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Soquel Demonstration State Forest: Timber Management, Forest Health, and Fire Safety

Thursday, June 27th and Saturday, June 29th, 10:00am - 4:00pm

This field workshop is an opportunity to explore and learn about CAL FIRE's Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) in the Santa Cruz Mountains along California's central coast. Participants will increase their understanding of what is happening at SDSF to improve forest health, fire safety, and manage timber. 

Angela Bernheisel, CAL FIRE Division Chief and Forest Manager of SDSF, and Colin Noyes, Assistant Forest Manager of SDSF, will provide an overview of how active timber harvesting operations are integrated with forest health treatments at SDSF. They will cover the planning and protective measures used for both timber productivity and ecosystem health. They will also briefly discuss the use of prescribed burning in the Forest. Richard Cobb, Forestry Professor at Cal Poly SLO, will discuss research at SDSF studying the impacts of these activities. David van Lennep, Senior Forester at Auten Resource Consulting, will address global concerns regarding supply and demand of forest products, focusing on the importance of locally sourced materials and sustainable forestry practices in meeting these challenges. Thomas Sutfin, a consulting forester and former Forest Manager of SDSF, will cover the history of the Forest and discuss forest inventory. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with Licensed Timber Operators (LTOs) and observe heavy equipment operations. 

For further information about forest health and prescribed burning at SDSF, view the past webinars linked below: 

Forest Health Grants and Forest Practice Documents: Can they be used together to create a more resilient landscape?

Prescribed Burning in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest

Workshop Agenda
Time Item
10:00am Field workshop begins 

Introduction to SDSF and Its History


Site 1: Active Operations Area 

Forest Health Issues and Treatments


Site 2: SDSF Helipad Area

Sulfur Timber Harvest Plan 

Timber Inventory & Sustainability

Considerations & Protective Measures

Prescribed Burning: Why and how?

Research Project Overviews 

Global Concerns, Supply, & Demand

12:45pm Lunch

Site 3: Second Active Operations Area

Harvest Demonstration 

Equipment, Operations, etc.

Relationships with LTOs


Field workshop ends

Link to presentation abstracts


Angela Bernheisel , Division Chief, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, CALFIRE

Angela Bernheisel has been the Forest Manager at the Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) since 2011.  She has 28 years of experience working in forestry and fire in the Central Coast Region.  She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and became a Registered Professional Forester in 1998.  Previously Angela served as the Vegetation Management Program Coordinator and Forest Practice Inspector in the CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit and worked in private consulting forestry with Edward A. Tunheim. 

Angela has a love for forestry and the fire service that began long ago when she served as a firefighter for two seasons on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest right after high school.  Managing SDSF is her dream job where she once worked as a Forestry Aide for a season and where she has a deep connection to the Santa Cruz Mountains and community.  She has extensive experience in managing State Forest timber sales and projects for stream habitat enhancement, fuel treatments, road improvements and public recreation.  She has worked at SDSF to build the infrastructure for conducting prescribed burns at this forest and has been increasing the pace and scale of wildfire resilience projects along with top notch researchers and collaborators. 

Colin Noyes , Assistant Forest Manager, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, CALFIRE  

Colin has over a decade of experience working as a Registered Professional Forester in the Santa Cruz Mountains in both the private and public sectors. As the Assistant Forest Manager, Forester I, at the Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF), Colin is responsible for overseeing daily operations at SDSF as well as writing Timber Harvesting Plans and other permitting documents, overseeing the GIS database, supervising seasonal staff and providing emergency response.  Before joining CAL FIRE in 2014, Colin worked for Big Creek Lumber Company as a Forestry Technician and Staff Forester. Colin Graduated from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Forestry with a concentration in Environmental Management. His passion for forest management began as an intern at the Cal Poly Swanton Pacific Ranch, where he got hands-on experience in the field of forest management. That passion for managing redwood ecosystems in the Santa Cruz Mountains continues to this day.

David van Lennep, Senior Forester, RPF #2591, Auten Resource Consulting 

Born in Southern California, David began a path towards forestry from a love of the outdoors, cultivated by Scouting, and family camping trips. He attended Humboldt State University, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. Beginning in 1993, Mr. Van Lennep has managed timberlands, both large and small in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties. Beginning in 1995, he began managing a portfolio of private lands. Key management goals were to increase productivity and growth, schedule and manage harvest entries and harvest permitting, oversight of maintenance, and providing targets for planning and for budgets on short- and long-term horizons.

He began his forestry career working seasonal job appointments on Public Lands, first for the Bureau of Land Management in Northern California, then with the U.S. Forest Service in Southern California (1988-1993). In 1993, he moved to the Santa Cruz area and began work with a local Forestry Consultant. In 1995, David took a position with Redwood Empire Sawmills where he was responsible for fieldwork and administration of Timber Harvest Plans, including tree planting operations. His responsibilities steadily grew to include supervision of Southern Area operations, area employees, property value assessment, and regional liaison to several regulatory oversight bodies.

In 2022, he took the Senior Forester Position at ARC and is now applying his experience and knowledge to treat fuels, improve forest health, and assist large and small landowners with management objectives.

Mr. Van Lennep has also given his time to important professional and community organizations.

  • Board member for the California Licensed Foresters Association (2001-2005)
  • Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Board of Directors (2005-Present) and President of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau (2014 to 2016)
  • Board Member of the Soquel Firesafe Council (2010-2015)
  • Volunteer for the California Forestry Challenge (2010-Present)

Dr. Richard Cobb, Natural Resources Management & Environmental Sciences Department, Cal Poly SLO 

Dr. Cobb competed a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis in 2010 with research focus on sudden oak death, a damaging disease of California coastal forests. His research interests focus on understanding the underlying drivers, ecological impacts, and potential responses to insect and disease outbreak. Past and current projects aim to improve prediction of when, where, and why outbreaks occur as well as forest-level experimentation to change the course of outbreaks and reduce their economic and ecological costs. His teaching interests combine an interest in ecological science with the strong personal desire to improve forest management at regional and national levels. At Cal Poly, he teaches forest health (insects and pathogens), dendrology, ecology, as well as supporting many aspects of education in forest management. Dr Cobb encourages inquiries into undergraduate and graduate research projects particularly related to forest management and forest conservation issues in California Native American communities.

Thomas Sutfin, Consulting Forester, RPF #1951, formerly with CALFIRE

Thomas Sutfin, of Soquel, is a consulting forester. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forest management from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Forestry degree from Oregon State University. He is a California-licensed registered professional forester. Thomas was the first Forest Manager of the Soquel Demonstration State Forest from 1990 to 2009. Previously, he worked on the Jackson Demonstration State Forest as Timber Sale Officer from 1983 to 1985 and as Assistant Forest Manager from 1985 to 1990. In 2009, he left CAL FIRE after 30 years of service.

Tim Peet, Licenced Timber Operator 

Tim Peet has worked in the Timber Industry in Santa Cruz County for over 40 years. He began his career working on the crews of some of the old-time loggers in the area and eventually started his own company in 1994. He has a very experienced and dedicated crew. Most of the crew members have been with the company for 15-20+ years. Tim and his crew take pride in the quality and efficiency of their work.

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