We all get really excited when we close a big project—like when we acquired the beautiful 145-acre property with pristine redwoods next to Portola Redwoods State Park a few months ago, or when we received a conservation easement on 90 acres near the Sinkyone Wilderness in Mendocino last year. The stories were in the newspapers, they’re that cool! But, no one really writes exciting stories about what comes next–taking care of the land we just bought, aka “Stewardship”. There are many things to do once we own a property and that’s when I come in. And in my opinion, this part of the work is really cool, too!
Every property is different and has different needs. Land that we own and conservation easement properties need stewards to make sure the land is being cared for properly. Some land we buy may have old cabins that need to be removed because they may be a hazard; or landowners with a conservation easement may want to build a fence and I need to make sure they’re allowed to do that under the rules of the conservation easement.
And sometimes my job requires dealing with big problems that pop up: Recently while visiting one of our properties, we discovered the main road to the property had eroded right off the edge of the hillside. This was not good! We would not be able to drive to the property. So, with the help of consultants who specialize in things like road repairs, we figured out that an old culvert (a big, metal pipe, basically) had rusted away and now water had been slowly washing the road away. We’re starting the process of taking out that big, rusty culvert and replacing it with a new one and putting the road back together.
Stewardship is not cheap, and never ends, but it is a very important part of the work we do. And I’d say it’s one of the most exciting parts of our work—who wouldn’t enjoy looking after the spectacular redwood forests of California!?
Learn more about stewardship at Save the Redwoods League!