Goosenest Ranger District & Butte Valley National Grassland
Winter or Summer the Goosenest Ranger District has something for everyone. Excellent outdoor recreational opportunities and facilities are found within the Goosenest Ranger District. Whether your interests are hunting, bird watching, photography, fishing, swimming, wind-surfing, camping, picnicking, snowmobiling, nordic skiing, wood cutting or just a relaxing mood of tranquility while driving through the forest...you'll love the Goosenest Ranger District.
The Ranger Station is located 5 miles south of Macdoel on State Highway 97. If you are traveling from the north, the office is located 15 miles south of Dorris and if you are coming from the south, we are 50 miles north of Weed, California on U.S. Highway 97. There are several vista points offering excellent views of Mt. Shasta, which can be seen all over the district.
The Goosenest Ranger District administers 341,000 acres of the total 514,000 acres within the district boundary. Of the remaining acreage, the Butte Valley National Grassland, designated in 1991, is on 18,500 acres, while the Bureau of Land Management administers 5,000 acres. There is about 150,000 acres of private land within the ranger district boundary.
The Goosenest RD enjoys sunshine on the average of 275 days per year. The elevation is 4,260 feet which produces a high, dry climate. Winter snowfall, normally is light and melts quickly. The average annual temperature is 48 degrees F, and average annual precipitation is 14 inches. The average high temperature in July is 80 degrees, the average low in January is 20 degrees with an annual precipitation of 14 inches.
Under grazing permits, numerous cattle ranches run about 3,500 head of cattle on the district, including the Butte Valley National Grassland.
Imagine the sight and sound of a thousand geese or ducks flying overhead as you travel through the Goosenest Ranger District. This valley lies in the major stopping off place for waterfowl in the Pacific flyway. At the peak of migration (October) the waterfowl is estimated between 3 to 4 million birds. The Lower Klamath Refuge (bordering Goosenest R.D.), and the Butte Valley Wildlife Area are 2 of the wildlife refuges in this area. Bird watchers and photographers can enjoy Canadian Geese, many species of Ducks, Bald and Golden Eagles, Goshawk and Swans, just to name a few.
Another highlight for bird watchers and photographers, on the Goosenest R.D. is our national bird, the Bald Eagle. The abundant food supply is of real importance to the wintering eagles and although eagles are present in the forest the year around, here can be found the largest winter roost of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. Because the Eagle uses certain stands of timber for night roosting, the District has roosts which can be utilized by more than 200 eagles during the winter.
It is also important to recognize our prolific herds of Mule and Black Tail Deer populations. Deer, Elk and bands of Pronghorn Antelope are seen throughout the year. They attract approximately 12,000 hunters each deer season to our District. The eastern portions the District provide summer and winter habitat for Mount Dome and Butte Creek Mule Deer herds. Roosevelt Elk occupy the west side and large herds of Antelope share the north eastern portions of the District.
Located on the Goosenest RD are 4 family campgrounds. The most popular are Juanita Lake covering 55 acres with 23 units and Medicine Lake, east of Goosenest (Modoc NF) which covers 600 acres and has 73 campsites available. There is also Martin's Dairy on the Little Shasta River with 7 units and Shafter campground with 10 units. A group site is available at Juanita Lake by reservation only for groups or organizations.
There is no charge for day use and all facilities include barbecue grills, picnic tables, water and vault toilets. These Forest Service campgrounds are usually crowded in the summer and fall months, and have a 14 day maximum stay. They are all first-come, first-serve, no reservations required.