Forests for the Future

At Save the Redwoods League, we hold the future of redwood forests in our hands. Together with our conservation partners, we are taking action to put the redwood homeland back on the path to vibrance and vitality. We call this collaboration the North Coast Initiative, and we are focusing our efforts in and around Redwood National and State Parks. We will acquire land near established parks, connect preserves, heal damaged forests, and expand opportunities for visitors to the redwoods. We have the opportunity to create the redwood forest of the future, a forest of giants rising from the coastal mists of the historic range of Sequoia sempervirens.

Reclaiming the Redwood Forest

Click to view larger map
Click to view larger map
Redwood National and State Parks, a unique collaborative comprised of Redwood National Park and Del Norte, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek State Parks, protect 45 percent of the remaining old-growth redwoods and half of the world’s tallest trees. This is a region of steep mountains cloaked with redwoods, Douglas-fir and spruce. Rivers and creeks cut deep gorges on their way to the nearby Pacific Ocean. The climate is cool, and the fog that rolls in from the sea provides life-sustaining moisture to coastal woodlands. The parks support all the unique life associated with the redwood forest, including Roosevelt elk, Chinook salmon and northern spotted owl.

Until the mid-20th century, most of the vast coastal region from Southern Oregon to Big Sur was covered by primeval redwood forest. Even today, about 80 percent of the land once dominated by old-growth redwoods remains undeveloped; and while most of the ancient redwood trees are gone, the terrain remains forested. Redwoods quickly reclaim land, reproducing both by seeds and stump sprouts. Moreover, young trees grow rapidly; many second-growth and third-growth trees already approach 200 feet in height. These young woodlands, however, hold neither the “magic” of an ancient forest, nor the other qualities associated with a mature forest — stable watersheds, clean rivers, abundant fisheries and wildlife, and ample sequestered carbon.

“When you look across the landscape at the old clear-cuts, the eroding roads, the impaired waterways, the invasive plants — it can be frustrating,” says Leonel Arguello, the Chief of Vegetation Management for Redwood National Park. “But we have a legal and moral obligation to turn things around. Is it challenging? Yes. But it’s also incredibly exciting. We’re learning how to thin young forests, retire eroding roads and rehabilitate degraded streams. In many ways, we’re writing the textbook for this kind of work. The national and state redwood parks aren’t just parks — they’re laboratories for forest restoration. Thanks to Save the Redwoods League, we’re developing the methods that will bring the great trees back.”

A Vibrant Forest Plan

Our strategy for the creation of the future redwood forest involves acquiring properties that connect and protect established preserves and employing management techniques — such as ecological tree thinning, removal of logging roads and invasive species, restoration of waterways and watersheds — that fast-track the development of healthy redwood forests. Our guide is the Vibrant Forest Plan, an evolving mapping tool that uses our ever-expanding database to help us evaluate the conditions of the redwood forest and identify threats and opportunities.

As the primary guardian of the redwood forest, we envision a future of giant trees rising again from land that has been logged. The North Coast Initiative will restore 120,000 acres of redwood lands in Redwood National and State Parks, the great heartland of Sequoia sempervirens. We will accelerate the development of old-growth characteristics in these forests, leading to the re-emergence of the hallowed cathedrals of great trees that once dominated the west coast of North America.

“Our first priority must be our best places, the places where we have the most extensive stands of old trees,” says Emily Burns, the Director of Science for Save the Redwoods League. “Redwood National and State Parks are our greatest remaining reservoirs of redwood forest biodiversity. Our goal is to expand the inviolate redwood forest from these core areas, to work outward from their edges. They contain the precious and irreplaceable components of the full, complete and healthy redwood ecosystem. It is our job to spread the ecological wealth of these ancient stands into surrounding lands, enriching and restoring them.”

You Can Protect the Forests of the Future. Join Us!

We inherited the redwood forest from a past era of devastation. Now, it’s time to undo the damage, and restore the range’s original and vast grandeur.  You’ll give future generations the opportunity to experience a redwood forest that we can only imagine. It all starts with your gift to the North Coast Initiative. Together, we can save the redwoods of tomorrow.

Your Support Will Help Fund:

    • Purchasing and protecting redwood property within Redwood National and State Parks
    • Removing failing logging roads and invasive species; ecological tree thinning and tree planting
    • Improving water quality and stream crossings; providing shelter for salmon fisheries
    • Creating and studying best practices for forest restoration; tracking forest health
    • Mentoring the next generation of conservation foresters
    • Telling the story of forest recovery to inspire park visitors

Donate today

Ways to Give

Contributions to Save the Redwoods League designated to the North Coast Initiative are tax-deductible, and can be made as outright gifts of cash or stock and through a donor-advised fund, IRA, or family foundation. You also can give by phone at (888) 836-0005 or on our secure online donation page.

If you have questions or wish to learn more, please contact Georgia Young at (415) 820-5849 or

Tags: , ,

Share this Article