League partnerships receive California State Parks awards

Redwoods Rising, Grove of Titans, and California State Parks Week recognized

state parks director awards redwoods rising grove of titans
Pictured from left: Steve Mietz, Redwood National and State Parks superintendent; Paul Ringgold, League chief program officer; Emma Stokes, League Redwoods Rising partnership coordinator; Ben Blom, League director of stewardship and restoration; Jay Chaberlin, chief of California State Parks Natural Resources Division; Sam Hodder, League President and CEO; Victor Bjelajac, superintendent of the North Coast Redwoods District for California State Parks. Photo © 2023, California State Parks/Brian Baer

Three dynamic projects involving the League were recently honored by California State Parks at a ceremony in Sacramento. Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation Armando Quintero presented the awards to Redwood National and State Parks in recognition of Redwoods Rising and the Grove of Titans, accomplished through partnerships between California State Parks, National Park Service and Save the Redwoods League. California State Parks Week–a partnership of the League, California State Parks Foundation, Parks California, and California State Parks–was also honored.

Redwood Rising was recognized with the Climate Adaptation Award. The Climate Adaptation Award recognizes those who have taken remarkable steps in preparing for and protecting against the adverse and imminent consequences of climate change impacts; wildfires, flooding, erosion, air pollution and droughts, as well as threats to park habitats, ecosystems and people. Redwoods Rising is an ambitious and collaborative effort to heal 70,000 acres of young coast redwood forests in the parks that still bear the scars of decades of clearcut logging.

“I’m very proud that the work of the professional teams across organizations and disciplines are being recognized for their leadership in landscape scale redwood forest restoration. The collective work is truly creating a model for climate adaptation ecology on the North Coast by setting second-growth redwood forests on a trajectory to become an old-growth forest again,” stated Victor Bjelajac District Superintendent California State Parks-North Coast Redwoods District.

The North Coast Redwoods District Trail Crew responsible for building the Grove of Titans trail was honored with the Innovation Award. The recipient of the Innovation Award demonstrates, despite constraints, the remarkable ability to complete tasks and projects or address park problems through creative and innovative means. Recipients of this award have shown resourcefulness in using tools and materials to accomplish an objective, as well as have applied a unique skill, technical ability and imagination to deliver results.

Steve Mietz, Redwood National and State Parks Superintendent, shared “The work accomplished by the State Parks Trails Team in constructing the Grove of Titans Trail is nothing less than awe-inspiring. They hand carried over 128 tons of board walk materials, constructed footbridges, and established retaining walls in a manner that improves protection of the redwoods while also greatly increasing access for visitors.” 

District Superintendent Bjelajac concluded, “These awards, plus all the other important work taking place in the parks, is a result of strong partnerships. Not just between the agencies, but with the Yurok Tribe and Tolowa Nation, as well as Save the Redwoods League, and others. It takes a community to properly steward these incredible lands. We are honored to work with creative and dedicated staff and partners to solve complex issues.”

“The new Grove of Titans Trail and the Redwoods Rising restoration collaborative are wonderful examples of the power of partnerships,” said Ben Blom, director of stewardship and restoration, Save the Redwoods League. “Redwood National and State Parks is an amazing place, and we’re thrilled that we can help protect and restore its incredible forests and provide opportunities for park visitors to experience the wonder of these lands. We applaud the Grove of Titans trail crew and everyone who has come together for Redwoods Rising―and we thank the California State Parks for recognizing these incredible partnerships with Director’s Awards.”

The partnership on the Grove of Titans project includes California State Parks, Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation, Save the Redwoods League, Redwood Parks Conservancy, and the National Park Service.

California State Parks Week received the Partnership Award. This award recognizes partners who have demonstrated a high level of commitment over a substantial period of time toward accomplishing the department’s mission. California State Parks Week is a unique partnership of California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, Parks California, and California State Parks Foundation.

About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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