LaTour Demonstration State Forest

LaTour Demonstration State Forest is in Shasta County, approximately 1 hours’ drive East from Redding. It became state property in 1930 when the state exchanged 10,957 acres of scattered state school lands with the USDA Forest Service for the 9,033-acre tract. The property became LaTour Demonstration State Forest in January 1946 when the California State Lands Commission deeded it to the then California Division of Forestry for $100,000.

In 1951 active forest management commenced on the previously unmanaged property, with LaTour’s first timber sale. Through responsible forest management, regular harvesting of merchantable timber and other forest products has continued since. Approximately 200 million board feet have been harvested from LaTour. Current average harvest is between 2-4 million board feet per year. Most of LaTour has been harvested three times.

LaTour Butte is 6,742 feet in elevation and named in honor of James C. LaTour, a blacksmith immigrant who ran a stagecoach station and trading post at Deer Flat. The forest itself was named after the Butte. The LaTour Butte Lookout was built in 1935 and is still staffed periodically during the fire season. The present-day Forest Headquarters was built in 1954. McMullen Mountain is 6,580 feet in elevation and named after James McMullen, an old-time trapper and cattleman. He ranged his cattle in present day Cutter Meadows before the Cutter family acquired the land.

The forest supports ten different coniferous tree species of commercial value. They include sugar pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, western white pine, lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, white fir, red fir, incense-cedar, and mountain hemlock. Pacific yew can also be found in the lower drainages but is much rarer than the others. There is a small hardwood component in the stands as well with the presence of California black oak, canyon live oak, big leaf maple, and red alder.

Typically, the forest is accessible by vehicle from late June until November. The winter and spring months are often a time of high wind, deep snow, and extreme cold, making the area inaccessible to vehicular traffic except by snowmobile. During this time, the forest gates may be locked to protect the road surface, but the forest remains open for all other winter recreation.

Lookout Tour La Tour Demonstration State Forest



Forest Stats:
1946 as the first Demonstration State Forest
Area: 9,033 acres
Elevation: 3800 – 6740ft
Precipitation: 46” mainly as snow
Temperature: Max: 90+ F – Min 0 F

LaTour Location Map



LDSF is managed as a working forest which facilitates research and demonstrates diverse timber management practices specifically targeted at medium and small landowners.  Harvest is predominantly conducted under individual tree selection. Current emphasis will be on practices that maintaining forest growth and long-term sequestered carbon, in a modern fire environment. The forest’s long-term objective is to establish a wide array of forest conditions to support research opportunities across the seral age classes.  The application of the strategy will produce a sustainable stream of public benefits in the form of ecosystem services, employment, high quality wood products, and maintain LDSF as a working forest laboratory.


LDSF is suited to work with cooperating research partners by writing Timber Harvest Plans that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of current research.  Working alongside academic institutions, such as University of Nevada-Reno and Sonoma State, LDSF can meet the legislative research component of the LDSF Forest Management Plan. Current studies are covering topics from Adaptive Silviculture to state-of-the-art inventory methodologies using aerial and terrestrial laser imaging. 


Initiated in 2016, LDSF adopted a moto of, “Trees and Foresters Growing together.”  However, this should not be considered a new concept at LDSF.  Since its beginning in 1946, staff have been teaching the next generation about forestry.  At LaTour, Forestry Aides benefit from close interaction and mentorship from Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs).  Based on data from 1975-2021, approximately 146 different Forestry Aides have served at LDSF learning, and practicing basic forestry skills.  Many of the earliest individuals have already retired from their careers while others have advanced into leadership positions within industry, consulting, and government.  Skills that are taught include basic timber cruising, tree identification, map reading, silvicultural, THP preparation, and timber marking.