‘California’s Protected Coast’: A Gateway to the Redwoods Is Now Preserved
A 5-mile gateway to the breathtaking 57-mile-long Lost Coast will now be conserved, ensuring protection for a dwindling number of old-growth trees.
The conservation organization Save the Redwoods League just lived up to its moniker—and then some—after a feverish fundraising effort concluded with the purchase of the 3,181-acre Lost Coast Redwoods property in California’s Mendocino County.
The 5-mile coastline, the longest stretch of private shoreline in the region and a gateway to the breathtaking 57-mile-long Lost Coast, was officially handed off to the 123-year-old nonprofit by timberland owner Soper Company for a total of $36.9 million. Incredibly, $19 million of the total sum was raised in less than two months, the league announced, with the remainder needed to secure the sale assembled through loans the organization endeavors to pay off by the end of March.
The sale of the property marks a major victory for conservationists who have long had their sights set on preserving its nearly 2,250 acres of forest, a vast portion of which has been felled in recent decades by a logging industry indefatigably pursuing old-growth trees from territories that Indigenous peoples once called home.
Also supported by the property are lands and waters—on and off shore—that remain vital to deer, elk, mountain lions, sea birds, and sea lions, as well as steelhead trout and coho salmon, both of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
“Adding 5 miles of spectacular shoreline and thousands of acres of redwood forest to California’s protected coast is an extraordinary investment in our future,” Save the Redwoods League CEO Sam Hodder said in the release. “With people from around the world offering their generous support, it’s clear that the public cares deeply about the beauty and wildness of California’s coastline and redwood forests.”
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While the purchase ensures protection for a dwindling number of old-growth trees and scores of second-growth redwoods and firs, it also affords the opportunity to launch reforestation efforts. Even young redwoods, with growth rates of up to 200 feet in a century, can be a critical asset in the effort to quell the impacts of climate change due to their ability to trap carbon from entering the atmosphere.
“Now that we have removed the immediate threat of timber harvesting and development, the work begins to complete the conservation vision, secure full funding, and work with our tribal, state, and federal partners to add this land to the protected mosaic of California’s Lost Coast,” Hodder said.
The acquisition of Lost Coast Redwoods gives the League a network of lands—both its Shady Dell and Cape Vizcaino properties are in the vicinity—that could yield vastly expanded public access in the future.