Siskiyou Land Conservancy
Protecting California’s Wild North Coast and Rivers Since 2004

Tree Poaching In Old Growth Forest Along the Smith River


There’s tree poaching going on in the Smith River National Recreation Area (SRNRA), near Big Flat on the South Fork Smith River. Not just any trees, but some of the biggest, oldest madrones in the region. It’s a tragic, bitter loss of some of the finest trees around, in protected old growth area. If you have information about who might be doing this please contact us or go directly to the law enforcement officer for the SRNRA: Jeremy Mack, 707-457-3874. (Please call only if you have information. Incredibly, Mack is the only enforcement officer for the entire 305,000-acre Smith River National Recreation Area.)

According to officials at the SRNRA, tree poaching is “a forest-wide problem.” In this case, it appears that the perpetrators, who cut down the giant madrones but left them, were planning to return to the site with a crane and a flatbed truck to haul out whole trees, probably for milling. This is a professional operation with criminal intent. The SRNRA and Six Rivers National Forest need to beef up law enforcement to protect these precious old growth areas, and gate off some roads to disallow vehicle access to ancient forests.