Private company closes forestlands to the public

As one of California’s largest landholders, Sierra Pacific Industries closes a portion of its 2.3 million acres to recreational uses due to the risk of wildfires

ANDERSON, CALIF. – One of the largest landholders in California, Sierra Pacific Industries, and also one of the nation’s largest lumber manufacturers, is closing its California forestlands to the public due to the risk of wildfires. 

As of July 1, Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) will be closing a large portion of its forestlands in Sierra and Sequoia National Forests to public access. The public will not be able to access private SPI roads or walk-in to the company’s privately-owned lands. Public roads that cross SPI lands and SPI roads shared with federal landowners will remain open. SPI owns and manages more than 2.3 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon and Washington.

While access is normally limited to those with licenses in order to prevent fires, allow for recovery and restoration of the land, deter illegal woodcutting and prevent damage to young regenerated forest stands, the lands will now be closed completely because of the severity of the drought, which entered its third straight year in January. The land is usually open for hiking, bicycling, fishing, hunting and cross-country skiing to properly licensed individuals.

“Despite some of the late spring rains, California is experiencing the driest conditions in 1,200 years,” said Andrea Howell, SPI spokesperson. “The land closures are to help protect our forest resources and ensure public safety.” 

In 2020, SPI closed its forestlands from early September to early November and in 2021, it closed its forestlands from late June to early October. This year the land is expected to remain closed into the fall again.

SPI said the closures will help protect its long-term sustainable management of the forest lands. The company is working with the US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and many others to create a series of fuel breaks across its landholdings. To date, Sierra Pacific Industries has invested $5 million on implementing a network of nearly 1,500 miles of fuel breaks on their lands, with plans to continue to do more in the coming years. 

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