The Big Idea behind the Forever Forest Campaign

Let’s bring back the magnificent old-growth redwoods of California’s past

Sky over Harold Richardson Redwood Reserve
Harold Richardson Redwood Reserve is one of many projects made possible by donors to the Forever Forest Campaign. The ancient redwood forest of Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve has remained largely untouched for thousands of years. Photo by Mike Shoys

Prior to industrial logging, California had more than 2 million acres of ancient redwoods, but now only about 113,000 acres of old-growth redwood forests remain, largely protected in parks and preserves. In place of all that lost old-growth forest now stand about 1.5 million acres of younger second-growth redwood forests. Most of these forests (1.1 million acres) are commercially managed, with the remainder in various degrees of conservation ownership.

The League’s Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods is built on a big, bold idea: Let’s come together and rebuild California’s great redwood forests to their former glory.

Accomplishing this goal will require a major shift in perspective. For 100 years, Save the Redwoods League and its supporters have stood between California’s iconic redwood trees and the axe. Many of the redwood parks that we enjoy today, with their goliath trees that inspire so many, wouldn’t have been possible without this effort. But now we realize that there is an opportunity to pivot from slowing degradation to advancing regeneration and restoration of the redwood forest ecosystem. It’s a move from defense to offense.

The League’s Centennial Vision lays out a road map for the next 100 years of redwoods conservation. Supporters to the Forever Forest campaign are the force that makes that vision a reality. Donations to the Forever Forest Campaign have already been used to protect spectacular coast redwood and giant sequoia properties such as Alder Creek, Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve, Red Hill, and will soon make the purchase Cascade Creek possible. We’ve launched Redwoods Rising, the most ambitious redwood restoration project across the redwood range. And with our increased capacity, we just protected Andersonia West, a magnificent coast redwood property along California’s Lost Coast.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought a lot of important things to a halt, but not this important work. When we emerge from this difficult time, it is vital that we find our coast redwoods and giant sequoia on a path to their former health and magnificence..

A little more than a hundred years ago, a group of visionaries saw the threat to California’s iconic redwood forests and took action. That initiative launched Save the Redwoods League and sparked a global conservation movement. These were people who didn’t think in terms of one year or five years. Instead, their vision matched the scale of the trees they wished to save. Today, California—and the world—need us to be equally visionary.

About the author

Suzanne Moss, Campaign Director at Save the Redwoods League, is a leader in conservation fundraising and marketing.

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