Black Butte Conservation Easement Supports Animals, Local Economy, Fire Prevention

Five thousand acres of timberlands represent a strong future for local communities and endangered species near Mt. Shasta, Calif. A conservation easement created by the Michigan-California Timber Company and Pacific Forest Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, ensures an enduring foothold for local wildlife and sustainable jobs in addition to subsidizing wildfire prevention measures.


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) financed the Black Butte Forest easement using cap-and-trade revenue. Their $5,410,000 grant includes funding to reforest flammable brush fields with conifers, reducing the opportunity for extreme fire behavior. Over time, the trees will absorb and store carbon dioxide. 

“We are committed to protecting the cities of Weed and Mount Shasta along with the vital infrastructure and world-class natural resources of this region,” said Chris Chase, Timberland Manager for Michigan-California Timber Company.

Chase continued, “In 2018, 1.8 million acres burned in California, destroying 23,000 structures and tragically taking 100 lives. Proper forest management can lessen the risk and impact of wildfire. The Black Butte project will ensure that this property will continue to be a model of exemplary stewardship in perpetuity.”

Once considered for resort development, the north and east flanks of Black Butte are now protected indefinitely from development or urban expansion. The easement also guarantees continued public access to the popular Black Butte Trail and protects an area identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as an Essential Connectivity Area for wildlife migration. 

The project is also an example of California’s emissions trading system in action. “Payments from polluters are being invested in California’s forests so they can store more carbon dioxide in a durable, stable way,” said Connie Best, co-CEO of Pacific Forest Trust.

Michigan-California Timber Company, an affiliate of Timber Products Company, manages 114,800 acres of timberland in Northern California under the strict standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and Forest Stewardship Council programs. The family-owned business is one of the most diversified companies in the wood products industry and attributes its success to strong environmental stewardship in addition to a commitment to strong customer relationships and sustainable innovations in wood products manufacturing.

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