Cooperatove Conservation Project

Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Pilot Project

Community-based Group Balances Conservation and Community Stability

Location: Far West Region: California

Project Summary: The Quincy Library Group created a model for forest governance by making the community and community goals a central part of forest management.
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Wildlife biologist Tom Rickman explaining the benefits of removing conifer trees from an overgrown aspen stand.
Resource Challenge

Quincy, a northern California logging town, was in deep distress. From bullet holes in an office window to near misses from swerving logging trucks, the environmental community and the timber industry were at war. Lower timber harvests, job losses, and less revenue to run county governments added to the frustration and animosity.

A handful of Quincy leaders decided that their small community would be different from so many others locked in similar controversies. Three men—an elected county supervisor, a timber company executive, and an environmental lawyer—met at the town library to talk. It was "the only neutral place we could think of, and once there, we knew we had to keep our voices down," said one. They decided to create the Quincy Library Group (QLG), now a 30-member, citizen-based committee that bases its ideas on sound technical information, a broad political base, and local participation.

The QLG focuses on Lassen, Plumas, and Sierra Counties in northeastern California, which are primarily federal lands. Like Quincy, the region is heavily dependent on the logging industry. 

Examples of Key Partners

Bill Coates, Former Plumas County Supervisor, Michael Jackson, Attorney, Tom Nelson, District Forester, and Sierra Pacific Industries were founding members of the QLG. Other members include: forest industry representatives, environmental and policy consultants, county of. cials, Cooperative Extension, Union representatives, biologists and foresters, wood energy producers, forest users, the academic community, environmental groups, and interested citizens.

Results and Accomplishments

QLG has been successful because: 1) it is hard to avoid people in a small town, 2) each of the three founders were strong personalities, not inclined to be pressured into an artificial consensus, and 3) Quincy’s people cared enough—and worked hard enough—to overcome years of anger and mistrust. Accomplishments include:

  • Adopted a Community Stability Proposal, recommending. changes in environmental management on the National Forests.
  • In 1998, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to establish the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Pilot Project, a landmark forest management plan which directed the region’s National Forests to implement several management strategies, including habitat protection for California Spotted Owls. The bill also required the Forest Service to involve the QLG and others in future proposals.
  • The QLG secured about $10 million in supplemental funding from Congress for local National Forests to implement a Forest Health Pilot program based in part on QLG concepts. Two-thirds of the funding goes to forest health project contractors.

A handful of citizens decided to step out of controversy to work on mutual goals.

Project Contact
Bill Coates
Quincy Library Group



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