Thursday, November 30, 2023

Redwoods Rising Marks First Five Years of Healing an Iconic Landscape

The following is a press release issued by the Save the Redwood League

Jason Teraoka, Redwood National and State Parks forester, discusses the benefits of Redwoods Rising on previously clear-cut, second-growth redwood forest ecosystems. Photo by Max Forster, California State Parks.

California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service today announced the restoration of 3,200 acres of young, previously clear-cut redwood forest in the first five years of Redwoods Rising. The unique public-private collaborative effort with a long-term goal of restoring thousands of acres in Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) has reforested more than 25 miles of former commercial logging roads, restored more than 3 miles of streams, and created more than 100 restoration and conservation jobs.

“Redwood National and State Parks protects some of the world’s most iconic old-growth redwood groves, but past commercial logging left behind vast areas of unnatural and unhealthy younger forest that surround the ancient trees,” said Ben Blom, director of stewardship and restoration for Save the Redwoods League. “Together with our Redwoods Rising partners, we are healing this landscape and forging an ambitious path to recovery. We’ve made incredible progress in the first five years, restoring 3,200 acres of forest. In the process, we’re building a restoration economy and training future leaders in restoration.”

Accomplishments: The First Five Years

Partners celebrating the 5 year anniversary of Redwoods Rising.
California State Parks, National Park Service, and Save the Redwoods League teams and partners celebrate the five-year anniversary of Redwoods Rising. Photo by Max Forster, California State Parks. 
  • 3,200 acres of forest restoration work
  • 57 miles of restoration activities to address old, failing logging roads
    • 25 miles of roads removed and reforested
    • 32 miles of road improvements
    • More than 50 stream crossings repaired, removed, or replaced
  • 3 miles of streams restored
  • 100+ jobs provided annually
  • 43,280 acres are implementation-ready. Achieved compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Representatives from California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service; Assemblymember Jim Wood; Rosie Clayburn, tribal heritage preservation officer for the Yurok Tribe; and representatives from Cal Poly Humboldt and eight state agencies and nonprofits gathered on Sept. 21, 2023, at the Wolf Creek Education Center in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Together, they marked the Redwoods Rising project’s five-year milestone, presented the restoration accomplishments, and toured one of the restoration sites.

Healing an Iconic Landscape

RNSP is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for safeguarding the tallest trees in the world and 45% of the world’s remaining protected old-growth coast redwoods. Between the old-growth groves are young, degraded second-growth forests resulting from commercial logging before RNSP’s protections. Past commercial logging not only hauled away large, old trees, but it also left behind heavily damaged forests and watersheds.

Three men with their backs to the camera leading a larger group of people who are walking into a forest. One of them is a uniformed parks ranger.
Event participants learn about Redwoods Rising forest restoration from Redwood National and State Parks Superintendent Steve Mietz. Photo by Max Forster, California State Parks.

California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service launched Redwoods Rising in 2018 to restore the young forests and watersheds that surround the old-growth stands. Redwoods Rising is initiating landscape-scale healing, increasing climate and wildfire resilience in these forests.

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“This five-year anniversary marks the audacity of optimism that is Redwoods Rising,” stated Steve Mietz, Redwood National and State Park superintendent. “Facing the seemingly insurmountable challenges of climate change, wildfires, and tens of thousands of acres of unhealthy, second-growth redwood forests, parks staff and partners pulled together to form a public-private partnership that has engaged this monumental effort with grit and determination to achieve goals that could never be accomplished alone.”

About Redwoods Rising

Redwoods Rising is a large-scale forest restoration project in Redwood National and State Parks to put more than 70,000 acres of previously logged areas of the parks back on track to become the ancient redwood forests of the future. Redwoods Rising will reconnect remaining stands of old-growth redwoods that are scattered throughout the parks and restore previously logged areas at a scale and pace that would otherwise not be possible. This is a massive, ambitious, long-term project that is expected to take decades to complete.

“Redwoods Rising will have far-reaching benefits that extend well beyond the forest and into our local communities,” stated Victor Bjelajac, California State Parks North Coast Redwoods District superintendent. “This restoration work is driving the creation of new jobs and training new generations of conservationists that will benefit the surrounding communities for decades to come.”

Redwoods Rising is made possible by tremendous investments from state and federal public agencies. We are grateful to have received generous public funding from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Forest Health Program, California State Coastal Conservancy, the National Park Service and California State Parks. We also are thankful for support from philanthropic leaders S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Cotyledon Fund, Oracle, the Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation, and Save the Redwoods League Board Member John Scharffenberger, who made generous gifts and grants to the League in support of its partnership with the National Park Service and California State Parks.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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