Giant Achievements for the Forever Forest
2020-21 Annual Report
2020-21 Annual Report
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sam Hodder, President and Chief Executive Officer
Rolando Cohen, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer
Harry Pollack, Assistant Secretary
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
See our past Annual Reports.