Re-matriating Land to the Yurok Tribe in Northern California
New Forests has worked with the Yurok Tribe for over a decade. The Yurok Tribe, which has over 6,300 members and manages over 50,000 acres of land along the Klamath River, are currently the largest Tribe in California.
In 2011, New Forests and the Yurok Tribe co-developed the first forest carbon project for California’s emissions trading system. In 2018, New Forests started collaborating with the Yurok Tribe and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to return 2,424 acres of culturally and ecologically important land to the Tribe in perpetuity. The land, which was owned by one of New Forests’ forestry funds, is located within the political boundaries of the Yurok Reservation, along Ke’pel Creek, and is an important part of the Klamath River watershed that provides drinking water to the Yurok Tribe and supports wildlife habitat. The collaboration with TPL has assisted the Yurok Tribe in accessing the funds from the California Natural Resources Agency to finance the purchase. The sale was completed in the first half of 2021.
Historically, the Yurok maintained lands extending along the Pacific coast, from north of modern-day Klamath to Mendocino. Acquiring this additional land from New Forests supports the Yurok Tribe’s efforts to reclaim their ancestral territory. This is an example of New Forests collaborating with native communities to return culturally and ecologically significant land to their historical owners.