Butano State Park Forest Health



In 2019 San Mateo Resource Conservation District, in collaboration with CAL FIRE and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (California State Parks), developed a high priority fuel reduction treatment project at Butano State Park.  Partial funding was awarded for the project in 2019 and in 2021 additional funding was acquired for planning, permitting, and implementation.

During the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, a significant portion of the park was impacted by wildfire, resulting in a high accumulation of dead, dying, and highly flammable understory vegetation.  Treatment activities seek to modify this fuel accumulation into a less flammable orientation by reducing the vertical and horizontal continuity of fuels (vegetation).

Encompassing roughly 420 acres, activities will mimic regional forest health projects by primarily utilizing machines to masticate (grind/shred) understory vegetation up to 8” in diameter as well as select hand thinning to establish control lines for future prescribed fire or wildfire suppression operations along strategic ridgelines.  Project activities will further forest health, fuel reduction, and carbon sequestration goals.



This project supports the intent of the Forest Health Program and California’s climate goals by:

  • Proactively restoring forest health, improving ecosystem resiliency, and conserving working forests by conducting targeted fuel reduction
  • Protecting upper watersheds where the state’s water supply originates by strategically placing our projects throughout the watershed
  • Promoting the long-term storage of carbon in forest trees and soils through the reduction of dense understory vegetation thus promoting larger healthier stands of mature trees
  • Minimizing the loss of forest carbon from large, intense wildfires, through reduction of ladder fuels and brush as well as through placement of fuel breaks along ridge tops to reduce the intensity of wildfires.



  • Planning and Permitting: Fall 2021 – Fall 2022
  • Implementation: Winter 2022 – Winter 2024



  • California State Parks



This project is made possible by a partnership between the San Mateo Resource Conservation District and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.  Funding is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

RCD Contact: David Cowman