Land cleanup protects endangered condors.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Cleanup of a remote property that Save the Redwoods League purchased has protected endangered California condors, thanks to our members. A helicopter recently removed 24 loads of refuse, each weighing up to 4,000 pounds, from the property acquired in 2010 for addition to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. We had to remove building debris remaining from a 2008 forest fire because the land is habitat for young condors, which may mistakenly eat the refuse.

The 20-acre ridgetop property (pictured) is upslope of old-growth redwood forest. It’s bordered on three sides by Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and on one side by Los Padres National Forest.

Condors had been reintroduced into the wild near the property. Because they feared the young birds would eat the debris, the Ventana Wildlife Society (external link) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service advocated for swift cleanup of the site last fall.

Owned for many years by the late Jeff Norman, a noted Big Sur biologist and historian, the land once featured a cabin, barn and underground root cellar built in the 1930s. The 2008 Basin Complex fire left only remnants of these structures.

The $120,000 property is to be donated to California State Parks.

Save the Redwoods League protected this Big Sur property according to the following priorities in our science-based Master Plan: The League acquires inholdings, or privately held land inside public land, to provide permanent, complete protection for redwood parks. We also protect old-growth redwood forest and associated watersheds to sustain these fragile ecosystems and benefit wildlife and people. In addition, protecting coast redwoods in this southernmost extent of their range is important because they may be uniquely adapted to heat and drought. These adaptations are critical as redwoods face climate change.



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