Conservation Group Seeks To Buy Largest Privately Held Sequoia Forest To Protect It

A conservation group is not going to wait for the federal government to protect Giant Sequoia trees, so it is raising millions of dollars to purchase 580 acres of privately held land surrounded by Giant Sequoia National Monument in California.

Save the Redwoods League has been seeking to purchase the property for two decades from the family that has owned it since the 1940s.

The Rouch family originally logged trees there, but mainly focused on other trees such as faster growing pine trees while largely leaving the Giant Sequoias alone.

“Less than a dozen were ever taken,” Mike Rouch, grandson of the original owner, told the Mercury News. “I’m 62, and there’s never been one cut down in my lifetime. They could have gotten fence posts or roof shakes out of them. But I think my dad deep down recognized how beautiful they were and he didn’t want to take them.”

That’s exactly why Save The Redwoods League wants to buy the land, so that the American people can continue enjoying these trees for generations rather than let loggers clear-cut them.

Now the family has agreed to sell the property to the conservation group as long as they can come up with the $15.6 million price agreed upon.

“This is probably the most-coveted sequoia conservation opportunity in a generation,” League president Sam Hodder said in a press release. “This is an alpine landscape covered with iconic, breathtaking, cinnamon-barked trees that are surrounded by pastures. It is such a superlative representation of nature. This is the prize. This is the best of what’s left. It’s a very special place. Alder Creek is the most consequential giant sequoia conservation project of our lifetime. It’s the largest remaining giant sequoia property in private ownership and a globally unique and extraordinarily beautiful landscape. To fully protect this remarkable grove forever, we will need the public’s help in raising the required funds by December 31, 2019. I am pleased to announce that we have a challenge grant in place to help us achieve that goal.”

“This is perhaps the most significant sequoia conservation opportunity in the last 65 years,” League director of land protection Becky Bremser agreed. “By protecting this property, we will safeguard the biological richness and ecological resilience of a forest unlike any other on Earth — with giant sequoia trees that are thousands of years old, and nearly 500 with diameters six feet or larger. We also will create the opportunity for this extraordinary mountain forest to inspire the public in a truly special way.”

Raising money to purchase land for conservation is not a new practice, but it has gained headlines in recent years and is considered to be a great strategy, especially since the federal government clearly cannot be trusted at the moment to protect public lands from the greedy hands of loggers, miners and developers who care more about money than our natural heritage and environment.

A charitable conservation group in Canada recently saved an untouched forest located at Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia from loggers by raising money in a campaign that saw donations from people around the world eager to protect some of the last remaining old-growth forests in existence.

Save The Redwoods League is hoping to pull off a similar feat so that people around the globe can enjoy the majesty of Giant Sequoias for years to come.

If you wish to donate to Save The Redwoods League to help them purchase the land, click here.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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