Large-scale collaboration by California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service restores 3 miles of streams and 3,200 acres of redwood forest within Redwood National and State Parks
ORICK, CALIF. (September 28, 2023) — California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service today announced the restoration of 3,200 acres of young, previously clear-cut redwood forest in the first five years of Redwoods Rising. The unique public-private collaborative effort with a long-term goal of restoring thousands of acres in Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) has reforested more than 25 miles of former commercial logging roads, restored more than 3 miles of streams, and created more than 100 restoration and conservation jobs.
“Redwood National and State Parks protects some of the world’s most iconic old-growth redwood groves, but past commercial logging left behind vast areas of unnatural and unhealthy younger forest that surround the ancient trees,” said Ben Blom, director of stewardship and restoration for Save the Redwoods League. “Together with our Redwoods Rising partners, we are healing this landscape and forging an ambitious path to recovery. We’ve made incredible progress in the first five years, restoring 3,200 acres of forest. In the process, we’re building a restoration economy and training future leaders in restoration.”
Accomplishments: The First Five Years
- 3,200 acres of forest restoration work
- 57 miles of restoration activities to address old, failing logging roads
- 25 miles of roads removed and reforested
- 32 miles of road improvements
- More than 50 stream crossings repaired, removed, or replaced
- 3 miles of streams restored
- 100+ jobs provided annually
- 43,280 acres are implementation-ready. Achieved compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Representatives from California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service; Assemblymember Jim Wood; Rosie Clayburn, tribal heritage preservation officer for the Yurok Tribe; and representatives from Cal Poly Humboldt and eight state agencies and nonprofits gathered on Sept. 21, 2023, at the Wolf Creek Education Center in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Together, they marked the Redwoods Rising project’s five-year milestone, presented the restoration accomplishments, and toured one of the restoration sites.
Healing an Iconic Landscape
RNSP is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for safeguarding the tallest trees in the world and 45% of the world’s remaining protected old-growth coast redwoods. Between the old-growth groves are young, degraded second-growth forests resulting from commercial logging before RNSP’s protections. Past commercial logging not only hauled away large, old trees, but it also left behind heavily damaged forests and watersheds.
California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service launched Redwoods Rising in 2018 to restore the young forests and watersheds that surround the old-growth stands. Redwoods Rising is initiating landscape-scale healing, increasing climate and wildfire resilience in these forests.
“This five-year anniversary marks the audacity of optimism that is Redwoods Rising,” stated Steve Mietz, Redwood National and State Park superintendent. “Facing the seemingly insurmountable challenges of climate change, wildfires, and tens of thousands of acres of unhealthy, second-growth redwood forests, parks staff and partners pulled together to form a public-private partnership that has engaged this monumental effort with grit and determination to achieve goals that could never be accomplished alone.”
About Redwoods Rising
Redwoods Rising is a large-scale forest restoration project in Redwood National and State Parks to put more than 70,000 acres of previously logged areas of the parks back on track to become the ancient redwood forests of the future. Redwoods Rising will reconnect remaining stands of old-growth redwoods that are scattered throughout the parks and restore previously logged areas at a scale and pace that would otherwise not be possible. This is a massive, ambitious, long-term project that is expected to take decades to complete.
“Redwoods Rising will have far-reaching benefits that extend well beyond the forest and into our local communities,” stated Victor Bjelajac, California State Parks North Coast Redwoods District superintendent. “This restoration work is driving the creation of new jobs and training new generations of conservationists that will benefit the surrounding communities for decades to come.”
Redwoods Rising is made possible by tremendous investments from state and federal public agencies. We are grateful to have received generous public funding from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Forest Health Program, California State Coastal Conservancy, the National Park Service and California State Parks. We also are thankful for support from philanthropic leaders S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Cotyledon Fund, Oracle, the Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation, and Save the Redwoods League Board Member John Scharffenberger, who made generous gifts and grants to the League in support of its partnership with the National Park Service and California State Parks.
Readers can learn more about Redwoods Rising and support the restoration work at RedwoodsRising.org.
To schedule an interview, contact Robin Carr at 415-766-0927 or [email protected]. To access hi-res images or b-roll of Redwood National and State Parks, see the newsroom on the Save the Redwoods League website.
About the Redwoods Rising Partners
Save the Redwoods League, one of the nation’s longest-running conservation organizations, has been protecting and restoring redwood forests since 1918. The League has connected generations of visitors with the beauty and serenity of the redwood forests. Our 400,000 supporters have enabled the League to protect more than 220,000 acres of irreplaceable forests in 66 state, national, and local parks and reserves. Learn more at SaveTheRedwoods.org. To sign up for e-newsletter updates, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org/signup.
National Park Service (NPS) preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. The NPS cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
California State Parks and the recreational programs supported by its divisions of Boating and Waterways, Historic Preservation, and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provide the opportunity for families, friends and communities to connect. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, cycling, hiking, camping, rock climbing, tours, hikes, school group enrichment, and special events are just some of the activities enjoyed in 280 park units organized into 21 field districts throughout the state. Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov.