Save the Redwoods League Celebrates 100 Years of Protecting California's Majestic Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia Forests
SAN FRANCISCO: Save the Redwoods League, one of America's first and most respected conservation organizations, is celebrating a century of protecting, restoring and connecting people to the iconic redwoods of California.
"One hundred years ago, the ancient redwood forest was disappearing at an extraordinary pace," says Sam Hodder, president and chief executive officer for Save the Redwoods League. "Thanks to the unwavering commitment of League supporters and partners over the past century, we saved the world's most iconic forest from elimination. But our work is just beginning. Throughout this landmark year, we will be announcing major initiatives, scientific discoveries and our vision for the future of the redwood forest. Today, we begin with new and expanded programs to connect yet more people to redwoods this year and beyond. To walk among these giants is to look upon the original face of nature and experience the incomparable majesty of the world's tallest and largest living things."
To celebrate 100 years of redwoods conservation, the League is launching multiple initiatives that extend current programs and break new ground toward fulfilling the three elements of the organization's mission: to Protect, Restore and Connect.
CONNECT: The League connects people to the peace and beauty of California redwoods through a network of magnificent parks and protected areas. Centennial initiatives include:
•JANUARY & MONTHLY: Free Second Saturdays at Redwood State Parks
In collaboration with California State Parks, the League is now offering free day-use admission to more than 40 redwood state parks on the on the second Saturday of every month throughout 2018. The first Free Second Saturday is January 13. With generous support from centennial sponsor Oracle Corporation and Save the Redwoods League members, more than 16,000 free vehicle day-use passes are available in 2018 across more than 40 parks. The passes cover day-use admission and parking fees and must be downloaded in advance from FreeRedwoodsDays.org. League staff will also host free guided hikes at select parks. Passes and details are at FreeRedwoodsDays.org. Space is limited.
•JANUARY & ONGOING: ExploreRedwoods.org
On January 23, the League will launch an online guide to all redwoods parks in California, which includes trip-planning tips to more than 100 parks and places.
•MARCH-MAY: Reading the Redwoods Contest
From March 10 through May 10, school children K-5 around the United States are invited to participate in a nationwide reading contest. With author T.A. Barron (The Ancient One and Atlantis and Merlin sagas) as program ambassador, young readers will discover stories of adventure, mystery and friendship, along with weekly prize packages and a grand prize at the end of the contest.
•APRIL: Sustaining Grandeur Exhibition at The Bancroft Library
Opening on April 20, this exhibition explores the League's first century of protecting California's redwood forests and looks forward to the care the League will provide these unique landscapes in the future. The exhibit draws from historical League documents, photographs, correspondence and campaign materials in the Bancroft's archive. The show is sponsored by The Friends of the Bancroft Library and the League.
•APRIL: Stand for the Redwoods on Earth Day San Francisco
On April 21, the 46th annual Earth Day SF Street Festival will be themed "Stand for the Redwoods, Stand for the Future." At the center of this event, which draws roughly 10,000 participants each year, will be the Save the Redwoods Speaker Tent, with individual and panel discussions on such topics as climate change, conservation, recycling and others.
•SUMMER: Reading Takes You Everywhere/Stand for the Redwoods Reading Program
The California Library Association's 2018 summer reading program entitled "Reading Takes You Everywhere" will include Stand for the Redwoods-themed materials for libraries around the state to incorporate into their programs and outreach.
•OCTOBER: Stand for the Redwoods Festival
The League and its partners will offer multiple events in the Bay Area and beyond in October 2018. The capstone celebration will be the Stand for the Redwoods Festival, a day-long outdoor festival, free to the public, on Sunday, October 14 in San Francisco. Festival and partner event details will be announced at a later date.
PROTECT: The League protects ancient redwoods and the vibrant forest landscapes that sustain them.
•The League will continue to build on its extensive history of redwood forest protection with land acquisitions that will protect critical resources and expand the acreage of public parks. Significant projects will be announced later in 2018.
•The first-ever State of the Redwoods Conservation Report will be released in April 2018, cataloguing the current state of this vast expanse of forest for both the coast redwoods and the giant sequoia.
•Results from phase 2 of the Redwoods Climate Change Initiative (RCCI) will be announced in spring 2018. This groundbreaking research project, which began in 2009, reveals how redwoods are responding to climate change and, in fact, how redwood forests are a critical resource to combat it. Answers will guide the League's future protection and restoration efforts.
RESTORE: The League restores young redwood forests to become the old-growth that will benefit future generations and the future of our planet.
•A major restoration project, in collaboration with California State Parks and the National Park Service, will be announced in spring 2018.
•The League is working with numerous non-profit and public agency partners to heal the redwood forest landscape with the application of innovative treatments that will accelerate the development of old-growth conditions in young, historically clearcut forests.
•Fuels reduction projects are being implemented on League-owned properties as models for similar treatments throughout the range that will reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and enable a broad variety of restoration practices.
The ancient coast redwood forest originally stretched over 2.2 million acres across 450 miles from California's Big Sur Coast to just over the Oregon border. In the wake of the 1849 Gold Rush and California's demand for lumber, primeval redwood forests that flourished undisturbed along the North American West Coast for more than 100 million years suddenly began to disappear. In just a few generations, they were reduced to just 5 percent of their original range. Similarly, giant sequoia, among the largest and oldest of the planet's living things, also suffered huge losses, with nearly a third logged or otherwise destroyed.
A hundred years ago, the League's visionary founders rallied to protect these incomparable trees from extinction by launching the world's first conservation organization devoted exclusively to the permanent protection of coast redwood and giant sequoia forests. Their efforts also launched this country's land conservation movement. As the League developed the tools of modern land conservation, they inspired a cultural shift in the country: a recognition that the value of redwoods and giant sequoia extends well beyond planks, vineyard stakes and fence posts. Ancient redwoods became emblematic of the American landscape, treasured for their intrinsic ecological value and for the psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits they bring to those who explore these majestic forests.