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Tahoe National Forest
IUCN Category VI (Managed Resource Protected Area)
Map of the United States
Location Northwest of Lake Tahoe, California US
Nearest city Truckee, California
Coordinates 39°33′45″N 120°33′45″W / 39.5625°N 120.5625°W / 39.5625; -120.5625Coordinates: 39°33′45″N 120°33′45″W / 39.5625°N 120.5625°W / 39.5625; -120.5625
Area 871,495 acres (352,682 ha)
Established 1905
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

Tahoe National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located in the state of California, northwest of Lake Tahoe. It includes the 8,587-foot (2,617 m) peak of Sierra Buttes, near Sierra City, which has views of Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta. It is located in parts of six counties. In descending order of forestland area they are Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Plumas, and El Dorado counties. (The El Dorado County portion is very tiny, at only four acres.) [1] The forest has a total area of 871,495 acres (1,361.71 sq mi, or 3,526.82 km²). Its headquarters is in Nevada City, California. There are local ranger district offices in Camptonville, Foresthill, Sierraville, and Truckee.[2]

Tahoe National Forest has many natural and man-made resources for the enjoyment of its visitors, including hundreds of lakes and reservoirs, river canyons carved through granite bedrock, and many miles of trails including a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The forest also serves as the water supply headwaters for the towns of Lincoln, Auburn and Rocklin, California, which receive the water through an elaborate canal system that largely originated during the California Gold Rush era.



The Forest Reserves were established in 1893 to halt uncontrolled exploitation. In California the Sierra Forest Reserve consisted of over 4,000,000 acres (1,600,000 ha).[3]

President Theodore Roosevelt supported the transfer of forest reserves from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service in 1905, with Gifford Pinchot as Chief Forester. Thus began the United States National Forest System.

In 1908, the Sierra National Forest was divided into five units and as time went on, more divisions, additions, and combinations were worked out so that presently, Tahoe is one of eight national forests along the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. (They are, from north to south, Plumas, Tahoe, Eldorado, Toiyabe, Stanislaus, Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia.)

The charter given by James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture states: The National Forests are for the purpose of preserving a perpetual supply of timber for home industries, preventing a destruction of forest cover which regulates the flow of streams, and protecting local residents from unfair competition in the use of forest and range. The timber,water, pasture and mineral resources of the national forests arefor the use of the people.[4]+

Tahoe was originally established as the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve on April 13, 1899. The name was changed to Tahoe on October 3, 1905.[5]


A 2002 report estimated nearly 84,000 acres (340 km2) of old growth in the Forest. The old growth includes Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), White Fir (Abies concolor), Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana), California Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), California Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), and Red Fir (Abies magnifica)[6 ].


Placer County Grove is a Giant sequoia grove located in the American River watershed of Tahoe National Forest. It is known as a "tiny" giant sequoia grove, and is the northern most grove. The grove contains six old growth giant sequoias, two of which are considered "giant" size.


  1. ^ Table 6 - NFS Acreage by State, Congressional District and County - United States Forest Service - September 30, 2007
  2. ^ USFS Ranger Districts by State
  3. ^ History of the Sierra Nevada by Francis Farquhar University of California Press, 1965 p. 213
  4. ^ History of the Sierra Nevadaby Francis Farquhar University of California Press, 1965 p. 214
  5. ^ Davis, Richard C. (September 29, 2005), National Forests of the United StatesPDF (341 KB), The Forest History Society  
  6. ^ Warbington, Ralph; Beardsley, Debby (2002), 2002 Estimates of Old Growth Forests on the 18 National Forests of the Pacific Southwest Region, United States Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region,  

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