Located on Redwood Mountain, Whitaker’s Forest is adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park. It lies on gentle to steep slopes in the giant sequoia/mixed conifer forest. Over 215 large giant sequoia trees occur on the property, along with fine stands of second-growth redwood. Mixed conifer forests of both mature and second-growth trees predominate on the west side of the forest and are interspersed with giant sequoia elsewhere.The soils are of granitic origin with the Shaver soil series supporting the mesic giant sequoia and mixed conifer types, while the xeric areas of ponderosa pine and brushland are underlaid by soils of the Holland series. Numerous granitic outcrops can be found on the property. Climatic data was taken on Whitaker’s Forest from 1966 until 1980. Average annual precipitation is about 1092 mm (43 inches) of rain and about 410 mm (16 inches) falling in the form of snow. Year-to-year fluctuation can be great, with variations in precipitation from 381 mm (15 inches)/yr to 1524 mm (60 inches)/yr recorded. Snowfalls have exceeded six feet in a single storm. Temperatures are moderate, with summer highs around 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) and lows around 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) while winter temperatures often drop to -7 degrees C (20 degrees F), never rising above freezing for weeks at a time.
Whitaker’s Forest is located on unceded lands of the Western Mono, Yokut, and Eastern Mono peoples. The Mono and Yokut stewarded this land for thousands of years prior to colonization and forced removal, and contributed to the health and survival of the forest here. We honor and celebrate the persistence of local tribal groups with descendants from these and other Indigenous nations, while acknowledging the legacy of violence within California’s history. In recognizing that Whitaker’s is on Indigenous land we hope to not only pay tribute to those who cared for and cultivated this forest since time immemorial, but furthermore to inspire action on behalf of Berkeley Forests and those visiting Whitaker's and forests throughout the country. At Berkeley Forests we are continually working to acknowledge the colonialist history of this land, create lasting partnerships with local tribal groups, and make this forest an accessible educational resource for all.
Whitaker’s Forest has the oldest permanent plots (established 1915) in California. Studies on vegetation, breeding birds, and resident mammals indicate the rich natural history of the area. Management is focused on facilitating research that improves the understanding and management of giant sequoia forests. Whitaker’s is one of the few places where successful restoration of giant sequoia regeneration via mechanical manipulations has been accomplished. Studies of large tree responses to prescribed fire and mechanical manipulations are active, as are studies of cultural treatments that may advance recruitment of large giant sequoias. Other studies have focused on giant sequoia seedling interactions with mycorrhizal fungi as well as the light requirements for successful seedling establishment.
The primary headquarters area has one large, three bedroom house. Power and propane are available on the site. Camping may be available by researchers upon request. Primitive roads provide access to some of the forest.
The 2021 KNP Fire burned through the entirety of the Whitaker's property, mith low to mixed severity impacts throughout the forest. Immediate post-burn surveying and a thorough inventory conducted throughout summer 2022 revealed limited old growth mortality and moderate fire intensity througout most of the forest. The area in which a 2012 prescribed fire took place performed especially well, with the KNP Complex Fire acting as a follow-up maintenance burn in that area. Although the fire had the opportunity to burn the entirity of Whitaker's Forest, its low-severity spotty behavior resulted in some areas remaining totally unburned. Infrastructure damage was limited to the water system and an old structure no longer in use along Bruin Camp Rd.
Redwood Mountain adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park.
The primary headquarters area has one large, three-bedroom house which can sleep 10 people. Power and propane are available on the site and numerous campsites exist. Primitive roads provide access to some of the forest.
320 acres (130 hectares)
1555 to 1950 m (5100 to 6400 ft)
Summer: 10C to 27C (5F to 80F)
Winter: lows around -6C (20F)
Average precipitation: 1092 mm (43 inches)
Low: 610 mm (23 inches)
High: 1870 mm (74 inches)
Average snowfall: 410 mm (16 inches)
Over 215 large giant sequoia trees occur on the property, along with fine stands of second-growth redwood. Mixed conifer forests of both mature and second-growth trees predominate on the west side of the forest and are interspersed with giant sequoia elsewhere.
Granitic origin with the Shaver soil series supporting the mesic giant sequoia and mixed conifer types, while the xeric areas of ponderosa pine and brushland are underlaid by soils of the Holland series.
Dry Creek flows through portions of the property.