Robin Carr, Landis Communications Inc.
Email: Redwoods@landispr.com | Phone: (415) 971-3991
$24.7 million project secures conservation easements that permanently protect redwood forest from future subdivision and development
San Francisco, Calif. (February 9, 2021) — Save the Redwoods League today announced the successful protection of Mailliard Ranch, a 14,838-acre property in southern Mendocino County and the largest coast redwood forest left in private family hands. The $24.7 million project secures three conservation easements across the entire property, which safeguard the land from subdivision and development, regardless of future ownership. In addition to protecting sustainable working forests across nearly 14,000 acres, the easement protects nearly 1,000 acres of reserves, including old-growth coast redwoods, mature mixed-conifer forest and salmon-bearing streams. The Mailliard family will retain ownership of the property and continue their stewardship as they have since 1925. Mailliard Ranch, together with the surrounding protected lands, ensures habitat connectivity and watershed health, and contributes to fire resilience across more than 80,000 acres stretching from the Anderson Valley toward the Mendocino coast.
“Protecting the extraordinary natural landscape of Mailliard Ranch, including its two old-growth coast redwood groves, has been a decades-long priority,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “The conservation easements secured by the League bolster the long-term health of an entire landscape and watershed. Our agreement also ensures that the property will be managed to enhance the natural fire resilience of mature redwood forest by protecting it from residential development and allowing the forest stature to mature over time.”
Hodder added, “The easements support local climate change mitigation by ensuring the property will continue to capture significant amounts of carbon in the ranch’s redwood, wetland and riparian habitats. In the heart of Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and the ancestral lands of the Central Pomo tribes, this is an exquisite place. Now we can be sure it will remain that way.”
Mailliard Ranch is a stronghold of biodiversity, providing optimal habitat for wildlife such as northern spotted owls, western pond turtles, Townsend’s big-eared bats and golden eagles, as well as more than 150 native plant species observed on the property so far. The easements secure oak woodland and riparian habitat; the Garcia and Navarro River headwaters and 28 miles of priority salmon-bearing streams; and nearly 1,000 total acres of old-growth and mature second-growth coast redwood forests. The conservation easement ensures that the natural values of the land will be protected and that it will not be subdivided and developed.
Protecting Mailliard Ranch connects habitat and ensures watershed health across 82,000 acres of contiguous protected lands. The ranch is adjacent to both Mailliard Redwoods State Natural Reserve, donated by the family to the League for inclusion in the California State Parks system in 1954, and the Garcia River Forest, a nearly 24,000-acre demonstration forest managed by The Conservation Fund for sustainable timber production, watershed restoration and carbon sequestration.
Completion of the Mailliard Ranch project nearly doubles the amount of land that Save the Redwoods League has protected in Mendocino County. The League continues its goals of protecting the last of the old-growth coast redwood and giant sequoia forests, securing their footprints and restoring their ecological conditions, as identified in the 2018 Centennial Vision for Redwoods Conservation.
Mailliard Ranch and Its Protection
For more than 90 years the Mailliards have protected the old-growth groves on the ranch and have been sustainably managing timber on the property. Under the easement terms, they can continue sustainable timber harvesting on the ranch’s younger second-growth working forest, utilizing low-impact management techniques such as selective harvesting. The easements will reduce by approximately 50 percent the amount of timber that can be cut under the California Forest Protection rules—and, by consequence, increase by that same factor the amount of carbon that will be stored by the forest as the trees reach large statures.
“The old growth built San Francisco twice, so there isn’t a lot of redwood—true old growth—left in the area,” said Larry Mailliard, general partner of Mailliard Ranch. “Cathedral Grove was my grandmother’s favorite. Grandmother’s philosophy was, ‘Why go sit in a 100-year-old church when I could go talk to a 2,500-year-old tree?’ The conservation easements that we put on the ranch with Save the Redwoods League are giving the land permanent protection.”
"We are honored to partner with the Mailliard family, and we are grateful for their commitment to permanently protecting the working forest they have stewarded so thoughtfully and responsibly for generations," said Catherine Elliott, senior manager of land protection for the League.
Funding the Protection of Mailliard Ranch
The protection of Mailliard Ranch was made possible through public funding and by donors who supported the project through Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods. League donors contributed $8.15 million, including a $1 million grant from the Hind Foundation, a leadership gift from Ralph Eschenbach and Dr. Carol Joy Provan, a $250,000 match challenge offered by Justin Faggioli and Sandra Donnell, and grants from Walmart’s Acres for America program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation. The Mailliard family made a land value donation of $6.5 million.
In addition, the League received $4.75 million in grant funding from the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) through Proposition 84, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006; $4.3 million from CAL FIRE granted by the USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program; and $1 million from the California Natural Resources Agency’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, established by legislation in 1989 under the California Streets and Highways Code with funding from the Highway Users Tax Account.
“We are proud to partner with CAL FIRE and Save the Redwoods League through the Forest Legacy Program to protect Mailliard Ranch. These conservation easements will help retain the largest non-industrial, privately held redwood forest in the United States,” said Randy Moore, regional forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. “A biodiversity stronghold, the forest will continue storing carbon and protecting watershed health and wildlife habitat—vital goals for California and the nation.”
The League’s Forever Forest campaign aims to raise $120 million in private support to implement the early years of the Centennial Vision for Redwoods Conservation. Since its launch in 2017, funds from Forever Forest have been used to acquire and protect such properties as Cascade Creek (2020), Alder Creek (2019) and Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve (2018). To date, the campaign has raised more than $95 million.
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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 24,000 supporters have enabled the organization to protect more than 216,000 acres of irreplaceable forest in 66 state, national and local parks and reserves. For information, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org. For updates, please subscribe to our E-Newsletter at SaveTheRedwoods.org/signup.