Management of Giant Sequoia on
Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest 1 David Dulitz 2 Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest is a 4,800 acre tract of forest land in Tulare County managed by the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The
State Forest lies within the Tule River watershed some 22 air
miles northeast of Porterville. Elevations range from 4,500
feet to 7,500 feet. Vegetation on the forest is dominated by a
mixed-conifer forest with over 5,000 individual old-growth
giant sequoia trees. History The Mountain Home Tract has a long history of timber and recreational use. Lumbering began on Mountain Home
in 1885 with the construction of several sawmills. Many
giant sequoias were logged from the Mountain Home area in
the period from 1885 through 1905. Recreational use of the Mountain Home area began at the same time as the lumbering activity. Mountain Home
was a popular destination for people trying to escape the
heat of the San Joaquin Valley in the summer. Several
resorts and a hotel were established at Mountain Home
around the turn of the century. In the early 1940's, old-growth giant sequoias were again being cut at rapid rate in the southern Sierra Nevada.
In the Visalia-Fresno area, the Native Sons and Daughters
of the Golden West made a special project of saving the
mammoth trees of the Mountain Home Tract. As a result of
their efforts, the State of California purchased the Mountain
Home Tract in 1946 from the Michigan Trust Company and
it became a State Forest. Authority and Statutes The statute under which Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest is managed is found in Section 4658 of the
Public Resources Code. It reads "The Mountain Home Tract
Forest in Tulare County shall be developed and maintained,
pursuant to this chapter, as a multiple-use forest, primarily
for public hunting, fishing, and recreation." Policy direction
which is provided by the State Board of Forestry, states that
"The primary purpose of the State Forest program is to 1 An abbreviated version of this paper was presented at the Symposium on Giant Sequoias: Their Place in the Ecosystem and Society, June 23-25,
1992, Visalia, California. 2 Forest Manager, Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest, P.O. Box 517, Springville, CA 93265. conduct innovative demonstrations, experiments, and educa-
tion in forest management. All State Forest land should serve
this purpose in some way." In addition, "timber production
will be subordinate to recreation" on Mountain Home
Demonstration State Forest. The 1986 Management Plan for the State Forest adopted by the State Board of Forestry provides for the following
management guidelines for giant sequoia: old-growth giant
sequoias will be protected in all management activities and
young-growth giant sequoia will be considered as replace-
ments for the old-growth component with selected trees
allowed to grow into the old-growth class. These young
stands will also be considered as a marketable and valuable
timber resource and should be managed as a commercial
species. Harvesting of the young stands should be done in
conjunction with studies to determine the best management
strategies for the species. Recreation The extensive groves of old-growth giant sequoias are a major attractive feature of Mountain Home Demonstration
State Forest. Many visitors come specifically to the State
Forest to view these magnificent trees. Visitor use on the
State Forest in 1991 totaled over 78,000 visitor days. The
State has developed 96 campsites in six campgrounds on
the forest. The decision has been made to construct and
maintain recreational facilities in a rustic condition and
discourage commercial recreational development. In addition,
management activities undertaken on the forest are specifi-
cally tailored to be compatible with the recreational use of
the forest. Experiments and Demonstrations One of the primary purposes of the State Forest is to conduct experiments and demonstrations in forest manage-
ment. Much of the research on Mountain Home has been
focused on giant sequoia. Research on giant sequoias has
been conducted under contract by the University of California,
Berkeley, California Polytechnic State University at San
Luis Obispo, and the University of Arizona Tree Ring
Laboratory. Experiments have also been conducted by the
State Forest staff. Major experimental work has included management strategies for young-growth giant sequoia, young-growth
giant sequoia volume tables, regeneration and response of
giant sequoia to different management activities, fire history,
and growth and yield of young-growth stands. 118 USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep.PSW-151. 1994 background image
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