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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Redwoods league buys Mattole land for BLM

John Driscoll/The Eureka Times-Standard

The Save-the-Redwoods League has acquired 216-acres between Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area and transferred it to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The property is the latest addition to a project known as Corridor from the Redwoods to the Sea. That is nearly 10,000 acres connecting the lush old-growth redwood forests in the Southern Humboldt County park to the ocean.

”In the BLM Arcata Field Office we share Save-the-Redwoods League's vision to connect critical wildlife areas in California,” said Field Manager Lynda Roush. “This land transfer is a significant stepping stone in extending the Corridor from the Redwoods to the Sea.”

The acquired land connects habitat and provides protection for threatened species in the area, according to a league press release. Endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout exist in several streams on the property, the league said, and second-growth redwoods and Douglas fir forests protect the Mattole River from soil erosion and improve habitat for aquatic species.

The land was bought from a family for about $200,000 with funding from the league and the Resource Legacy Fund Foundation's Preserving Wild California Program, league Executive Director Ruskin Hartley said in a phone interview. Hartley said the league has been working in the Mattole River area since at least 1999, initially buying some property from Eel River Sawmills. He said it's been important since large parcels in the Mattole are becoming more scarce, and the effects on wildlife and streams have been dramatic.

”The league's Corridor from the Redwoods to the Sea project is significant because virtually all of the remaining wild land in the lower 48 states is divided into isolated islands,” Hartley said. “Linking areas of wildlands is key to effective conservation. It allows us to protect landscapes where animals and plant species can thrive, reproduce and flourish.”

Save-the-Redwoods League Secures Protection of Forest Habitat for Wildlife Corridor Project

Business Wire, July 1, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 30, 1999-- Save-the-Redwoods League, with the commitment of $2.6 million of state funds in Governor Gray Davis' budget signed this week, took the next critical step towards permanent protection of the wildlife Corridor from the Redwoods to the Sea. The League exercised its option with Eel River Sawmills to purchase 3,800 acres of forested lands: major stepping stones in a corridor for wildlife between Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the world's largest old growth redwood forest, and BLM's King Range National Conservation Area, the longest unroaded coastal area in the lower 48 states. "The State's support for this project coupled with the commitment of a broad range of donors and Eel River Sawmill's responsiveness and patience makes possible the protection of these sensitive lands so important to the wildlife that depend on old growth redwoods and Douglas-fir," said Kate Anderton, the League's acting Executive Director. Donors for the project include the Columbia, Mead, and Compton Foundations, the Goldman Fund, large private donors and other public sources.

The State's contribution to the project resulted from the advocacy of Senator Wesley Chesbro and Assemblymember Virginia Strom Martin, the region's elected representatives who championed the project in their respective houses. Senator Byron Sher's leadership on the Senate Budget Subcommittee was pivotal in the legislature's solid support for the funding. The League anticipates that the properties will be owned and managed for natural resource values by the US Bureau of Land Management. Management strategies will build on the good stewardship of the private owners in the corridor. "This project is possible in large part because of the very long term exemplary management of large ranches in the area. Private ownership and management of those lands has huge benefit to the values being protected through this conservation effort, and will continue to be an important component of the Corridor," noted League Director Anderton.

Local citizen groups in Southern Humboldt County have spearheaded the effort over more than 25 years to protect the area surrounding the BLM Gilham Butte late seral reserve, the centerpiece of the Corridor. Removing the prospect of timber harvest on the area's steep slopes will protect and enhance the waters of the region's coho salmon and steelhead spawning habitat. Dave Walsh of Redway's Ancient Forest International, pleased with the now certain future for these lands, said, "The goal of this purchase is to ensure habitat connectivity for the wildlife in this important old growth Douglas fir reserve."

The project still requires additional funding to reconfigure certain parcels and purchase other parcels that complement and expand the benefits of the private and public lands in the Corridor. The Save-the-Redwoods League is a nonprofit organization, established in 1918, which acquires and protects primeval forestlands for protection in public parks and preserves. Since 1918, the League has contributed more than $4 billion worth of land to the California State Parks and Redwood National Park. Project map available at

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