California’s newest giant redwood preserve

While most tourists seeking redwoods in California may automatically opt for Muir Woods National Park (the park receives over 1.1 million visitors each year!) they will soon have another spectacular option to visit once the Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve opens to the public in 2021. The redwood forest had been under the protection of the Richardson family for over 100 years and when Harold Richardson, the family’s patriarch, passed away in 2016 at age 96, he left the ancient forest to his heirs, who in turn have worked with Save the Redwoods League to protect it for future generations (this negotiation took over 10 years). News about the forest and the family’s plans came out last summer but we now have an idea of when the public will be able to see the 730 acres of spectacular trees–some of which are as tall as a 32 story building.

As Save the Redwoods League wrote, this large, complex forest is about three hours north of San Francisco, and it looks much as it did thousands of years ago with large, ancient giants among younger healthy trees. The oldest known coastal redwood south of Mendocino County and the widest coast redwood south of Humboldt County has been discovered on the property; it is estimated to be 1,640 years old with a trunk as wide as a two-lane street. As Outside Online reported, Save the Redwoods will manage the park rather than turn it over to a state or federal system. When the reserve opens to the public, it will be the largest redwood park in Sonoma County. The league wants to emphasize educating visitors about forest ecology and the land’s cultural importance to the Kashia Band Native American tribe.

Why This Matters: When settlers moved West during the gold rush, hundreds of thousands of acres of ancient giant sequoia trees were felled to provide timber for San Francisco’s growing population. Many of the tallest trees were lost and today only 5 percent of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains. That’s why it’s so important to protect the trees that are left. Additionally, the property could also be critical for researching how climate change affects redwoods because these trees are growing farther from the coast than most other redwoods. As Stephanie Martin, senior project manager and wildlife biologist at North Coast Resource Management explained: “They’ve been able to figure out how to survive in the warmer, drier environment with less of a fog layer, so these may be the redwoods of the future.” We’ll keep you posted on further details as they emerge about the opening of the preserve.

 

Up Next

Indigenous Communities File Suit Against Ecuadorian Government to Protect Amazon

Indigenous Communities File Suit Against Ecuadorian Government to Protect Amazon

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Earlier this year, Ecuador’s new President Guillermo Lasso issued decrees to expand oil and mining projects in the Amazon. Indigenous communities from the country’s rainforest are now suing the government in an effort to stop these projects, calling them a “policy of death,” according to reporting by Reuters. Community […]

Continue Reading 320 words
Giant Sequoias Threatened by California Fires 

Giant Sequoias Threatened by California Fires 

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The giant sequoia trees in California’s Sequoia National Park are over 1,000 years old and could live another 2,000 years, but climate change-fueled fires are killing them. The trees can usually withstand the flames, but the intensity of recent fires has been overpowering. Last year’s Castle Fire killed up […]

Continue Reading 385 words
Amazonian Communities Urge International Action & Amazon.com Invests in Restoration

Amazonian Communities Urge International Action & Amazon.com Invests in Restoration

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As wildfires and deforestation grip the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous communities are urging world governments to pledge to protect 80% of the forest by 2025. The groups launched their campaign at a biodiversity conference in France, where experts from around the world are laying the groundwork for the UN’s delayed […]

Continue Reading 441 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.