Giant Achievements for the Forever Forest

2020-21 Annual Report

Forever Forest

With our supporters, we are ramping up our redwood land protection, restoring landscapes of young forests across their ancient range, and connecting new generations with the beauty and power of nature through transformational parks experiences. At the dawn of the League’s 2020-21 fiscal year, in the early days of a global pandemic, our world was overcome with uncertainty about the future. We soon learned that the year would be equally defined by racial injustice, political division, and wildfires across California. Despite the unprecedented challenges, we marked the year with tremendous accomplishments, protecting and healing our natural systems and helping the redwood parks that heal us.

HIGHLIGHTS

Our conservation achievements were possible with the generous contributions of our members and supporters, which enabled critical land acquisitions, the first full season of a historic forest restoration initiative, and vital investments in redwood parks to offer inclusive experiences to millions of visitors who sought the peace and solace of the redwoods during a tumultuous year.

PROTECT

We are securing the remaining viable old-growth redwood forests and doubling the protected coast redwood forest reserves over the next 100 years to ensure that the forests’ health and beauty will endure for generations to come.

Save the Redwoods League permanently protected Mailliard Ranch in Mendocino County with three conservation easements.

PROTECTED

Mailliard Ranch

A vast forest in Mendocino County

The 14,838-acre Mailliard Ranch features crystal-clear streams and mountains blanketed by verdant coast redwood forest. Save the Redwoods League permanently protected this landscape with three conservation easements, closing the final phase of the $24.7 million project and creating 82,000 acres of contiguous conserved lands.

Aerial view of Cascade Creek

Green coast redwoods stand tall amid areas burned in a 2020 wildfire on the Cascade Creek property, which the League purchased that year. Most of the old-growth redwoods survived in this forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Photo by Jim Campbell-Spickler and Will Goldenberg.

PROTECTED

Cascade Creek Property

A keystone habitat connection in the Santa Cruz Mountains

More than 6,700 donors supported the League’s purchase of Cascade Creek, a 564-acre coast redwood property between Big Basin Redwoods and Año Nuevo State Parks. The $9.6 million project establishes a keystone connection for protected habitat from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Andersonia West property

Anderson Creek runs through the verdant old- and second-growth coast redwood forest of the Andersonia West property along the Lost Coast. Photo: Alex Herr, NCRM Inc.

PROTECTED

Andersonia West

Acquisition protects Lost Coast redwoods and crucial habitat

Save the Redwoods League purchased the Andersonia West property, a lush 523-acre coast redwood and mixed-conifer forest in a rugged and remote part of Mendocino County along the Lost Coast. The $3.55 million purchase protects habitat for imperiled species as well as redwoods throughout the property, including nearly 200 acres of old-growth stands and scattered ancient trees.

RESTORE

To ensure that redwood forests thrive, we are restoring forests and ecosystems throughout the redwood regions, leveraging the best available science to accelerate their healing.

Redwoods Rising is restoring more than 70,000 acres of historically logged forests in Redwood National and State Parks.

ADVANCED

Redwoods Rising

Historic forest restoration initiative completes successful first season

Redwoods Rising is a monumental partnership between Save the Redwoods League, the National Park Service, and California State Parks to restore more than 70,000 acres of historically logged forests in Redwood National and State Parks. After breaking ground in October 2019, we and our partners completed our first full operating season in October 2020. Since 2019, we have conducted restoration thinning across approximately 1,000 acres of degraded young coast redwood forest and removed 8.5 miles of old logging roads, preventing erosion that threatened streams in which salmon spawn.

sequoia trees damaged by wildfire

League staff members survey giant sequoia after a 2020 wildfire burned the League’s Alder Creek property in the Sierra Nevada. Most of the large giant sequoia survived. Photo by Suzanne Moss.

REHABILITATED

Alder Creek Property

Taking action to restore our giant sequoia forest after wildfire

After the 2020 SQF Complex Fire in the Sierra Nevada burned through significant portions of our Alder Creek property, our 2020 survey showed that at least 80 of the forest’s nearly 500 large giant sequoia died. The Stagg Tree, the fifth largest known tree in the world, survived. We took immediate action to protect the roads, trails, and culverts from erosion. We are working with scientists to develop a plan for rehabilitation in the fire’s wake.

Man planting seedling at a redwood forest

Anthony Castaños, the League’s Land Stewardship Manager, plants a Douglas-fir seedling at San Vicente Redwoods after a 2020 wildfire. The League worked with partners to plant 5,500 coast redwood and Douglas-fir seedlings on the property. Photo by Kristy Peterson.

RESTORED

San Vicente Redwoods

Planting seedlings and preventing erosion in wake of Santa Cruz Mountains fire

Roughly half of the forest in the 8,532-acre San Vicente Redwoods, where the League holds a conservation easement, burned at high intensity in the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The coast redwoods will likely recover. To address potential erosion issues and landslides, we replaced burned culverts and stream crossings. With POST and Amah Mutsun Land Trust, we planted 5,500 coast redwood and Douglas-fir seedlings.

The League and partners used a helicopter to install 350 logs into tributaries of the Mattole River to improve the health of the watershed and provide more fish habitat in the Redwoods to the Sea Corridor.

RESTORED

Redwoods to the Sea Corridor

Supporting fire resilience and fish habitat in Humboldt County

In the Redwoods to the Sea Corridor in Humboldt County, where the League holds nine conservation easements spanning 11,000 acres, restoration work is underway in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, landowner Bob Stansberry, Mattole Salmon Group, and Mattole Restoration Council. We have treated 130 acres of a 252-acre fuel break and installed 350 logs into tributaries of the Mattole River to improve fish habitat.

Crew performing restoration work on a redwood forest

Crews completed restoration thinning of 151 acres on the League’s Beaver Creek property in the Sierra Nevada next to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Photo by Anthony Castaños.

RESTORED

Beaver Creek and Calaveras Big Trees State Park 

Reducing fuels in the Sierra Nevada

In the Giant Sequoia Forest Resilience Project in the Sierra Nevada, the League and California State Parks completed restoration thinning of 151 acres on the League’s Beaver Creek property. The thinning is part of a project to reduce fuels across 981 acres at Beaver Creek and Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

CONNECT

We are creating inspirational and transformative experiences for all redwood park visitors and fostering the understanding that these forests are critical elements of California’s identity.

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The renovation of Pfeiffer Falls Trail features stairways through a lush coast redwood forest in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Work on the wildfire-damaged trail was nearly completed at end of fiscal year 2020-21. Photo by Max Whittaker.

CONSTRUCTED

Trails in Big Sur and the north coast

To ensure inspirational experiences for all who visit the redwoods, we made bold strides in our work to strategically upgrade recreational, educational, and interpretive infrastructure in parks.

Grove of Titans walkway

Deborah Zierten, League Education and Interpretation Manager, visits the Grove of Titans to plan interpretive signage as crews construct an elevated walkway that will protect and provide safe access to the ancient trees. The work in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park was almost finished in fiscal year 2020-21.

Grove of Titans walkway nearly completed

Work was almost finished on a project including a 1,300-foot-long elevated walkway to protect and provide safe access to the amazing Grove of Titans in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The $3.5 million project was supported by the California Natural Resources Agency’s Cultural, Community and Natural Resources Grant Program, League benefactor Josie Merck, and thousands of Save the Redwoods League and Redwood Parks Conservancy members. California State Parks, the National Park Service and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation also are collaborating with us on this project.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Crews almost completed a full renovation of Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Photo by Paolo Vescia.

Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park nearly finished

Crews almost finished a full renovation of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which winds under the redwoods and spans a gorge on a new 70-foot-long footbridge to reach the waterfall vista. The nearly $2 million project was made possible by California State Parks deferred maintenance funding, the California Natural Resources Agency’s California River Parkways Program, The Parker Foundation, and private donors to Save the Redwoods League.

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ENGAGED

Creating more inclusive redwoods experiences

As the COVID-19 crisis revealed the enormous disparities in access to nature for some communities, it also halted the League’s momentum in creating new opportunities for inclusive park experiences. With California on lockdown, the League found creative ways to engage communities and readied plans for a post-pandemic world. We used this time to deepen partnerships with more than 50 community organizations.

I’ll Go If You Go

The League launched a podcast called “I’ll Go If You Go” by and for diverse conservation and outdoor recreation leaders. The podcast features (top row) Farrahn Hawkins, community development enthusiast and former Yosemite National Park ranger; Toni Maggi- Brown, Redwoods Rising apprentice; (middle row) Karla Amador, who started the 52-Hike Challenge; Rebecca Au, Volunteer and Youth Programs Coordinator for Golden Gate National Recreation Area; (bottom row) Miguel Marquez, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ranger; and Leslie Parra, the League’s Outreach Program Manager and the podcast host. Photos: Farrahn Hawkins by Kim Grossman, Toni Maggi-Brown by Will Goldenberg, Karla Amador by Victor Vic, Rebecca Au by Alex Sobiloff, and Miguel Marquez by Juzeh Correia.

New podcast builds a diverse community

We launched a podcast called “I’ll Go If You Go,” by and for diverse conservation and outdoor recreation leaders that strives to build community through conversation and expand access to the redwoods and partnerships for the League.

Listen to the podcast

Our Careers in the Redwoods videos foster the next generation of redwoods stewards.

Connecting redwoods with students at home

With our redwoods education programs suspended by the closure of schools and in-person programs, the League found creative ways to engage. As teachers and parents turned to the internet for resources, we shared our extensive redwoods education resources online: guides for teachers, careers in the redwoods, educational games, parenting tips, even videos of book readings in English and Spanish for young children. Among our new online resources is our redwoods K-12 curriculum for schools, parks, and families, capping off several years of development in partnership with Humboldt County. This project was partially funded by the S.H. Cowell Foundation.

Diverse group of people walking on a redwood trail

Today’s redwood forest enthusiasts come from many different backgrounds and perspectives. The League is committed to ensuring all people have a welcoming and inclusive experience. Photo by Daniel Gorostieta.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

Building a redwoods movement that resonates with everyone

The League made great progress in defining and strengthening our values around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We completed a statement of our formal commitment to DEI and a five-year plan including our strategies and tactics to build a more equitable and inclusive organization. These were developed in consultation with staff members at all levels and programmatic areas, as well as our Board of Directors and Council to ensure broad representation.

Board resolution

Read the resolution supporting the League’s commitment to a more inclusive future.

Reckoning with the League founders’ eugenics past

We came to understand how our founders’ leadership in the eugenics movement had broad and lasting implications for redwoods conservation and our organization. We recognized that the League needed to explicitly reckon with this part of our history, and we made our first public statement acknowledging all of this. The League’s Board of Directors also passed a related resolution denouncing our founders’ beliefs and formally committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A group gathers before a walk through the redwoods.

Engaging our priority communities

We continue to move forward on critical diversity, equity, and inclusion work by better engaging and representing broader perspectives and interests, particularly those of our focus communities that we have identified as priorities: California Native tribes, youth of color, women and girls, and redwood forest-adjacent low-income communities.

2020-21 FINANCES AT A GLANCE

REVENUE BY CATEGORY 2020-21

Total Revenue $59,913 (in thousands)
The League’s revenue for the fiscal year was $59.9 million. The League received significant support through gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations, and government agencies for our work. The revenue-by-category chart excludes realized and unrealized gains and losses from investments.


EXPENSES BY CATEGORY 2020-21

Total Expenses $36,743 (in thousands)
Expenses reflect the work of the League throughout the year in acquiring and stewarding land and conservation easements; conducting scientific research; providing outreach and education programs; and enhancing state and national parks and the visitor experience.


EXPENSE RATIO 5-YEAR ROLLING AVERAGE

As is common in land conservation, the transaction cycle of purchasing, holding, and transferring land often requires several years to complete. While land and forests are protected from the time of acquisition, the League often remains a steward of those lands until they can be transferred to a public agency or nonprofit land trust for ongoing stewardship, public access, and permanent protection. The program expense is recognized only when a property is transferred to its permanent steward, or when a conservation easement is acquired. Since land divestments and conservation easement acquisitions are episodic and markedly affect the League’s expense ratio from year to year, we believe a five-year rolling average is a more meaningful depiction of our program expense ratio.


STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES AND STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

Statement of activities and statement of financial position

THANK YOU

We achieved so much together despite the challenges. Save the Redwoods League is so humbled and grateful for your unwavering support and your sustained commitment to the forests that inspire us to reimagine and rebuild a better future.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Matthew K. Berler, Chair
Rosemary Cameron, Vice Chair
Andy Vought, Vice Chair
C. Blake T. Williams, Treasurer
Abe Tarapani, Assistant Treasurer
Mike Wyatt, Secretary
Sara A. Clark
William A. Croft
Melissa Harris
Caryl Hart
Kristy Hsiao
John Montague
John Scharffenberger
Andrea Tuttle
Michael Woo
Sam Hodder, President and Chief Executive Officer
Rolando Cohen, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer
Harry Pollack, Assistant Secretary

COUNCIL

Kate Anderton • T. A. Barron • Stephen J. Butler • James Campbell • William Croft • Pete Dangermond • Sandra Donnell • Ted Driscoll • Ralph Eschenbach • Justin M. Faggioli • Caitlyn Fox • Jerry Franklin • Reno Keoni Franklin • Denise Garone • Sandy Gibson • José G. González • Michael Helms • Sam Hodges • Reed Holderman • Annette Boushey Holland • David Horn • Erin Kelly • Lucy Kerhoulas • Yoriko Kishimoto • Allegra Krasznekewicz • Ray Leon • Peggy Light • Christa Lyons • Dave Mahler • Donald Massey • Robert E. Mellor • Lisa Allen Ortiz • Ralph Osterling • Richard Otter • Mary E. Power • Katie Prescott • Jorge Ramos • Ethan Ravage • Kimberly Rodrigues • Lorelle Ross • Corinna Roth • Roger Samuelsen • Jim Sergi • Julia Sherwin • Carolyn Sherwood Call • Melinda M. Thomas • David Weinberg • Frank W. Wentworth • Mark X. Wentworth • Mindy Whittington • Rob York


Review our annual audited financial statements and IRS 990 forms.

See our past Annual Reports.