Is Save the Redwoods League Going into the Railroad Business?

Conservation work comes in all shapes and sizes. Protecting, restoring, and sharing the redwood forest with the public is a broad mission, and we look to achieve it through a diversity of efforts. Sometimes the League’s projects are as obvious as buying and preserving an old-growth forest; with others the impact of our work is less apparent, but no less important.

The historic Skunk Train, after more than a century of shuttling visitors between Willits and Fort Bragg through the redwood forests of the Noyo River, suffered a huge blow this spring when a tunnel collapse forced the railroad to close. Earlier this week, the League stepped in to provide funds to clear the tracks and reopen the railroad.

Why would the League want to help a railroad? As part of our agreement to provide funding for tunnel repairs, the railroad has agreed to provide the League with the option to buy a conservation easement for the railroad property, which covers over 500 acres in a 100-foot-wide, 40=mile-long strip. By protecting the railroad, we will be ensuring continued access to the magnificent forest along the Noyo River. The Skunk train brings over 40,000 people a year to the redwoods, many of them folks whose physical limitations mean that this is their only opportunity to experience these wonders. Sharing the redwood forest with people who could not otherwise experience it is a vital part of the League’s mission, and we are pleased to be able to help in such an unconventional way. 

The project was recently discussed in an article in yesterday’s SF Chronicle.  Read more about it here.

Avatar for Richard Campbell

About the author

Richard joined the League’s staff in 2012 as the Conservation Science Manager and now serves as Director of Restoration. He brings nearly a decade of experience in forest management and restoration.

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