We need to protect this forest to bolster the old growth of Montgomery Woods and connect all people to this gorgeous landscape
Save the Redwoods League began negotiations in 2020 to acquire a property called Atkins Place, which shares a 0.75-mile border with Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve in Mendocino County. Since then, I’ve made the journey from Ukiah (the largest city in the county) many times to visit the property—and it is such a wild ride. In the summer, the weather is hot and dry throughout the region, but a few miles down Orr Springs Road you descend into this oasis with huge, old redwood trees towering sky high.
The old-growth forest protected in the reserve is on the eastern edge of the coast redwood range, and the trees are clearly thriving. We need to ensure it stays that way. We need to keep this island of old growth resilient to inevitable climate change and severe wildfires by expanding protected lands to buffer it.
At Atkins Place, standing on a ridge above Montgomery Woods’ ancient trees and the South Fork of the Big River — with redwood-studded hillsides as far as the eye can see — gives you a great vantage point to see what’s at stake.
With the commercial center of Ukiah up the road, this secluded area is certainly at risk of subdivision and development. If Atkins Place stays on the market, many people would love to “own” this view. I can’t say I would blame them. But I would of course rather see this place protected. Because not only would that be better for the health and resilience of the landscape and watershed, but it would also mean more people could experience this ridgeline trail and this view as part of Montgomery Woods one day.