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Birdseye view of the colt project
Photo courtesy of the California Deer Association

Forest Stewardship Project Nears Completion in Northern California

Since its inception in the spring of 2023, the Six Shooter Forest Stewardship Project focused on enhancing forest health and wildlife habitat in Northern California, is rapidly approaching its completion milestone. Launched in collaboration with the National Wild Turkey Federation and the USDA Forest Service, the project has achieved remarkable progress in its mission to restore fire-damaged areas and expedite forest restoration efforts in the western United States.

February 9, 20242 min read

Part of the Six Shooter Forest Stewardship Project was a timber sale—the Colt Timber Sale, where fire-damaged timber across 2,746 acres of land was removed, marking a crucial step towards preparing that landscape for reforestation. Notably, the project has successfully delivered salvaged timber to various sawmills, including 713 truckloads of ponderosa pine to Gilchrist Forest Products, 382 truckloads of white fir and ponderosa pine to Roseburg Forest Products, and five truckloads of ponderosa pine to High Desert Lumber in Alturas, California.  Additionally, 82 railcars of debarked ponderosa pine logs moved from the Colt Sale to Upton, Wyoming.

Photo courtesy of the California Deer Association
Photo courtesy of the California Deer Association

In addition to the timber removal, the Six Shooter project involved a range of activities to enhance forest resilience, including brush mowing/juniper felling covering 1,547 acres, 490 acres of juniper reduction, 264 acres of plantation thinning and 700 acres of mastication. These efforts are part of a larger strategy aimed at mitigating wildfire risks and preparing fire-affected areas for reforestation.

With extensive wildfires in California in 2020 and 2021 resulting in an excess of fire-killed timber requiring harvesting, sawmills in Northern California faced limited capacity due to ongoing efforts to harvest the abundance of burned trees. The typical fate for these scorched trees would have been to pile and burn them to clear the landscape, however, Devils Tower Forest Products in Wyoming, could handle the additional, fire-damaged timber. Concurrently, Forestry First, LLC was making significant financial investments in rail sidings, rail cars, bunks, retrofits and debarking equipment, and investing countless hours negotiating logistics with the railroads. As the stars aligned, the Colt Sale became a Timber Transport Pilot, further expediting restoration efforts in this fire-affected area.

Logs loaded onto railcars to be moved to Upton, WY. Photo courtesy of the California Deer Association.
Logs loaded onto railcars to be moved to Upton, WY. Photo courtesy of the California Deer Association.

The Six Shooter project provided multiple benefits and contributed to significant ecological benefits, including enhanced habitat for wild turkey and other wildlife, reduced catastrophic wildfire risk in the Klamath River basin, carbon sequestration and improved recreational value in the area. Furthermore, the Colt Timber Sale produced enough wood to build approximately 350 houses that are 2,000 square feet in size.

As a part of the 20-year National Master Stewardship Agreement between NWTF and the Forest Service and aligned with the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, the Six Shooter project serves as a pivotal component in forest restoration efforts across the western United States.

For an in-depth look at the Colt Timber Sale, view the project storymap here.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

Filed Under:
  • America's Western Wildlands
  • Healthy Habitats
  • Land Management