A Forest Perspective: Working in the Mendocino National Forest

(photo by Emily Smith)

The Mendocino National Forest of Northern California offers marvelous vistas and numerous opportunities for recreation. The Mendocino boasts that it is the only National Forest in California without a major paved road winding through it, which allows for a distinct feeling of solitude and peace.

Among this massive and majestic landscape, there is a balance of different activities available for people with myriad interests. From boating and fishing to hiking and cross-country skiing, everyone can find a way to enjoy the Mendocino. There are also two satellite locations maintained by the Forest Service, the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center located in Chico, CA, and the Red Bluff Recreation Area in Red Bluff, CA.

As an intern for the Student Conservation Association working with the U.S. Forest Service to conduct visitor land use surveys, I have a wonderful opportunity to see a lot of the forest and meet many people who work in it over the span of a year. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve grabbed my camera and attempted to capture the flora and fauna of the forest. At one point I was lucky enough to view fog roll into a valley of the forest at sunset. I may or may not have rhapsodized a little bit about how the tops of the hills peeked up above the cloudy haze, comparing it to that satisfying feeling that comes with being taller than someone who’s trying to intimidate you. The landscape is a refreshing change from my Midwestern background. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good horizon, but the rolling scenery of the Mendocino is incredibly more satisfying.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Mendocino National Forest, I highly recommend it. Essentially any outdoor activity you can think of is most likely available there, and if you are very lucky you may meet me conducting land use surveys throughout the year! 

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