Why Rainbow Ridge?
Why Collaborative Forest Management?
Rainbow Ridge Collaborative Forest Stewardship Project began as an idea from several landowners concerned about the fire safety and forest health of their Rainbow Ridge properties. Many forest management concerns were expressed over the years including protecting homes from catastrophic fire, protecting water and wildlife resources and maintaining the Rainbow Ridge area scenic attributes. Understanding that financial and technical resources among landowners are limited; a collaborative approach at forest management was suggested during these meetings.
By combining resources and coordinating between like-minded landowners of Rainbow Ridge, there exists the opportunity for groups of landowners to reduce the overall cost and time of treatments, jointly apply for outside funding, share road access and share ideas and forest management learning experiences for the community.
The Siskiyou Land Trust was involved in initial landowner talks. In 2011, the Shasta Valley RCD teamed up with the Siskiyou Land Trust and Natural Resources Conservation Service to submit a capacity building grant and move the project forward.
Why Rainbow Ridge?
After decades of fire suppression in an ecosystem once reliant on frequent, low intensity fires, many parts of the Rainbow Ridge area are densely stocked with trees and understory brush and few protections against fire should accidents or nature start one. Directly adjacent to several thousand acres of US Forest Service land, only a few timber fuel breaks stand between disaster and the over 200 private properties. If catastrophic fire does come, some properties and their forests may suffer severe damage.
Strong interest from current Rainbow Ridge landowners, as well as forest conditions and location, made the area an ideal place to begin developing a collaborative forest stewardship model. However, the benefits of a locally managed forest may be felt county wide. Based on the success and interest of this project in developing financially sustainable, community or collaborative forest management plans for fire safety and ecological health, other areas in the Shasta Valley RCD service area area may be approached for similar projects in the future.
Rainbow Ridge is an important wildlife corridor adjacent to Late Successional Reserve forest lands managed for old growth characteristics. Stewardship of the forested ridge is critical for strategic defense of wildland fires, as illustrated by its designation as a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) border to the City if Mount Shasta and southern Siskiyou communities. Protecting our WUI borders is essential to protecting Mount Shasta City and the surrounding unincorporated area from catastrophic fires. And finally as a prominent part of the Mount Shasta City viewshed, a healthy forest on Rainbow Ridge helps to maintain the aesthetic and ecological qualities of the area that locals have long enjoyed and have attracted visitors from around the state, country and world.