Looking up the trunk of a redwood tree
Composed of coast redwood, Douglas fir, and grand fir, the forest at Lost Coast Redwoods will be allowed to grow old again. Photo: Max Whittaker

Key Facts

  • Lost Coast Redwoods is a 3,181-acre property in the Lost Coast region of northern Mendocino County.
    • It is within the traditional territories of the Sinkyone, Cahto, and Coast Yuki peoples.
    • The property starts west of Rockport and extends north to Shady Dell, a League-owned coastal forest abutting Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.
    • Lost Coast Redwoods has 2,250 acres of second-growth coast redwood forest, including large trees ranging in age from 80 to 100 years, and old-growth trees scattered throughout.
    • The property includes 5 miles of coast.
    • The property is adjacent to Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area.
  • The property has been owned and managed by Soper Company since 1963.
    • The company calls the property DeVilbiss Ranch.
    • The property was first logged by a past owner in the 1880s.
    • The property is zoned for timber and agricultural management.
  • The land and streams provide high-quality wildlife habitat.
    • The place provides habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed species:
      • Northern spotted owl
      • Marbled murrelet
      • Pacific fisher
      • Coho salmon
      • Steelhead trout
    • The place is also home to:
      • Roosevelt elk
      • Bear
      • Mountain lion
    • Cottaneva and Dunn Creeks have been identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as critical habitat for spawning and rearing juvenile fish. The streams also support other plant and animal species of special concern:
      • Seaside bittercress
      • Whitney’s farewell to spring
      • Point Reyes horkelia
      • Foothill yellow-legged frog
      • Pacific tailed frog
      • Southern torrent salamander
  • The purchase price for the property is $36.9 million. The estimated total cost for acquisition and stewardship is $43.4 million.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owned the property?
The land was owned by Soper Company, which has utilized the property for timber production. Most of the forest had been aggressively logged in the decades prior to Soper Company’s ownership, and the company focused its work subsequently on developing a sustainably managed redwood forest. Soper Company was the first California timber company to practice sustainable forestry through ethical stewardship, and it led the timber industry in science-based innovation and land management practices that foster sustainable forests and healthy salmon habitat.

What are the threats to this property?
The major threats to this property were industrial timber harvesting and development. It faced the immediate threat of aggressive logging if acquired by a buyer that does not share Soper Company’s values of sustainable timber management. Because of its coastal access and scenic views, it was also threatened by development.

What are the benefits of protecting this property?
Protecting Lost Coast Redwoods adds 5 miles of protected coastline to the 57-mile-long Lost Coast. This place is important because it provides high-quality habitat for many species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Ensuring its protection benefits the area’s biological diversity.

Young redwoods can grow very quickly; some trees grow more than 200 feet tall in less than a century. Therefore, they can store a substantial amount of carbon in their wood in a relatively short period. By restoring young forests, we can help ensure Californians benefit from their carbon storage immediately and long term.

This acquisition also could potentially open up public access to 5 miles of the California coast that has been private for more than a century. Access to nature has been shown to benefit public health and community well-being.

How much old growth is left on the property?
The property has several old-growth trees scattered throughout, but it is predominantly second-growth coast redwood forest with trees ranging in age from 80 to 100 years. Having led in the protection of most of California’s remaining old-growth redwood forests in the last century, the League’s vision for the next hundred years focuses on three high-level objectives: protecting young, recovering forests like Lost Coast Redwoods as puzzle pieces to re-create a contiguous, healthy redwood landscape; restoring the natural resilience and stature of the redwood forests; and connecting people with redwood parks that bolster community well-being and recreational tourism for local economies.

Will the League conduct restoration in the forest? What about restoration thinning?
The League will steward the property during our ownership. Fortunately, the forest has been managed relatively well for decades, so restoration needs may not be intensive. Our goals are to ensure that the forest has the best opportunity to acquire old-growth qualities.

What are the League’s long-term plans for the property?
Per the League’s centennial vision to protect and restore redwood forests and connect all people to redwood parks, we hope to work with public agency partners (and tribal nations of the region) to develop public access to this forest and a stretch of the Lost Coast that has been private for more than a century. We are in the very early stages of developing a public access plan and securing a permanent owner and land manager. We do not have an established timeline for public access.

Has the League engaged with tribes on this project?
The League recognizes and respects that this land is at a convergence of traditional territories of Sinkyone, Cahto, and Coast Yuki peoples. We have had preliminary conversations with representatives from tribal communities regarding the protection of this land. We will continue these conversations and hope to work in partnership with tribal nations of the region.

How will the wildlife be affected by public access?
The League will work closely with prospective public agency and tribal partners to ensure continued wildlife protection.