Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Jackson is the largest of CAL FIRE's ten demonstration state forests. The area has a long history of logging which began in under private ownership 1862 then evolved into sustainable harvesting after the State's purchase of the property in 1947. Today, more forest growth occurs each year than is harvested. The most common tree on the forest is coast redwood, but visitors will also find Douglas-fir, grand fir, hemlock, bishop pine, tanoak, alder, madrone and bay myrtle.

Jackson State Demonstration Forest


Forest Stats:
Established: 1949
Area: 48,652 acres
Elevation: 80 - 2,200 ft
Precipitation: 39 in per year along coast
70 in per year inland Temperature: Max: 100 F - Min: 25 F


Much of the redwood timber region is either privately owned or under State or National Park jurisdiction, which makes Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) unique in being able to demonstrate a working multi-use forest in the redwood region.  The Caspar Creek Experimental Watershed Study was established in 1961 as a cooperative effort between the CAL FIRE and the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW). The Caspar Creek study has evolved from a simple paired watershed study into one of the most comprehensive and detailed investigations of its kind. More information can be found below.


Jackson provides a unique living laboratory in a coastal redwood forest where environmental scientists, foresters, and researchers can study the effects of various forest management techniques. These ‘demonstrations’ provide important data to private forest landowners that help them with their management decisions. Road abandonment for improved instream habitat, forest thinning to increase forest resilience to fire, and regeneration studies are a few examples of some of the demonstrations landowners can learn from at Jackson.


Jackson offers a variety of low cost and free recreational opportunities. Recreational activities include camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, mushroom collecting, hunting and picnicking. Seasonal camping is offered mid-May through September, weather dependent. For summer 2022, Big River/Dunlap campgrounds are OPEN, Camp One is CLOSED. There are a total of 48 miles of sanctioned trails. The forest remains is open to the public at most locations, however some areas are subject to temporary closure for visitor safety like heavy equipment and timber harvest work.