“As we emerge from wave after wave of challenges in this unprecedented year, we have the opportunity to reimagine—and rebuild—our redwood parks, and help them to help us heal. This is the moment for redwood parks.”
Sam Hodder, President and CEO, Save the Redwoods League
In a year of turmoil, California’s redwood parks have been a refuge—and inspiration—for all of us. After the challenges of COVID-19, the struggle for racial justice, and wildfires, our redwood parks are places for solace and healing. Right now, we need reminders of the great beauty in the world. As more people turn to parks with outdated infrastructure—or find them closed due to wildfires—it is up to us to create a better future for these treasured places. Future generations are counting on us.
Connecting All People with the Beauty and Power of Nature
For more than a hundred years, Save the Redwoods League has been dedicated to connecting people with the redwoods. Today, through our Redwood Parks Fund, Save the Redwoods League is prioritizing fire recovery and resilience, expanding access to redwood parks, and ensuring a transformative, uplifting, and educational visitor experience in the redwoods.
The Redwood Parks Fund is a cornerstone of Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods, supporting the League’s vision to connect all people with the beauty and power of the redwoods through transformational park experiences. Assuring our redwood parks are ready for all who seek refuge in nature has never been more important than in this era of physical distancing and climate change. In response, Save the Redwoods League has set a goal to raise $1.5 million for the Redwood Parks Fund by December 31, 2020.
Fire Recovery and Resilience
“When we heard about the catastrophic damage to the historic buildings and facilities at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, all of our hearts sank. Because of its proximity to the communities of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s where so many people got their first look at these incredible forests. That’s why it’s so urgent to get this and other damaged parks back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
Jessica Carter, Director of Parks and Public Engagement, Save the Redwoods League
The nation watched in disbelief as the historic headquarters of our beloved Big Basin Redwoods State Park, our first state park, burned in August. Fires around California increasingly threaten our coast redwoods and giant sequoia, strained by climate change and 170 years of fire suppression and commercial harvesting. While old-growth and healthy second- growth coast redwood forests protected in our parks are naturally fire-resilient, the park infrastructure that welcomes visitors has been heavily damaged at Big Basin and other parks. In the giant sequoia groves, drought and increased fuel loads have led to increasingly severe fires. It is vital that Save the Redwoods League supports our redwood parks in reopening recreational access as soon as it’s safely possible. We also must partner with our parks and communities to ensure this access is designed to engage and serve new generations of visitors.
Following the 2019 purchase of Alder Creek, Save the Redwoods League is moving quickly to open an awe-inspiring grove of giant sequoia that has long been hidden from the public. Following the wildfire that burned in Alder Creek in September, the League is aiding its recovery through restoration while continuing to plan hiking trails, interpretive signs, and other visitor amenities that will allow adventurers to walk among the wildflowers and hundreds of ancient sequoia—including the fifth-largest tree in the world. This new park experience will provide a much-needed gateway to the entire southern section of Giant Sequoia National Monument, just a short drive from the diverse communities of Bakersfield and Fresno, and just three hours from the greater Los Angeles area.
Rancho del Oso Welcome Center & Outdoor Classroom
Well before wildfires destroyed the headquarters at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Save the Redwoods League had already struck a partnership to replace the outdated Rancho del Oso ranger station at the park’s western gate with a new welcome center, including an outdoor classroom and gathering space. As the only area of Big Basin not severely affected by fire, Rancho del Oso Welcome Center will be the only entrance where the public can visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park for at least the next year. At Rancho del Oso, where the redwoods meet the sea, the future of this park will first emerge from the fire, with a crucial venue for outreach and education programs just a short drive from the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gateway to Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that annually attracts 1.4 million people who stand in awe of the giant coast redwood forests. With a goal of creating the southern welcome hub for these parks, Save the Redwoods League in 2013 purchased the former Orick Mill site off Highway 101 at the confluence of the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor and Redwood Creek. The site is an ideal location for centralized access to many of the area’s most famous trails and groves. Now the League is restoring Prairie Creek and pulling up acres of asphalt to restore adjacent upland habitat. In addition, we are linking the California Coastal Trail to a broader system and creating a parking and trailhead facility to welcome visitors to the wonders of Redwood National and State Parks. Introducing people to the heart of redwood country, here on an abandoned mill site, will speak volumes about history, resilience, and rebirth.
Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve
A coast redwood paradise long hidden in private hands, Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve will be the first new old- growth redwood park in a generation. Save the Redwoods League is well into planning a new trail system through ancient trees, a day-use area with parking and restroom facilities, and state-of-the-art interpretation to enhance visitors’ understanding of this unique ecosystem and the peoples who lived here for millennia. Because it’s vital that everyone feels welcome at this park when it opens, the League is working closely with local stakeholders, representatives of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, and other underrepresented communities in the public access planning.
Redwood Connect Grants
Redwood Connect Grants are designed to foster equitable access to redwood parks, meaningful and community-driven connections with nature, and a deeper understanding of the many attributes and benefits of the redwood forest. These grants support field trips and community- led programs that connect thousands of diverse youth and young adults every year to redwood parks for firsthand, immersive experiences that inspire a lifetime connection to nature.
Creating the Experiences of a Lifetime
California’s redwoods parks are jewels of the national and state parks systems. But redwood parks are facing unprecedented challenges at a time when they are increasingly central to our collective well-being and quality of life. As much as we need our parks, our parks need us. They need us to reimagine and rebuild, to invest in creating new parks, and to connect new communities to the redwoods. By making a gift to the Save the Redwoods League Redwood Parks Fund, you are creating the parks that will help us heal and connect new generations with the power and beauty of nature. By supporting this work, you are investing in the memories of our future.