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 McKay Community Forest is expected to be opened to the public in the Spring or Summer of 2021, depending on when public health guidance allows groups to gather for trail building.

Trail Plan

On December 16, 2020, Humboldt County Public Works released the final McKay Community Forest Trail Plan along with the associated environmental report for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Trail Plan (full document) (49 Mb)

Trail Plan (text only) (3.5 Mb)

Trail Plan Maps (27 Mb)

Trail Plan Attachment 1 – Road and Trail System Inventory (17 Mb)

Trail Plan Attachment 2 – Bike Skills Park Preliminary Design (9 Mb)

CEQA Initial Study (20 Mb)

The review period for the CEQA Initial Study extends from December 17, 2020, through January 19, 2021. Public comments regarding the correctness, completeness, or adequacy of the Initial Study are invited. Written comments should be addressed to Humboldt County Department of Public Works, 1106 Second Street, Eureka, CA, 95501, or e-mailed to hseemann@co.humboldt.ca.us. The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider adoption of the CEQA Initial Study in February or March 2021.

The Trail Plan provides a blueprint for the development of trails, access points, and amenities to support recreational and educational activities within the McKay 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. The Trail Plan was prepared with an emphasis on accommodating users with accessibility needs to the greatest possible extent based on topographic constraints, following the 2013 Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. A total of 1.5 miles of fully accessible trails and 0.7 miles of improved access trails are proposed. The Trail Plan includes five miles of trails with features designed specifically for mountain bike riders, to be constructed in conjunction with the Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association. Mountain bikers often prefer features that are technically challenging and provide an experience of play and discovery.

A parking area was constructed in Cutten along Northridge Road in 2018 to provide dedicated access to the Community Forest. Additional access points will be located along Harris Street and within Redwood Acres. Access points are expected to be developed near Redwood Fields, Manzanita Avenue, and Walnut Drive within two to five years as large parcels are permitted for subdivision.

Trails will be developed incrementally in a logical sequence over the course of several years, following adoption of the CEQA Initial Study. The first trails to be built and opened to the public will be located near Northridge Road, Harris Street, and Redwood Acres. Trail construction will depend heavily on support from the California Conservation Corps, the Volunteer Trail Stewards program of the Humboldt Trail Council, and the Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association. Connecting the northern and southern portions of the Community Forest will require securing an encroachment onto the McKay Ranch subdivision which surrounds Redwood Fields.  

The Trail Plan includes a proposed Bike Skills Park near the Northridge parking area. The Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association proposes to collaborate with the County to plan, develop, operate, and maintain a Bike Skills Park near the Northridge access point. Facilities would include a pump track, skills area, kids zone, and three sets of flow trails. The pump track would provide a continuous loop with rollers, berms, and other features that allow riders to gain momentum without pedaling by “pumping” the bike with up and down movements. The skills area would provide features developed with dirt or wood to help riders practice bike handling, balancing, and jumping. The kids zone would provide small-scale features with a focus on safety and skill development. The flow trails would have a concentration of technical features with a range of difficulty levels. These facilities would provide opportunities for riders, especially youth, to learn and practice skills and then apply those skills on the trails within the Community Forest.

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

Forest Stewardship and Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan

Humboldt County is working with BBW & Associates to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan and Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) to guide timber harvest activities and watershed and resource conservation. The Forest Stewardship Plan will be a concise, revisable document describing the County’s long-term goals and objectives for managing the Community Forest. The Forest Stewardship Plan will address how silviculture, fire risk reduction, wildlife habitat restoration, carbon sequestration, monitoring, and adaptive management will be implemented over the term of the plan. The Forest Stewardship Plan will also address how forest management goals and objectives will be integrated with other management goals and how the County intends to strive for compatibility with the neighborhoods bordering the McKay Community Forest. The NTMP will be a technical document demonstrating how the County intends to comply with the California Forest Practice Rules and associated laws and regulations. Technical studies to support the Forest Stewardship Plan and NTMP include a forest inventory and analysis, inventory of controllable sediment discharge sites, and geomorphic and geological analysis. The scheduling goal is to complete these plans in mid-2021 and to perform the first commercial timber harvest by the end of the 2021 season.

Partners:

  • Green Diamond Resource Company
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • City of Eureka
  • CAL FIRE
  • 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 Conservancy 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)