Mission, Board, Staff and History

Forest Unlimited is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to protect, enhance, and restore the forests and watersheds of Sonoma County. Forest Unlimited educates the public about logging plan review, forestry law, and regulation.

Forest Unlimited monitors logging plans region-wide, addresses illegal and unsound logging, works toward improving logging rules, and provides information regarding current forestry law. Forest Unlimited sponsors forest restoration projects and coordinates a Mentor Program designed to educate and train the public.

Board of Directors

Larry Hanson, President
Heather Rawson, Vice President
Don Frank, Secretary
Jim Newman, Treasurer
Lynn Hamilton
Jack Silver, Esq.
Brian Schuler
Elaine Wellin, Ph.D


Rick Coates, Executive Director

Program Managers

Elaine Wellin, Ph.D., Reforestation Program Manager
vacant, Logging Review Program Manager
Duane De Witt, Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager
Larry Hanson, Editor Forest Communiqué
Suzanne Doyle, Web Manager
Cindy O’Grady, Free Calder Creek Project Manager

Contact Information

P.O. Box 506
Forestville, CA 95436

Email us: contact@forestunlimited.org

Contacts for specific issues


Heather Rawson lavenderlynette@hotmail.com
Don Frank trees @ sonic.net


Jack Silver warrioreco@yahoo.com

Mailing List:

Larry Hanson larryjhanson@comcast.net

Reforestation and Tree Planting:

Elaine Wellin elaine.wellin@sonoma.edu
Lynn Hamilton lynnham@sonic.net
Brian Schuler info@mindfullandscapes.com


Rick Coates rcoates@sonic.net  707.707.632.6070.


Several Sonoma County residents formed Forest Unlimited in 1995 after viewing with alarm the California Department of Forestry’s cavalier attitude toward the destruction of our forest lands. It was clear that CDF (now Calfire) was not obeying the law nor protecting the environment. We felt it was important to educate the public about forestry law and regulation and encourage the citizens to participate in the public review process for logging plans. Consequently, in April of 1995 Forest Unlimited incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization under the laws of the State of California and the federal internal revenue code. Educators, scientists (including a geologist, biologist, sociologist and chemist) and attorney’s joined Our Board of Directors.

When a logging plan was filed west of Occidental to cut a grove of ancient (800+ years old) redwoods, Forest Unlimited helped to organize and advise the “Friends of the Old Trees”, a citizens group. After a 7 year struggle, the Grove of the Old Trees is now owned by LandPaths, preserved and open to the public. The Grove is also the site of scientific research done by UC biologist Todd Dawson.

Three citizens, with the help of Forest Unlimited, started “Friends of Gray Creek” when they learned of a plan to log old growth trees near Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Their timely efforts resulted in the inclusion of this grove in the State Park.

A handful of citizens from the eastern edge of Sonoma County calling themselves the “Indian Rock Alliance” requested training and strategic assistance from Forest Unlimited. Forest Unlimited helped coordinate a successful legal challenge to a potentially destructive logging plan that threatened the headwaters and steelhead spawning grounds of Mark West Creek.

The “Ad Hoc Committee for the Protection of Green Valley Creek” with the help of Forest Unlimited forced Kendall Jackson Winery to withdraw a proposal to convert over 100 acres of forest to vineyard on Bones Lane near Occidental.

Forest Unlimited helped organize and train the citizens of the “Joy Road Area Forest and Watershed Association” to effectively participate in the review process for logging that threatened their water supply. That participation enabled them to win a lawsuit that proved that CDF had been illegally approving logging plans for more than twenty years. The Case set four major legal precedents.

Trained by Forest Unlimited, the “Pocket Canyon Protection Group” delayed approval of a destructive logging and conversion plan on scenic Highway 116 for over three years – convincing the landowner to negotiate a settlement that addressed the group’s concerns.

We would welcome the opportunity to provide training and advice on forestry, forestry law and forest protection to your group too! Please contact us.