Southern California Program Overview

Southern California Program Overview

Amanda Emas

Southern California’s cultural and natural landscape is unlike any other region in the United States. While Southern California is often associated with beaches and deserts, the area’s 3.5 million acres of National Forests are uniquely majestic. The Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests are some of the most heavily utilized public lands in the country as more than eight million people visit them each year. In fact, approximately 8% of the US population lives within an hour of one of these forests. The proximity of the National Forests to urban areas is valuable but creates its own set of needs and challenges. The NFF’s work in Southern California focuses on four main areas: Wildfire Resilience, Forest Health, Recreation, and Youth Engagement and Workforce Development.

Wildfire Resilience

Wildfires have always been a part of Southern California’s ecosystem, but the frequency and severity of fires has intensified as a result of climate change. Due to the proximity of National Forests to urban areas in Southern California, wildfires not only damage the environment but also present a pressing danger to human lives. That’s why the NFF is dedicated to implementing wildfire mitigation and prevention measures across Southern California Forests.

Brian Cavallaro

Forest Health

Preserving forest habitats and watersheds is a top priority in maintaining the beauty of Southern California’s landscape. Tending land that provides a habitat for threatened and endangered animal and plant species is integral to cultivating a balanced ecosystem. National Forests also provide over half of California’s water supply, which means that the quality and quantity of Southern California’s local water is determined by the watershed. As such, the NFF is committed to treating pest infestations, planting native species, and promoting a healthy watershed.

Brian Cavallaro

Recreation Improvements

National Forests in Southern California are situated next to some of the most populous urban areas in the country. Whether leisure time is spent camping, hiking, bicycling, or picnicking, the NFF is working to maintain and improve the visitor experience. It is a top priority to make sure millions of people have access to diverse and safe recreation opportunities that are sustainable and mitigate harm to the environment.

Sabrina Claros

Youth Engagement and Workforce Development

Fostering the next generation of public land community leaders and stewards is essential to the health and resilience of our National Forests. The NFF is committed to establishing a workforce pipeline from high school to early careers focused on engaging Southern California youth from marginalized communities. Southern California youth programming includes paid employment opportunities that provide hands-on experience and mentorship.

Sabrina Claros

For more info, contact:

Dania Gutierrez, Southern California Program Director, at [email protected]