Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods Raises $139 Million in Private Support to Protect California’s Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia Forests

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Robin Carr, Landis Communications
Phone: (415) 971-3991 | Email: redwoods@landispr.com

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Forever Forest - Save the Redwoods League

Save the Redwoods League capital campaign ends and exceeds fundraising goal to safeguard forests, launch groundbreaking restoration initiatives and welcome diverse visitors to parks

San Francisco, Calif. (April 7, 2022) — Save the Redwoods League today announced that its Forever Forest Campaign raised more than $139 million, surpassing its five-year goal of $120 million. More than 50,000 individuals and organizations from around the world contributed to the campaign toward conservation across the coast redwood and giant sequoia ranges.

Aerial view of Lost Coast Redwoods
The Lost Coast Redwoods property spans 5 miles of California coastline near Rockport, California.
Photo by Jordan Plotsky Productions, courtesy of Save the Redwoods League.

With the outpouring of support for the Forever Forest Campaign, the League embarked on numerous conservation initiatives throughout California’s coast redwood and giant sequoia forests, and it protected more than 20,500 acres, including the largest remaining old-growth redwood forests in the world. These conservation achievements mark the League’s first step toward realizing the ambitious goals detailed in its Centennial Vision for Redwoods Conservation, released in 2018.

“When we celebrated our centennial 2018, we reflected on the very best conservation strategies and achievements that saved what’s left of the world’s tallest and largest trees, and we used that legacy to propel us forward and set ambitious goals for our second century,” said Sam Hodder, League president and CEO. “With an eye toward the future, we launched the Forever Forest Campaign to accelerate the pace and scale of redwoods conservation and re-imagine our redwood parks for the diverse communities of California. To the thousands of campaign donors and supporters from all over the world who helped us exceed our goal, we say thank you. You make our work possible, and you helped us make an incredible impact at the start of our second century.”

 

Forever Forest Campaign Impacts

Protected Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia Lands

Campaign donors made it possible for the League to protect more than 20,500 acres in the last five years. In January, the League acquired the 3,181-acre Lost Coast Redwoods property, including 5 miles of undeveloped California coastline and extraordinary mature second-growth and scattered old-growth redwoods. In so doing, it removed the threat of subdivision and development across the coastal redwood forest. The same month, the League returned a 523-acre redwood forest, Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (Fish Run Place), to indigenous guardianship for lasting protection and ongoing eco-cultural stewardship.

The League also acquired four old-growth coast redwood and giant sequoia forests:

  • Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve (2018) is a 730-acre forest of ancient coast redwoods with more than 300 trees that stand over 250 feet tall and some redwoods over 300 feet—as tall as the Statue of Liberty. This was the largest old-growth coast redwood forest in private ownership.
  • Red Hill (2018) is a 160-acre forest with more than 100 old-growth giant sequoias.
  • Alder Creek (2019) was the largest giant sequoia forest remaining in private ownership. It is a 530-acre forest with hundreds of ancient giant sequoias that are 6 feet in diameter or larger, including the Stagg Tree, the fifth-largest tree known in the world.
  • Cascade Creek (2020) is a 564-acre redwood forest nestled between Big Basin and Año Nuevo State Park, and a keystone connection for protected habitat from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Conserving these properties takes the first and most important step in healing the forest—removing threats of harvest and development. This helps to increase climate and wildfire resilience by allowing these forests to grow to maturity, and it improves access to the redwoods by creating the opportunity for new parks, trails and points of interest.

Restoring Young Redwood Forests and Fire Resilience

Advancing the League’s goal to put younger coast redwood forests on a path toward becoming the old-growth forests of the future, the Forever Forest Campaign helped launch Redwoods Rising (2018). This initiative is restoring thousands of acres of historically logged forests in Redwood National and State Parks in collaboration with California State Parks and the National Park Service. Restoration activities include healing young, previously clear-cut forests, removing old, failing logging roads and enhancing steelhead and coho salmon-bearing streams within the parks.

Severe wildfires and climate change affect California’s forests at unprecedented rates, funds from the campaign are helping the League address emergency-level conditions in the Sierra Nevada. Nearly 20% of the largest, oldest giant sequoias were killed in less than two years from three intense wildfires. The League joined with partners to form the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition (2021). Together, the coalition is working to raise public awareness about the crisis, build scientific research on wildfire and climate change and accelerate restoration and recovery action on the ground to improve wildfire and climate resilience.

Scientific Advancements and Achievements

The Forever Forest Campaign provided critical funding to advance important scientific research programs. The results inform land protection strategies and conservation efforts throughout the coast redwood and giant sequoia ranges. Successful research programs include:

The Redwood Genome Project fully sequenced the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes for the first time through this multi-year scientific endeavor. The genome sequence data is now available to the scientific community, and the research findings from this work help scientists see the full genetic diversity that has allowed the forests to adapt and survive for millennia.

The Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative—now in its 12th year—has revealed that old-growth coast redwood and giant sequoia forests store more carbon per acre than any other forests in the world. The research has also shown that younger, previously logged (second-growth) coast redwood forests grow quickly and store substantial amounts of carbon in a relatively short period.

Connecting People with the Redwoods

Through the campaign, the League has also advanced its goals to create and improve redwoods experiences for all visitors. It has partnered with California State Parks and other organizations to fully renovate and reopen multiple trails and build new park amenities. Such projects include the Pfeiffer Falls Trail restoration and its new 70-foot-long expansion bridge for pedestrians in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (opened in June 2021); Mill Creek Trail restoration, featuring a new eco-conscious elevated walkway through the famed Grove of Titans in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (opening in May 2022) and the construction of the Rancho del Oso Welcome Center in Big Basin Redwoods State Park (expected opening in summer 2023). The League has advanced its plans to open Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve, creating a new state-of-the-art redwoods destination.

In 2021, the League also broke ground on the construction of a new trails gateway to Redwood National and State Parks, transforming a defunct logging mill site into a new trails hub that will link two of the world’s largest remaining old-growth redwood groves. The gateway will feature a Yurok Village site, which will be managed by the Yurok Tribe. The tribe and other partners are also collaborating with the League to restore Prairie Creek and its floodplain.

About the Forever Forest Campaign

Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods is the first comprehensive capital campaign in the 100-year history of Save the Redwoods League. It doubled the League’s fundraising from the previous five years and generated more than $139 million from more than 50,000 individuals and organizations from 40 countries and every state in the United States.

“Our supporters treasure California’s iconic redwoods, and they answered the call over and over to protect and restore threatened forests and make our parks accessible to all,” said Suzanne Moss, League campaign director. “It’s through their unwavering commitment and generosity that the League has been going strong for 100 years‒and will do so for 100 more.”

Lead contributors to the campaign include Honorary Chairs Ralph Eschenbach and Carol Joy Provan, Campaign Chair John Scharffenberger and Vice Chair Peggy Light, John and Cyndi Woollam, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation, Jan Ellison Baszucki and David Baszucki and a family who wishes to remain anonymous.

“It’s been an honor to lead this campaign at such a pivotal time in our history,” said Scharffenberger, Forever Forest Campaign chair and member of the League’s Board of Directors. “We are grateful to each and every supporter—from our loyal $25 members to those who were able to make truly transformational gifts. At a time when the world’s problems continue to mount, the Forever Forest Campaign has given us agency in our future, a great sense of hope and the opportunity to invest in the health and well-being of the natural world around us.”

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Save the Redwoods League relies on its generous supporters to make its work possible. The public can learn more about its programs and donate at SaveTheRedwoods.org.


To access hi-res images, b-roll or drone footage, please visit our newsroom.

To schedule an interview, contact Robin Carr at (415) 971-3991 or redwoods@landispr.com.


Save the Redwoods League

Save the Redwoods League
One of the nation’s longest-running conservation organizations, Save the Redwoods League has been protecting and restoring redwood forests since 1918. The League has connected generations of visitors with the beauty and serenity of the redwood forest. The nonprofit’s 29,000 members have enabled the organization to protect more than 216,000 acres of irreplaceable forests in 66 state, national and local parks and reserves. For information, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org.


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