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.
- Approximately 2.5 miles of trails received shaping and grading and approximately 0.5 miles of trail received surfacing to support year-round use in the Redwood Acres trail unit.
- Completion of surfacing the Huckleberry Trail loop at Northridge to improve accessibility occurred.
- Volunteer Trail Stewards and the Delta Force provided volunteers for trail work.
- Logging road and trail network plans were updated with the goal being minimization of sediment delivery to watercourses and protection of wet areas.
- The Basis Design Report for the Lower Ryan Creek Off-Channel Habitat and Floodplain Enhancement Planning Project was completed.
- A $25,000 dollar donation for development of equestrian trails was received in memory of former Humboldt County Supervisor and Planning Commissioner Seferino Murguia.
- The McKay Community Forest Advisory Group provided assistance with managing the Community Forest.
- Receive regulatory approval of an updated NTMP and complete the first timber harvest operation in the Mid-McKay management unit.
- Complete build-out of the Redwood Acres trail unit including rock surfacing, trail signs, 35-foot-long bridge and a new trailhead at Harris Street.
- Install a permanent bridge across Ryan Creek.
- Develop a Memorandum of Understanding and trail easement for an access point near the Ida Emmerson Hospice House.
- Complete a trail easement on the eastern portion of the McKay Ranch subdivision near Redwood Fields.
- Complete design plans for the Lower Ryan Creek habitat enhancement project.
- Initiate planning for a regional mountain bike event for 2025.
- Initiate a draft ordinance to regulate public use of the Community Forest for addressing unauthorized camping on public property.
- Commission a video project to highlight the progress being made with the Community Forest and opportunities to provide support and get involved.
- Develop a policy for memorial benches.
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.
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 2024.
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.
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 six permanent positions for representatives from the City of Eureka, Wiyot Tribe, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, Humboldt Trails Council, Green Diamond Resources Company, and UC Cooperative Extension and five 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:
- February 13, 2024
- May 14, 2024
- August 13, 2024
- November 12, 2024
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.
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.
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.
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 County is currently working with its consultant forester and geologist to revise and update the NTMP for planned re-submittal in early 2024.
- 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 Conservation Corps
- Humboldt Trail Council (Volunteer Trail Stewards)
- Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association
- Redwood Acres
Project Overview (April 2014)
Project Report (April 7, 2014)
Project Report Maps (April 7, 2014)
Historic Profile of the McKay Tract (March 2014)
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)