Far up the California coast, just south of Crescent City and the Oregon border is a spectacular ridge that overlooks the shimmering waters of Humboldt Lagoons State Park to the west. To the east are the vast old-growth redwoods of Redwood National Park.
Save the Redwoods League has just announced its purchase of this land, adding two properties to the two it already owns. It’s a landscape of mixed conifers and shrubs, including a small number of second-growth redwoods, 90 acres in total.
The League’s intention is to transfer this land to the National Park Service for incorporation into Redwood National Park, where it will secure a natural corridor between the two protected areas. That will allow the free flow of wildlife from the coast to the national park, and an opportunity for the natural vegetation of the ridge to flourish.When I first walked out on the properties back in March, I could immediately see why it was important for the League to secure this land. This is the last place you want somebody building mansions. And given its proximity to Highway 101, that kind of development was a distinct possibility.
Although you can’t see Redwood National’s old-growth redwoods from the ridge, they’re not far away. And keeping this landscape out of development – and all the traffic, construction, noise, fire risk, and debris that comes with it – away from the redwoods is a good idea. We’ve learned that it’s always good to keep as wide a buffer as you can between civilization and the redwoods – both for the trees and the people that are drawn to their peaceful presence.
When this ridge becomes part of Redwood National Park, it will create all kinds of recreational opportunities, particularly hiking and sightseeing.
There’s a local benefit to this move, but it’s also part of a bigger vision. Since the 1920s, the League has been working to reunite and protect this incredible landscape of massive coast redwoods. We’ve done this by securing protections, linking forests through key acquisitions, healing previously logged groves, and creating more and more ways for people to experience and enjoy this globally-significant landscape.
This is the gateway to the heart of California redwood country. Redwood National Park, together with Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks, span more than 130,000 acres and protects 45 percent of the world’s ancient coast redwoods. Save the Redwoods League has added more than 50,000 acres to these parks over the last century, and now we have the opportunity to expand Redwood National Park once again.
The purchase and transfer of these properties also continue the League’s decades-long effort to safeguard the larger Prairie Creek Corridor, one of the first areas that people see when they visit this area.
That terrific view of the ocean and lagoon that I mentioned at the beginning? Once the transfer is complete, that will be for everyone. Along with yet another piece in the puzzle that is this spectacular region.