Chimacum Ridge Forest

The Land Trust has worked to protect this forest since 2010, and in partnership has ensured it will remain undeveloped and managed as healthy timberland. We’re now working with the community to help transform the land into a community forest to provide public access and ecological, social, and economic benefits forever.

Aerial view of Chimacum Ridge by John Gussman

This aerial view showcases the Chimacum Ridge forest and Center Valley in the background. Photo by John Gussman.

Chimacum Ridge: A Forest at the Heart of Our Community

Rising between Center and Beaver Valleys in East Jefferson County, Chimacum Ridge is an 853-acre forested landmark. Nineteen headwater tributaries flow from the ridge into the mainstem and east fork of Chimacum Creek — home to one of the most successful community-based salmon recovery efforts in our region.

Chimacum Creek in Beaver Valley by Robert Tognoli

Chimacum Creek is fed by 19 tributaries from the forested ridge above. Photo from Beaver Valley by Robert Tognoli.

The ridge stands prominently in the heart of the Chimacum watershed, two miles from the center of Chimacum and surrounded by 2,000 acres of Land Trust protected farms, forests, and salmon habitat. It is adjacent to Valley View Forest, a 65-acre forest acquired by Jefferson Land Trust in 2018 that will eventually connect the ridge to Center Valley Road for public access.

The land is forested with mixed stands of mostly 40-year-old Douglas-fir, and naturally regenerated western red cedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce. Broadleaf trees like big-leaf maple, red alder, bitter cherry, and willow species are also scattered among the conifers. Additionally, the forest contains food and medicinal species like salal, mushrooms, serviceberry, evergreen huckleberry, Oregon grape, and elderberry. About 27 acres of freshwater forested wetlands are on the property, and it features about 10 miles of logging roads, ideal for future recreational use.

Jefferson Land Trust is currently working to raise the funds necessary to transform this property into a Community Forest. Learn more about the potential benefits of the community forestry model and Chimacum Ridge in this video produced by our partners at the Washington Environmental Council.

Chimacum Ridge forest. Photo by Tim Lawson.

Chimacum Ridge forest. Photo by Tim Lawson/LEO.

A Forest Transformed

The Land Trust has worked to protect this forest since 2010, and in partnership has ensured it will remain undeveloped and managed as healthy timberland. We are now working with the community to help transform the land into a community forest providing public access and ecological, social, and economic benefits forever.

Chimacum Ridge Community Forest will provide renewable resources that are made available to local nonprofit and entrepreneurial endeavors. Everything from custom timber products for carpentry, woodworking, and wooden boat building, to harvest of annual botanical and berry growth, to guided experiences on the land, are planned. Traditional food and tree harvests by local tribes are important cultural and economic activities that this forest will support.

Managed, designed, and directed by the community, Chimacum Ridge will be…

— A forest for all that:

  • Preserves wildlife habitat and nurtures biodiversity,
  • Helps keep our air clean, water pure, and sky dark,
  • Protects our local farms and food from runoff and pollution,
  • Stimulates sustainable economic development — for example, by providing a local source of materials for boat builders and specialty wood product manufacturers
  • Creates low-cost and no-cost recreational opportunities for all
  • Creates education opportunities for students and lifelong learning.

— A forest that benefits future generations and enriches our legacy.

— A forest that advances a rising, national community forest movement, aimed at establishing new, sustainable, harmonious relationships with forest land.

The Story So Far…

Forester Answers Questions from Tour Guests by Chris Jones

A forester answers guest questions on a public tour. Photo by Chris Jones.

In 2010, Jefferson Land Trust learned that Chicacum Ridge was being prepared for sale to a residential developer. For four years, the Land Trust worked in cooperation with Rayonier, the commercial owner, to find ways to conserve the forest. Then in 2015, the Trust for Public Land introduced the opportunity to EFM, a conservation-oriented private equity firm; EFM became the bridge owner in 2015 with the intention of selling the forest to Jefferson Land Trust by 2023. Two easements have been placed on the ridge during their ownership. The first is a restrictive easement acquired by the Navy that permanently removes development rights on the entire property. The second is a conservation easement held by the Land Trust that protects forest ecology values.

Since the project’s inception in 2010, the Land Trust has sought community involvement in all phases of the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest project. As we now prepare for the land acquisition phase and associated fundraising campaign, these activities are increasing.

Legislative Tour

A 2015 tour of Chimacum Ridge with Congressman Derek Kilmer and County Commissioner Kate Dean.

In early 2020, with a grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, Jefferson Land Trust convened a Project Team — made up of 12 community leaders with a strong sense of place and skills relevant to the community forest vision — to lead the planning effort.

This team helped define what our community forest could be through a series of 10 meetings. To ensure that the diverse needs and interests from local communities were represented in defining a strategic vision for the forest, they recruited a broad group of stakeholders — the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) — including elected officials and neighbors as well as members from local tribes, woodworking and boatbuilding businesses, forestry, economic development organizations, tourism-focused businesses, black and indigenous communities of color, disability advocacy organizations, schools, farms, the arts, and recreational groups.

Together, this large working group crafted a Strategic Vision Framework for the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest that will guide all planning activities moving forward.

In 2021, Jefferson Land Trust was awarded another grant from the National Park Service’s RCTA program to begin the planning for future recreational uses of the community forest. The work continued through 2023 with the input of a 20+ member Community Advisory Team, and resulted in a first draft of the Access, Recreation, and Education Plan for the community forest.

Also in 2023, Jefferson Land Trust’s Board of Directors approved a governance model for the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest and began recruiting members to join the seven-member, volunteer Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Board of Managers. And in early 2024, we recruited members for three Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Advisory Groups.

Your Opportunity to Make a Difference

There are many ways to help and we need your voice at the table.

  • Share your ideas for ways in which the forest can serve the community using the feedback form below
  • Sign up to join our Friends of the Forest community group to receive notices about public input opportunities
  • Read the Strategic Vision Framework for Chimacum Ridge Community Forest
  • Volunteer! Your skills are needed to help make the community forest a reality; email to let us know you’re interested in helping

Community support or partnership commitments for this project include North Olympic Development Council, North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Port Townsend School of Woodworking, WSU-Extension, CedarRoot Folk School, Black Lives Matter Jefferson County, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum School District, Jefferson County Conservation District, Northwestern School of Wooden Boatbuilding, Jamestown and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes, and others.

Share Your Feedback and Ideas Here:

Thank you for your interest in the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest. Jefferson Land Trust is looking for feedback on how the forest can best serve our community’s diverse economic, ecological, and social needs. If you have any suggestions for us to consider, please let us know using the form below.

Fundraising Campaign

In 2021, Jefferson Land Trust secured a $3 million grant from Washington State’s Community Forest program — a giant step toward the estimated costs of $5.75 million we anticipate will be needed to purchase the land and transform it into a community forest.

Jefferson Land Trust is embarking on a community fundraising campaign to raise funds for the purchase and transformation of Chimacum Ridge Community Forest. If you would like to help support this effort, please contact Director of Philanthropy Kate Godman at Thank you!