About the Area

The four counties within the Forest’s immediate sphere of influence are Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne. These counties are primarily rural in nature, and are characterized by rolling foothill and/or steep mountainous terrain, very low population density, and an attractive and unspoiled natural environment. The latter three are in the heart of California’s historic “Mother Lode,” and contain many historically significant Gold Rush era towns, and both historic and prehistoric heritage sites.

Collectively, all four counties have an abundance of outdoor recreational sites, including numerous rivers, lakes and reservoirs, two state parks (Calaveras Big Trees and Columbia State Parks), one national park (Yosemite National Park), several alpine and nordic ski areas, and portions of several national forests, including the Stanislaus, El Dorado, Toiyabe, and Sierra National Forests.

Alpine County is the smallest of these four counties, with 465,030 acres (727 square miles) of land, all at high elevation on the crest of the Sierra Nevada.  A total of 423,520 acres, or 91%, of Alpine County is located within national forest, of which 124,285 acres are within the Stanislaus National Forest (the remainder being located within the El Dorado and Toiyabe National Forests).  

Calaveras County has a total of 663,290 acres (1,036 square miles) of land. Of this total, 75,072 acres (11%) are located within the Stanislaus National Forest.

Mariposa County is the second largest of the local counties, with a total land area of 934,690 acres (1.460 square miles). The county contains portions of both the Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests, as well as the greater part of Yosemite National Park. Mariposa County has no incorporated cities, and 84,456 acres, or 9% of the total land area, is located within the Stanislaus National Forest.

Tuolumne County, the largest and most populated of the local counties, has 1,467,300 acres, or 2,293 square miles, of land. The county contains Columbia State Park, as well as a portion of Yosemite National Park. A total of 611,395 acres, or 42% of the county’s land base, is located within the Stanislaus National Forest.