Making a Comeback: Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest

Southern Lake County’s Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest, seven miles northwest of Middletown, off of Highway 175, like many areas of Lake County, suffered greatly from past wildland fires. Little by little, the organization, Friends of Boggs Mountain, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has been diligently working with Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to make Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest (BMDSF) a destination for hikers, picnickers, and other nature lovers once again. It was evident on a recent hike up there on lovely Gail’s Trail that work crews had been hard at work with maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

The Demonstration State Forest has 3,493 acres of breathtaking woods acquired by the State of California through a private landowner back in 1949. You may ask, “What  is a ‘demonstration state forest’?” Well, demonstration forests are those that are representative of the most common type of forests in California. California has 14 demonstration forests totaling 85,000 acres. For more information and a map, click here.

Lake County is considered, along with Boggs Forest to be a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and warm, wet winters. The temperatures range from 100 degrees F in the summer months, down to 13 degrees F in the winter at Boggs, with an average annual rainfall of 71 inches, in non-drought years. Since Boggs’ elevation reaches 3,720 feet, the forest can experience some light snowfalls during cold months.

A hike along any of  Boggs Mountain’s trails unveils manzanita and chaparral when you start out, then climb into a stunning mixed wooded forest of ponderosa pine,  Douglas-fir, and sugar pine. Sprinkled along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of oaks, such as canyon live oak and black oak. Dogwood trees are a special favorite during spring hikes, and madrone is always a welcome sight as well.

Boggs geology is considered to be complex in form, as it is assembled on a large lava cap with numerous slopes and rock outcroppings. Look carefully for evidence of rock that’s volcanic in nature, as it can be seen throughout the forest, with igneous rock such as andesite and basalt. According to details in the report from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the sedimentary rock seen in the soils are sandstones and mudstones.

Through time and lots of volunteer work, this multi-use state forest’s 22 miles of trails will continue to provide another Lake County nature fix with its landscape of meadows, ridge tops and mixed forests. The forest invites you year-round for not only hiking, but equestrian use as well as designated bicycling use. For more information, see the Friends of Boggs Mountain website at: https://boggsmountain.org/

Kathleen Scavone

Kathleen Scavone, MA., is a retired educator who has resided in beautiful Lake County for over 45 years. She freelances fiction, poetry, nature writing, curriculum ideas, and local history. She writes for The Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, News From Native California, Green Prints, etc. She has published three books, a play and a poetry chapbook. The second edition of her locally set historical novella, People of the Water- a novella of the events leading to the Bloody Island Massacre of 1850 is available in local museums and stores, as well as on Amazon.com and IngramSpark in both paperback and e-book formats. She has written Anderson Marsh State Historic Park- A Walking History, Prehistory, Flora and Fauna tour of a California State Park, and Native Americans of Lake County. Kathleen is a photographer and potter. Her other interests include hiking, assisting on archaeology digs, travel, gardening and reading.

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