District Court Oks Forest Service to Protect Reyes Peak

Forest Service (Courtesy)

By the Los Padres National Forest

The Reyes Peak (aka Pine Mountain) Forest Health Project on Los Padres National Forest’s Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts was cleared to proceed after U.S. District Court Judge John Walter ruled against lawsuits brought by Los Padres Forestwatch and other parties. The court affirmed that the proposed thinning and fuels reduction work is consistent with law and Forest Service regulation and issued a decision in favor of the Forest.   

The Reyes Peak Forest Health Project will protect an area that is at risk due to overstocking and the devastating impacts of disease and insect infestation. The project lays within a federally designated Insect and Disease Treatment Area where declining forest health conditions have put the area at risk for substantial tree mortality over the next 15 years. The primary goal of the project is to reduce tree densities and promote forest resilience to insect and disease, persistent drought, and wildfire. To address these threats, professional Forest managers will selectively thin specific areas across 755 acres that extend along Pine Mountain between state Highway 33 and Reyes Peak in Ventura County.

The project will reduce hazardous surface, ladder, and crown fuels, and include prescribed fire, piling and burning. Treating these areas will reduce competition, improve the health of the remaining trees, and increase the overall average stand diameter. Trees between the 24-inch and 64-inch diameter would be retained unless they pose a safety risk.

This project aligns with the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which combines a historic investment of congressional funding with years of scientific research and planning to dramatically increase the scale and pace of forest health treatments over the next decade. As part of this strategy, the agency will work with states, counties, Tribes and other partners to address wildfire risks to critical infrastructure, protect communities, and make forests more resilient.

“We are in a wildfire crisis and must take immediate action to protect our forests in Southern California,” said Los Padres Forest Supervisor Chris Stubbs. “Let me be clear – this is not a commercial logging project. We are trying to save the remaining trees on Reyes Peak from the devastating effects of a stand-replacing wildfire.”

For more information about Los Padres National Forest, please visit our public website at www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

Related Articles


Written by LosPadresForest

Public information provided by the Los Padres National Forest.

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. This is great news! The forest watch was hell bent on destruction and put up a good fight trying to ensure this beautiful forest burned to a crisp. Thankfully the court has ruled to save the trees. However, we’re moving into high fire season so the danger is not over yet. Hopefully this work to save the trees can be completed before the next wildfire.

  2. I respectfully critique Edhat for this untrue headline: DISTRICT COURT OKS FOREST SERVICE TO PROTECT [sic] REYES PEAK.
    This plan does NOT “protect” Reyes Peak’s old-growth conifers: they state they will CHOP DOWN all of them with a diameter of over 24″ ! This is not protection. And Ojai is over 14 miles away. Please Edhat editors, be more honest and take the “editorializing” out of your incorrect headline provided to you for the Dept. of Agriculture’s US Forest Service.

  3. Of course you’re not trying to “pillage” but your research is flawed and there hasn’t been a large burn up there for way over 100 years… the next LARGE wildfire surely will harm the large trees [anyway USFS wants to CHOP DOWN those large trees over 24″ in diam., your comment makes no sense, Chip]. You don’t need to hammer Forest-Watch, you need to respond to their detailed critique. Your “charred moonscape” is baloney, Chip!!

    • They’re not cutting trees over 24″ unless they pose a risk, and Chip is right. Thinning the undergrowth and ladder fuels will definitely save the larger trees. Fires slow down around thinned areas because there are less fuels to burn, and make them much easier to contain. The forest will be healthier, too, because new trees will get more sunlight. There was a huge fire in Arizona about 12 years ago called the Wallow Fire. The FS had been thinning areas for several years prior to that. Well after that monster fire hit, the only areas that survived were the thinned areas. It looked like a crazy quilt flying overhead, because of the thinned areas and the burned areas.
      The wise thing to do is to let loggers do the thinning under Forest supervision. They pay the forest for the timber, the forest gets thinned making it more fire resilient, and the profits go toward the Fire Program.

Don Bushnell

Vehicle accident 1100 State Hwy 246