Save the Redwoods League Has Secured the Opportunity to Protect One of the World’s Last Privately Owned Giant Sequoia Forests

A spectacular tree is among Red Hill Grove’s 110 ancient giant sequoia. Photo by Paolo Vescia
Robin Carr, Landis Communications
Phone: (415) 766-0927 | Email: [email protected]

Anonymous donor will match all gifts received before June 25 dollar for dollar

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San Francisco, Calif. (May 17, 2018) — Save the Redwoods League, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and stewarding coast redwood and giant sequoia forests in California, today announced that it has negotiated an agreement to purchase and protect the 160-acre Red Hill property, one of the two largest unprotected giant sequoia properties in the world. The property, on the South Fork of the Tule River, contains 110 ancient giant sequoia and provides a critical habitat for a variety of imperiled species including the Pacific fisher, Sierra marten and California spotted owl. Red Hill is located less than 200 miles from Los Angeles.

Ensuring Protection

The League is seeking to raise $4 million from private sources by June 25, to acquire and steward the property for eventual transfer to the US Forest Service for permanent protection as part of Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest.

The League’s total investment in the property includes the purchase price of $3.3 million and $700,000 for project costs and stewardship activities to enhance forest conditions and climate and fire resilience on the property. In time, the League intends for the National Forest to acquire the property with Land and Water Conservation Funds as an addition to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. In the meantime, and to ensure that the League has the funds to complete the purchase, an anonymous donor has agreed to match all gifts made by June 25 dollar for dollar up to the purchase price.

“Giant sequoia are the largest and among the oldest living things in the world, standing in scattered groves along the western slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada,” said Sam Hodder, League president and chief executive officer. “Ninety-eight percent of those acres are protected in public ownership. The Red Hill Grove is a substantial part of that last 2 percent. With this acquisition, we have a rare chance to permanently protect a truly ancient forest with trees over 1,500 years old. The purchase of Red Hill will allow us to take a significant step toward the League’s vision of 100 percent protection for the giant sequoia. But we can’t do this alone. In the coming weeks, we will need the help of our supporters and the conservation community to make this vision a reality.”

Property History

The Nicholas family has owned Red Hill since the early 1970s and has essentially managed it as a reserve. There is no development on the property, and non-sequoia trees were removed only to reduce wildfire risk and ensure the health and safety of the giant sequoia and other mature conifers.

Michael Nicholas, the long-time owner of Red Hill, explained, “There is no other property like it in the world. I am willing to sell the property and hopeful that Save the Redwoods League will be successful in buying it for the preservation of the wild giant sequoia redwoods growing there. Owning and preserving these big trees has been one of the highlights of my family’s lifetime.”

Support for Red Hill

For 100 years, Save the Redwoods League has been acquiring critical Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia properties and conveying them into public ownership for permanent protection and public enjoyment. This is how the League has protected the majority of the protected ancient redwood forest that the public enjoys today from Calaveras Big Tree State Park to Dillonwood Grove in Sequoia National Park, to Redwood National and State Parks to the north. The Giant Sequoia National Monument – and the additional protective designation that overlays the ancient sequoia groves within the monument – is similar to the protective status of Muir Woods.

The project has also garnered wide support from conservationists, local communities, and public officials, including the US Forest Service, The Conservation Alliance, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Sequoia Riverlands Trust.

Fulfilling A Vision for the Future

Protection of the Red Hill forest is among the key goals in the League’s recently released Centennial Vision for Redwoods Conservation. The Vision describes plans to address the findings of the League’s first-ever State of the Redwoods Conservation Report, which details today’s most pressing challenges for these iconic forests.

Among the findings in the report for the giant sequoia: overall state of giant sequoia conservation warrants caution. In contrast to coast redwoods, giant sequoia groves in the rural Sierra region were largely spared the magnitude of the destructive, early logging. However, logging did impact approximately one-third of the total forest footprint and was acutely destructive to several sequoia groves, including one of the largest, Converse Basin.

The vast majority of remaining giant sequoia groves are held in public or tribal ownership, with only 1,200 acres privately owned today. The long-term climate change trend of Sierra snowpack reduction, in combination with warmer temperatures and widespread pine, fir, and cedar tree mortality from drought and pests, is greatly increasing the risk of severe fire and threatening the giant sequoia ecosystem. Bringing Red Hill into the National Monument, eventually under US Forest Service stewardship, will allow this forest to be managed toward its long-term survival.

For more information or to donate, go to, or contact 415-820-5800.

To access images, videos, drone footage or maps please visit our newsroom for resources. To schedule an interview, please contact Robin Carr, Landis Communications at (415) 766-0927 or [email protected].

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