The Wilderness Trail Crew is performing trail restoration activities within the Almanor Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest. The crew members are doing trail maintenance, hand thinning, limbing, low-stumping, and bucking of dead and small diameter live material. This is all with the intent of reestablishing and maintaining access to designated trails in order to increase accessibility to public lands within the LNF including diverse wilderness landscapes.



The Collaborative Forestry Timber Marking Crew is contributing to the restoration of mixed-conifer forests on the Almanor Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest by preparing stands for restoration thinning and hazardous fuels management. Project work will occur primarily within projects developed by the South Lassen Watersheds Group, a collaborative group planning for the future of forest management, climate resilience, and economic development in critical upper watersheds of northern California. Crew members are responsible for designating harvest/leave trees following provided marking guidelines (silvicultural prescriptions) and the guidance of the crew leader.



The Forestry Resource Technicians assist with a variety of natural resource monitoring and management activities within Lassen Volcanic National Park (LAVO) and across the South Lassen Watersheds Landscape. These crew members assist park staff with surveys for a range of wildlife and plant species, carry out invasive plant control and native plant restoration work, and conduct original research alongside park staff. These activities are fundamental to protecting the region's foundational biodiversity and scenic beauty by protecting native floristic and faunistic diversity.


Read About Our Field Crew Members' Experiences!

Collaborative Forestry Crew 2023


This year Sierra Institute’s Collaborative Forestry Crew made significant contributions to the advancement of fuels reduction and forest health projects on the Lassen National Forest’s (LNF) Almanor Ranger District (ARD). The crew arrived in late May and began timber sale preparations work within the West Shore Community Wildfire Protection Project. They started by painting the timber sale unit boundaries of an 814 acre fuels reduction timber sale called Foggy. Next, they GPS’d these unit boundaries to provide precise acreages for each unit and the sale as a whole. The crew also delineated Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCAs) within the timber sale units. Their next task was to designate which trees would be removed within each timber sale unit. The crew completed 215 acres of cut tree marking in about 6 weeks. This was a significant accomplishment considering the density and complexity of the tree stands they were working in. Foggy timber sale is made up of stands of true Sierra mixed-conifer, the species diversity is completely unique as compared to the rest on the LNF. The crew designated trees to be removed with paint so that there would be no paint left on trees after the area is thinned. The stands of trees within Foggy range from some that have been logged in the last 20 years to others that have not been logged for 40+ years, when the practice was to remove the largest trees available. This resulted in stands that are incredibly dense with nearly continuous fuels from the understory to the canopy. Due to the history of fires burning into this area from the Feather River canyon, and the proximity of communities such as Big Meadows, West Shore, Prattville, Canyon Dam, Almanor West, and many popular summer recreation facilities, it was determined that these dense stands should be thinned appropriately to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires moving through the area. In 2021, the Dixie Fire nearly burned the entirety of the West Shore and rightfully added a sense of urgency to accomplish the kind of work the Forestry Crew contributed to this summer. Thanks to their efforts, we are much closer to the goal of a healthier, more fire resistant forest in this critical area.


The crew was also able to become certified timber cruisers by the standards of the USFS. They accomplished high marks in both the written and field portions of the Qualified Cruiser Exam. They put these skills to use in the Titanic CCTV Timber Sale, a project in which trees will be removed along a future PG&E transmission line being built to provide power to a new CalTrans CCTV station of Morgan Summit. The new station will provide travelers of CA-36 with more information to make their journeys through this mountainous area safer. 


The crew received training in the safe use of chainsaws, completing a rigorous three day S-212 training program. This certification is good for four years and will be very valuable in many different natural resource field work settings. The Forestry Crew used their chainsaw skills to clear roads and gain access to several different project sites. The crew also completed a two-day Wilderness First Aid course in which they gained knowledge about and practiced hands-on scenarios in order to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries and illnesses that are common in field settings.


This season, the Forestry Crew also completed the layout of several hand thinning projects in the Robbers Creek Watershed Restoration Project area. The goals of these projects are to enhance meadows and aspen that have been encroached by conifers, as well as reduce fuel loading in critical habitats for threatened wildlife species, in this case, the Northern Goshawk. During their work at Robbers Creek the crew had a special opportunity to work alongside and mentor crew members from Sierra Institute's youth corps program known as Plumas, Conservation, Restoration, and Education in Watersheds “P-CREW”. This was one of the highlights of the year for the Forestry Crew as they were able to present their work and give field demonstrations to youth navigating their first job in the natural resources sector. The enthusiasm shown by both the Forestry Crew Members and the P-CREW members towards forestry and conservation work was truly inspiring to witness. Giving hope that there will be new generations of natural resource field workers for years to come.


Personally, I would like to voice my heartfelt thanks to these young people who came to work in a place I have called home for many years, a place which has seen devastation and tragedy directly related to being a rural forested community. To receive reinforcements in the fight to try to prevent future loss as well as achieve some semblance of a functionally healthy forest environment from people of their quality is something I will always be grateful for. Some came from hundreds of miles away to do so. Some, like me, consider these forests to be their backyard. I know if you are a local to these parts as well, you probably feel the same. So if you see a young person at the gas station or grocery store, covered in paint, dirt, and sometimes ash one of these summers, take a moment and just say “Thank you”.


-Tony Charbonnier

 Partnership Prep Forester

 Sierra Institute