The primary forest at the Barneston site was originally logged around 1910. The area likely burned several times afterward, both as a management tool and by accident. The second-growth stand that replaced it was commercially thinned in the early 1980s. A severe wind storm destroyed the remaining standing trees in 1983, after which the logs were salvaged and the area was replanted with Douglas fir seedlings. In 1995, the stand was pre-commercially thinned to improve tree growth.

The Habitat Conservation Plan was implemented in 2001 as the primary management document for the Cedar River Municipal Watershed for 50 years. It established the watershed as an ecological reserve to protect its greatest resource; high-quality drinking water.