• About - ARC Staff

    ARC Staff

Steve Auten

Steve Auten

ARC owner and forester Steve Auten has managed forestland, chaparral, grassland, and riparian habitats on agricultural operations and large landownerships for over 23 years in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mr. Auten is a Registered Professional Forester of 20 years with a master's degree in Forestry, focusing on wildfire tree mortality. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with a concentration in Wildlife. Both degrees are from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Upon graduation, Mr. Auten worked as a forester for Big Creek Lumber Company for 5 years and then worked as a forester and operations manager for Cal Poly Swanton Pacific Ranch for 14 years. Mr. Auten opened ARC’s doors on August 5th, 2019 with the intent of making a difference in forestry, fuels, and resource management in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Mr. Auten is well-versed in many aspects of land stewardship and operating on large ownerships under multiple resource disciplines that consider sensitive resources, evaluating operational infrastructure, prescribing and supervising land stewardship treatments, mapping, permitting, agency negotiations, long term planning and budgeting, rural facility and emergency management, sustainability and certification, and carbon analysis. His unique experiences in stewarding diverse and sensitive ecosystems while managing a balance of economic, social, and biological aspects make him and ARC the right choice for Wildfire Risk Reduction Assessments and/or Planning, Landscape Level Forest Health Fuel Reduction, and general forestry and land management services.

David Van Lennep

David Van Lennep

ARC Senior Forester, Registered Professional Forester #2591. Born in Southern California, David began a path towards forestry from a love of the outdoors, cultivated by Scouting, and family camping trips. He attended Humboldt State University, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. Mr. Van Lennep has been managing timberlands, both large and small, primarily in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties since 1993. Beginning in 1995, he has been responsible for managing a portfolio of private lands. Key management goals were to increase productivity and growth, schedule and manage harvest entries and permitting, oversee maintenance and provide input and objectives for planning and budgets on short- and long-term horizons.

He began his forestry career working seasonal job appointments on Public Lands, first for the Bureau of Land Management in Northern California, then with the U.S. Forest Service in Southern California (1988-1993). In 1993, he moved to the Santa Cruz area and began work in the forest with a local Forestry Consultant. In 1995, David took a position with Redwood Empire Sawmills where he was responsible for fieldwork and administration of Timber Harvest Plans, including tree planting operations. Later he was charged with log procurement and log transportation for company lands and private sales. His responsibilities steadily grew to include supervision of Southern Area operations, area employees, property value assessment, and regional liaison to several regulatory oversight bodies.

During this time Mr. Van Lennep has gained extensive experience with the resource management needs of small and large landowners, and how to successfully translate landowner goals on the landscape. Key skills for success have been the ability to work with contractors on complex projects and building trust with stakeholders and public trust agencies by producing consistent high-quality project outcomes.

Mr. Van Lennep has also given his time to important professional and community organizations.

  • Board member for the California Licensed Foresters Association (2001-2005)
  • Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Board of Directors (2005-present), and President of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau from 2014 to 2016
  • Board Member of the Soquel Firesafe Council (2010-2015)
  • Volunteer for the California Forestry Challenge 2010-Present

Shelby Kranich

Shelby Kranich

ARC Registered Professional Forester #3249, Shelby Kranich graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry concentrating in Wildland Fire and Fuels Management. Ms. Kranich was born and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains and spent several summers in college working on the steep forested terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains conducting fieldwork and planning for all aspects of forestry. Much of her college forestry experience consisted of collecting data for the assessment of tree mortality following the 2009 Lockheed Fire.

Ms. Kranich began working for ARC in June 2020 and since has developed a wide skillset developing and permitting some of the largest forest health and fuels reduction projects completed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ms. Kranich operates as a project lead developing, permitting, and supporting large scale CalVTP PSAs in the Santa Cruz Mountains including contractor and permit compliance. Ms. Kranich also specializes in field verification, layout, contractor compliance, GIS, vegetation mapping, forest measurements, agency negotiations, surveys for cultural and historic resources, and a wide array of permit development.

Riley McFarland

Riley McFarland

ARC Senior Associate Forester, Mitchell “Riley” McFarland graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry concentrating in Watershed Management and Hydrology. Mr. McFarland was raised near the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California and grew up exploring forested environments along the American River. As a young adult, Mr. McFarland was first exposed to land stewardship through involvement in community agriculture NGOs and an interest in fisheries management. Upon completion of a vegetation mapping internship in Southeast Alaska and his B.S. degree, Mr. McFarland is now working in the coast redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Mr. McFarland operates as a project lead on large scale forest health fuels reduction projects and conducts contractor and regulatory compliance under the CalVTP and other permitting mechanisms. Mr. McFarland’s specialties include forest structural measurements, inventory and trend monitoring, streamflow assessment, GIS analysis, permit document preparation and review, technical report writing, critical thinking, and agency communications.

Chloe Knowd

Chloe Knowd

ARC Assistant Forester III, Chloe Knowd, graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in Biology. She grew up in eastern San Diego County, California where she discovered her passion for spending time in the mountains and at the ocean. Ms. Knowd spent several summers in college assisting with field biology work including construction compliance and Cal Poly research projects. Her interest in forest management piqued during her time spent learning and working at Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch as a watershed intern. Post-graduation, Ms. Knowd homed in on her interest in forest management while performing layout and marking hazard trees as a Forestry Technician in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Following her time spent in the Sierras, Ms. Knowd was hired by the Cal Fire Soquel Demonstration State Forest as a Forestry Aide to perform fuels reduction handwork, layout, and data collection in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ms. Knowd is glad to now work as a member of the ARC team and continue to be a part of forest health fuels reduction projects in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Ms. Knowd provides project support by assisting in preparation of CalVTP PSAs, conducting contractor and permit compliance, GIS mapping, data processing, and performing forest measurements.

Charlie Hillis

Charlie Hillis

ARC Assistant Forester II, Charlie Hillis, graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resources, concentrating in Watershed Management and Hydrology, and a minor in Geology. Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Mr. Hillis developed a passion for forests during childhood summers spent with his grandparents in northern Minnesota. Moving to California for college further deepened his appreciation for the environment through outdoor recreational activities and academic field trips.

For three consecutive summers, Mr. Hillis was part of a research team conducting geophysics research on the effects of meadow restoration on groundwater and soil moisture in the southern Cascades. The summer before graduation, he worked as a forest technician for Forest Solutions Resources and Technologies (FRST) in Grass Valley, CA, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. There, he was involved in laying out timber harvest plans (THPs), preparing areas for herbicide application, and marking trees for salvage and sanitation harvests.

Mr. Hillis joined the ARC team in June 2023. His specialties include project layout, operator oversight, forest biometric collection and analysis, forest biomass carbon assessments, data management, GIS analysis, and permit preparation, such as the CalVTP PSA and CAL FIRE categorical exemptions. He is also a certified CalFire Archaeological Surveyor, qualified to complete archaeological surveys and prepare Archaeological Survey Reports.

Heath Hooper

Heath Hooper

ARC Assistant Forester I, Heath Hooper, graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2023 with Bachelors of Science in Forestry & Environmental Management, concentrating in geographic information systems (GIS). Mr. Hooper grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, recreating and working in the Santa Cruz Mountains throughout his young adult life. His fascination with forest management and wildfire was spawned in 2018 when members of his family were affected by the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

As a third-year student at Cal Poly, Mr. Hooper further developed his interest in forestry while performing post-fire forest inventory in the CZU Complex burn scar through an independent study program with Cal Poly. The summer following his third year, he worked along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains as a field technician for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, carrying out vegetation management and fuels reduction projects.

Concurrently, Mr. Hooper was also part of the Cal Poly Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Institute as a GIS researcher. He assisted on projects spanning from fuel mapping with remote sensing technology to spatial assessment of how urban planning implicates fire hazard in exurban Californian communities. He continued these efforts in an internship with the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council post-grad, building on his work on these projects and assisting with additional geospatial efforts in wildfire pre-planning and emergency services with the Fire Safe Council and County of San Luis Obispo.

Mr. Hooper joined the ARC staff in February of 2024. Since, he has assisted in field verification, forest measurements, CEQA permitting, GIS mapping, and wildfire modeling and protocol development for working with FlamMap.