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.
Established: 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