Work Progresses on Plan for New, Inspiring Redwood National Park Gateway

Land of the World’s Tallest Trees

In California’s rugged northwestern corner lies the southern gateway into Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP), home of the world’s tallest trees. This magical corner embraces the parks’ two largest and most magnificent ancient groves. It’s also the kingdom of Roosevelt elks, black bears, bobcats and mountain lions, as well as threatened northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets.

Generous gifts to the Redwood Land Fund from members like you recently enabled Save the Redwoods League to continue working with our partner organizations and the community to reconnect the ancient redwood groves, restore prime wildlife habitat for imperiled species, and create a welcoming destination for visitors.

Work is underway on restoring the meadows, creeks and wetlands that once occupied an area converted to a redwood lumber mill. Now the mill no longer stands on the Orick Mill Site, but its concrete footprint remains, separating Lady Bird Johnson Grove from ancient groves in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. In the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor, we’ve removed concrete and invasive plants at the 125-acre Orick Mill Site, which our members helped us buy in 2013.

Hub for Discovery, Recreation

With support from The James Irvine Foundation, the League recently hired Siegel & Strain Architects to develop a master plan for the visitor center. We also hired AldrichPears Associates to plan innovative educational exhibits, as well as LACO Associates to develop a master plan for integrating the development with the landscape restoration of the mill site. Our vision is to create a visitor center that will engage diverse audiences and inspire their love and appreciation for redwood forests.

This center also will offer connections to walking and cycling trails that reach most of RNSP. Because ancient redwoods are a short walk away, this new visitor center site is an ideal hub for recreation.

Another plan for the site is to restore prime habitat for imperiled coho salmon in Prairie Creek, which runs through the property, and to create opportunities for viewing elks. A $300,000 grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy is partially funding studies to inform project planning, with a $100,000 League match. California Trout is managing the restoration and trails components.

“This project ties together all the major components of our conservation work: healing the redwood forest ecosystem, providing habitat for endangered species, building partnerships and creating connections between people and nature,” said Sam Hodder, President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League.
“It’s a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Berry Glen Trail Connection

In 2015, with help from our donors, the League protected another piece of this beautiful corridor. The Berry Glen Trail Connection is 4.7 acres of undeveloped land surrounded by Redwood National Park, and practically next door to the Orick Mill Site. Purchased for $75,000, the plan is for the League is to eventually transfer the land to the park.

This project and many others are made possible by the Redwood Land Fund, the League’s most important tool for purchasing, protecting and restoring threatened redwood forestland. Your generous support gives us the financial resources to compete in a complex and fast-paced real estate market, enabling us to buy, hold, restore, study and transfer properties to permanent stewards.

The Berry Glen Trail Connection property has been a top priority for acquisition by the League and the National Park Service to protect Redwood National Park’s legislatively designated Scenic Corridor from threats such as land development. Because of your gifts, this goal will be reached. The property is important for many reasons.

  • A 1-acre wet meadow and forested swamp provides a significant portion of the limited habitat used by herds of Roosevelt elks, which draw thousands of tourists and photographers each year.
  • A tributary of Prairie Creek flows here. Protecting the property safeguards prime habitat for imperiled coho salmon.
  • It’s an intersection of favorite hiking trails. The Berry Glen Trail crosses here, connecting the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, the Lost Man Creek Trail, and Prairie Creek trails. Protecting the property ensures trail access here.

Returning Orick Mill Site to Nature

We have been waiting for decades to restore the Orick Mill Site’s meadows, creeks and wetlands. Already, we have made great progress by beginning to remove bamboo and other invasive species with the help of our partners, the US National Park Service and California Conservation Corps. Animals are returning to their former haunt — we’ve seen elks browsing, otter prints on Prairie Creek’s shoreline, and we’ve found ample evidence that bears and mountain lions feel welcome again.

George Sardina, MD, a dedicated Save the Redwoods League member and Councilor, said he supports redwood restoration projects like the Orick Mill Site effort so that future generations can experience the same joy he feels among ancient redwoods — but in logged forests that were set on a path to recovery in his lifetime.

“To see redwoods is to feel awe from the power of nature,” he said.

Dr. Sardina gave a significant gift to help us purchase the Orick Mill Site. Surrounded by ancient redwoods at the confluence of Prairie Creek and Redwood Creek, this area provides critical habitat for threatened salmon.

Gifts like his will allow us to seize other restoration opportunities.

The purchase of Orick Mill Site is a major accomplishment in our nearly 100-year history of protecting what is now Redwood National and State Parks, home to 45 percent of the world’s magnificent old-growth redwood forest and the tallest trees in the world. Here, League members have protected more than 51,000 acres (almost twice the size of San Francisco) for the public to enjoy.

Orick Mill location Map
Click map to see larger image.

You Can Restore and Share This Treasure

You can make the difference for the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor and others like it to ensure that the redwood forest continues to heal and thrive.

As a supporter, you can take satisfaction as part of the team that returned this land to the elks and ancient redwood forest and helped share its wonders through a new gateway.

Please make a generous donation today to the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor project through our secure site or by calling (888) 836-0005.

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