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Sikora Forest Consulting

     Sikora Forestry is a Forest Consulting firm with services available to the general public for a fee. The firm was originally established in 1969 as Wishon Consultants, specializing in forest engineering. We are located in the community of Coarsegold, California. Coarsegold is on the Southern Yosemite Highway (State Route 41) about midway between Fresno and Yosemite National Park

Charles Sikora, ACF, a Registered Professional Forester, is the owner of Sikora Forestry. He is a graduate of Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. Mr. Sikora is also a licensed Real Estate Broker and Land Surveyor.

Sikora Forestry works with foresters, biologists, geologists, soil scientists, archaeologists, surveyors, engineers, etc., as lead professional or as subcontractor, as needed.

Forests

Forests are any wildland setting where native trees are, or have been, growing in sufficient numbers so that their crowns cover 10% of more of the land surface. The trees may be either hardwoods or softwoods. The California Public Resources Code describes this as a forested landscape. Where the wild forested landscape has been developed for residential use, we further define this as "urbanized forest" or "Wildland Urban Interface."

Foresters

     Foresters are individuals professionally trained to protect, manage, and evaluate forests. They may be employed by government agencies and industry; some are self-employed and offer professional services, for a fee, to forest landowners, both private and public. Such individuals are called Consulting Foresters.

California is one of a number of states that require licensing of foresters as Registered Professional Foresters. All foresters not employed by the federal government are licensed. Generally federally employed foresters offering services on federal lands are not licensed. The State issues licenses based upon education, experience, and examination. Typical education/experience requirement is a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from an accredited university plus three years experience under the supervision of a Registered Professional Forester. This qualifies one to take the examination. It is common for an individual to take the examination more than once before earning a passing grade.

Consulting Foresters

     The typical consulting forester has many years professional experience before venturing out on his own. Most have worked for government, industry, or other consultants for ten or more years before becoming a principal in a consulting firm. The single national professional organization for forest consultants is the Association of Consulting Foresters of America, Inc. with offices in Alexandria, Virginia. Qualification for membership requires demonstrated competence, good character, a commitment to strict ethical standards and continuing education. Full members of the association are entitled to use the initials ACF.

Consulting Forestry

     New clients often ask us to describe what we, as consulting foresters, can do for them. We've found that our long-time clients also benefit from reviewing the services we provide, as well.

     Our services are directed towards assisting clients to solve their problems. For the private landowner, we help to:

  • Comply with the California Forest Practices Act.
    California has the most restrictive forest practices laws in the world. A non-federal property owner needs a state issued permit to cut any tree of a commercial species. Most permits must be prepared by a Registered Professional Forester. We prepare those permits.

    When it comes time to harvest timber, we select the proper technique to assure a sustained forest. Different tree species, soil conditions, stand conditions, etc., suggest the types of cutting which is desirable. The landowner's goals for management further suggest the types of cutting. Combining these assessments results in the selection of the proper silviculture to meet the goals of ownership.

    In addition to marking the timber according in a manner meeting the owner's goals and to comply with state law, we mark the cutting boundaries (often the property line), layout roads, protect streams and wet areas, identify potential endangered species conflicts and protections, and manage the forest in a manner which is compatible with native wildlife.

    When it's time to harvest, you'll have peace of mind knowing that we'll advise in hiring the logging crew. Logging contractors are licensed as "Licensed Timber Operators" by the California Board of Forestry. We inspect the logging to assure compliance with your contract, best management practices, the harvest permit, and compliance with State laws. We also plan and inspect the construction of roads and trails to haul out the timber. These roads can later provide recreational access to your forest. Most importantly, we will inspect to be sure the logging is done in such a manner as to protect your forest investment.

    We will guide you through the management decisions to make your forest a sustainable source of lumber and wood fiber. We'll also describe the management tools which can enhance forest growth, help increase food sources for the game and wildlife population, "fire proof' your forest, all the while building on a valuable investment.

  • Plan what you want from your forest.
    Your forest can be an income-producing investment. It can be a recreational haven for your family and friends. It can be a rich wildlife habitat. Or it can be all of these. We'll work with you to develop a management plan so you get the most out of your forest.

  • Get the best value for your timber.
    We help our clients get the best price for timber. A university study revealed that when timber is sold through forestry consultants, landowners get 20% more than when they arrange the sales themselves.

  • Improve your forest legacy.
    Improving the growth, health and quality of your forest legacy is a continuing service we provide. In addition, we can develop a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) - working with your other professional advisors to take income and estate tax laws into consideration - so you and your heirs can afford to keep the forest in the family, as well as continue to enjoy its recreational and financial benefits.

    Some forest land owners place a Conservation Easement on their property. Such easement is permanent and "goes with the land" upon sale. Typically a government agency buys the easement and engages a non-profit to audit the management. The family can continue with the ownership and income for generations.

    In addition, we can develop a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) - working with your other professional advisors to take income and estate tax laws into consideration - so you and your heirs can afford to keep the forest in the family, as well as continue to enjoy its recreational and financial benefits.

    Expert Witness
    We provide forensic services in the fields of forestry and land surveying for those clients who have legal problems. Areas normally dealt with include fire, logging, resource protection and management, logging road construction, and forest valuation. For those individuals without legal representation, we can refer to attorneys with appropriate backgrounds. Our services are generally delivered by working with the client's attorney. In litigation we require that our clients have legal representation; this is in both our interest and that of our client’s. Charles Sikora has been qualified as an expert witness in local, state, and federal courts throughout California.

    Land Development
    Property being developed for non-forest uses, but containing commercial forest trees, must be legally converted to non-forest uses. We assist our clients and their other consultants in meeting the requirements of the State's Forest Practices Act. At a minimum, a Conversion Permit and a Timber Harvesting Plan are required. Some counties and local governments have additional requirements, such as Tree Protection and Disposition Plan ordinances, which also require the services of a Professional Registered Forester.

    Other Management Services include
    • State of California Permits
    • Timber Harvest plans (THP)
    • Non-Industrial Timber Management Plans
    • Exemption Permits
    • Emergency Notices
    • Conversion Permits
    • Fire Protection and establishment of fuel breaks
    • Timber appraisals
    • Mapping
    • Environmental Impact Studies
    • Expert Witness services
    • Forestland acquisition
    • Logging Inspection
    • Hunting and Fishing Lease Management

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