North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative

View of Pacific ocean from Usal Forest

Usal Redwood Forest is one of the working forests managed as part of our North Coast Conservation Initiative.
Photo by Richard Giegner.

America’s favorite forests include the redwoods along California’s North Coast. The redwood region is known for its raw beauty and rich wildlife but decades of aggressive harvesting, changing timber owners and encroaching development have left this landscape diminished, with heavy impact on the spotted owls, salmon and other species that call it home. 

At The Conservation Fund, we believe that working forests can be financially self-sustaining and environmentally healthy. We’re demonstrating a new way to sustainably manage these famed forests, as a nonprofit owner that uses both sound environmental strategy and sound economics—including a “light-touch” harvest regimen, sales of carbon offsets and a supply of local jobs. We work with our partners to skillfully manage both forest growth and harvest to ensure that these forests remain viable ecosystems for generations to come.

Since 2004, we have owned and managed more than 70,000 acres: Buckeye, Garcia River, Big River, Salmon Creek and Gualala River forests. In addition to restoring the forests’ watersheds and supporting local economies, these efforts fight climate change. Our forest properties were among the first and largest to receive verification as a source of greenhouse gas reductions under the protocols of the Climate Action Reserve.

Face Of This Place: Brian Dangler, Director of The Working Forest Fund brian dangler 390x260

Working Forest Fund Director Brian Dangler is a Certified Forester and an expert in forestland acquisition, management and finance, with more than 25 years of experience. Brian has worked at the Fund since 2008.  How did you choose a career… Read More

Educational Tall Ship In San Francisco tall ship illustration

The Conservation Fund supports efforts to protect places where children can get outdoors and learn about nature. Often those projects involve protecting land or saving camps, but sometimes a one-of-a-kind project comes along. That’s what happened back in 2012 when we… Read More

Buckeye Forest Polaris04491080_(c)_Michael-Macor_390x260

Buckeye Forest (formerly known as Preservation Ranch) is the latest installment in The Conservation Fund’s North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative. In 2013, our Working Forest Fund, with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, enabled the purchase of the nearly 20,000-acre property… Read More

Big River And Salmon Creek Forests Big River Forest California

Our acquisition of 16,000 acres of redwood and Douglas firs surrounding Big River and Salmon Creek ensures that these forests will be protected permanently from fragmentation, development and conversion to non-forest uses. Sustainable Forest Management Across both forests, we have… Read More

Garcia River Forest Garcia River Forest, Northern California

In 2004, when we purchased the Garcia River Forest, a nearly 24,000-acre expanse of redwood and Douglas fir forests along the Garcia River, we created California’s first large nonprofit-owned working forest. Garcia River Forest comprises one-third of the watershed of… Read More

Usal Redwood Forest View of Pacific ocean from Usal Forest

Almost twice the size of San Francisco, the 50,000-acre Usal Redwood Forest, in Mendocino County, is a classic sweep of California coastline. Here, stands of redwood and Douglas fir trees mix with more varied forests, oak woodlands and streams. Beneath… Read More

Gualala River Forest Mouth of the Gualala River

Next door to our Garcia River Forest, the 14,000-acre Gualala River Forest shares its remarkable canopy of redwoods and Douglas firs. Beneath these magnificent trees, the Gualala River courses across the property, providing important spawning habitat for coho salmon and… Read More

Face Of This Place: Chris Kelly, California’s North Coast Forests Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly, the Fund’s California program director, is known for his innovative approaches to conservation, including the Fund’s sustainable forest management efforts along the state’s north coast—now home to the largest nonprofit-owned working forest in the West. A new approach for both the… Read More

Restoring A Forest – And Home For The Coastal Tailed Frog CA-coastal-tailed-frog-Brome-McCreary-390x260

When The Conservation Fund purchased the 24,000-acre Garcia River Forest in the heart of Northern California’s redwood country in 2004, we had something to prove. We wanted to demonstrate that, as one of the nation’s first nonprofit forest owners, we… Read More


Holly Newberger
Holly Newberger Caspar, CA
(707) 962-0712

Holly Newberger is the North Coast Program Coordinator, supporting our sustainable forest management efforts on California’s north coast. If you have questions about our North Coast’s forestry practices, please contact Holly.


Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly Larkspur, CA
(415) 927-2123

Since joining The Conservation Fund in 2003, California Program Director Chris Kelly has led efforts to protect more than 125,000 acres of Northern California forestland. Chris is pioneering a new model of non-profit working forest ownership, supported by low-interest public financing and carbon revenue. He has worked in California conservation for more than 25 years.

Evan Smith, Vice President Conservation Ventures
Evan Smith Portland, OR 97227
(503) 407-0301

Conservation Ventures Vice President Evan Smith oversees our sustainable forestry and small business lending programs. Since joining The Conservation Fund in 1995, Evan has played a key role in acquiring, restoring, and managing working forests across the country. He leads our efforts to use the power of markets and business to advance conservation.