment Report (March 2014)

Joint Timber Management Plan (April 2014)

Northern Spotted Owl Monitoring Report (December 2019)

Special-Status Plant Survey Report (September 2019)

Wetland Inventory Report (June 2018)