Within the Community Forest of Arcata, California there is a small park. It is a park where trees have been cleared rather than planted.
The Arcata Community Forest is dominated by coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens(Lamb. ex D. Don) Endl.). Some of the redwoods are quite large and in some areas the canopy is closed. Very little light gets down to the forest floor which is generally covered with ferns.
So if you want a place for children to play and for people to have picnics or just relax for a while, it is best to select a small area for clearing and for planting grass. This is different than many municipal parks where trees are planted and carefully nurtured.
The land that makes up this forest has been used for many things by many people. It furnished game and fish for the Wiyot people until the 1850’s. Most of the area was logged in the 1880’s. It was then used for grazing and other things until the city purchased the land over several decades.
It became the first municipally-owned forest in California in 1955 and served primarily as the city water supply watershed until 1963. Since that time it has been managed for wildlife habitat, sustainable timber harvesting, education, but primarily as a recreation area. Small very low impact timber harvests help pay for the maintenance of the forest land and the trails.
There are more than 10 miles (16 km) of named trails in the 793 acre (321 hectare) forest. These trails are used for running, walking, horse riding, and mountain biking. The area is hilly and provides challenging terrain, but the trails are treasured by the community. The Community Forest is adjacent to several neighborhoods and to Humboldt State University, so it is convenient for many residents to access the trails. They are a great place for a tough workout, a leisurely stroll, or for quiet contemplation. These forestlands and the trails are important defining characteristics of the City of Arcata.
The City of Arcata owns another forest of over 1,440 acres (583 hectares) called the Jacoby Creek Forest. But the Arcata Community Forest is the one that residents know the best.
See you in the forest!
Some information came from: http://www.cityofarcata.org/departments/environmental-services/city-forests