Redwoods Friday Partners
Save the Redwoods League is one of the oldest and most respected conservation organizations in the United States. In 2018, Save the Redwoods League celebrates a century of extraordinary accomplishments in protecting and restoring redwood forests and connecting people to their peace and beauty. Since its founding, the League has protected more than 200,000 acres of redwood forests; connected millions of people to these marvels of nature; and helped create 66 redwood parks and preserves.
The League was founded by John C. Merriam, Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn, prominent conservationists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1917, the three men drove north on the newly completed Redwood Highway and were appalled by the wanton logging of giant redwoods along the Mendocino coast. Further north, they discovered vast tracts of undisturbed ancient trees and vowed to do their utmost to protect them.
Working with National Park Service Director Stephen Mather, the three men established the League in 1918. Through the end of the 1920s, the League founded several memorial groves; drove the effort to secure the first acquisitions for Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park; spearheaded the campaign to establish a California state parks commission; led the successful effort to pass a $6 million state bond for the acquisition of land for state parks; and created the historic conservation movement.
Today, the League builds on its founders’ vision through a wide range of initiatives to protect and enhance our threatened redwood landscapes. These initiatives include expanding protected forests; pioneering innovative, science-based forest restoration work; and connecting people to the forest in new ways.
The mission of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (California State Parks) is to provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.
In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation granting the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove (known as the Yosemite Grant) to the state of California to be “held for public use, resort, and recreation, and shall be inalienable for all time.” In September of that year, California Governor Frederick Lowe accepted the grant and appointed the first State Parks Commission. Galen Clark was appointed State Guardian of Yosemite in May 1866, at a salary of $500 per year, becoming the first State Parks employee. These actions represented not only the birth of California State Parks but in essence, the birth of the national park idea, which has spread throughout the whole world.
Today California State Parks has grown to be one of the largest state park systems in the nation. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating, horseback riding, on- and off-road cycling, hiking, camping, and rock climbing are some of the recreational activities enjoyed in 280 state parks organized into 22 field districts throughout the state. State park lands include 1.6 million acres, including 342 miles of coastline, over 5,000 miles of hiking, equestrian and biking trails, and almost 15,000 campsites. California state parks accommodates 68 million day-use visitors and more than 7 million overnight campers annually.