BLM, partners celebrate 25th anniversary of Headwaters Forest Reserve

Transfer to public ownership was a milestone for conservation efforts


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Arcata Field Office

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A dense forest covered with moss

ARCATA, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management and its partners are celebrating 25 years since the establishment of the Headwaters Forest Reserve on California’s North Coast and are planning public events and announcements celebrating the conservation achievements since the 7,400-acre Reserve came into public ownership on March 1, 1999.

“We have been posting regular features on our social media platforms to share interesting facts about the reserve and its importance,” said Collin Ewing, manager of the BLM Arcata Field Office, which oversees the reserve. “We are producing commemorative posters to be released at the Arcata Field Office beginning March 1, and planning guided hikes and presentations. There will be excellent opportunities to get out and enjoy the reserve and learn why it is so important to North Coast natural resource conservation efforts.”

The BLM will announce hikes, speaker panels and availability of commemorative items in the coming weeks.

The reserve contains some of the last unharvested groves of redwoods on the West Coast with ancient trees more than 1,000 years old. It provides forest habitat for northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets (Pacific seabirds), and stream habitat for coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, all threatened species.

Headwaters is the ancestral home of the Wiyot people, who lived in the forest for thousands of years, and remains an important part of their culture.

In the years since acquisition by the federal government and state of California, the BLM has completed projects to accelerate the pace of recovery from historic logging and to improve habitat for wildlife. Miles of former logging roads have been replanted, sediment-producing stream crossings have been removed and tree thinning in formerly logged areas is improving health of the forest. The BLM collaborates with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on these efforts.

With partners, the BLM has brought Headwaters history to life, completing an interpretive trail segment, restoring a logging era locomotive barn for use as an education center, and winning placement of the Falk townsite on the National Register of Historic Places. Public visitors experience the forest and discover its importance on the Elk River, South Side and Salmon Pass recreation trails and thorough presentations and hikes led by Friends of Headwaters, a volunteer support group.

The Headwaters Forest Reserve came into public ownership after a decade of activism that called attention to the importance of conserving these forest resources, including some the last remaining ancient redwoods in the world. 

More information on the Reserve is available online here:    

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.