Redwoods to the Sea is an effort to connect wild places, protect old-growth forests and the species that depend on them, make appropriate forest management worthwhile, and support landscape planning while deferring to diversity.
Large tracts of virgin forest are among the rarest wildlife habitats on California's north coast. Low-elevation coastal Douglas fir forests, in particular, are barely protected in the state's parks and wilderness systems. Forest conservation in the redwood region over the last century has focused on cathedral redwood groves along river bottoms and freeways to the neglect of other forests. The recent Gilham Butte acquisition diverges from this tradition: it is an off-the-beaten-track old-growth area conserved for habitat values rather than for rock-and-ice scenery and recreational potential.
This project envisions protecting remaining old-growth forests in the area and ensuring the continued viability of a habitat connection between the Eel and Mattole Rivers. We hope to be able to expand the influence of this connection by finding funding to work with the area's small landowners. We hope to help them manage their lands in a way that will protect the watersheds and also nurture big trees that can be harvested sensibly for high-quality wood products and structural diversity. Redwoods to the Sea is one of the first projects to connect wildlife areas on a grand scale in the continental United States.
The Redwoods to the Sea acquisition is an integral part of the California North Coastal Basin Project (NCBP). The NCBP seeks to protect the health of coastal forest ecosystems by connecting Mendocino County, the industrial forestlands of Humboldt County, and the Klamath Knot bioregion of the Marbled Mountains, Trinity Alps, and Siskiyou wildernesses.
At the heart of this wildland mosaic--the nucleus of one of the largest blocks of wildlife habitat in north coastal California--stands the Gilham Butte wildlands. The Bureau of Land Management's 2,550-acre Gilham Butte Late Seral Reserve borders the acquisition and therefore is pivotal to the project. Following a 20-year campaign spearheaded by Friends of Gilham Butte, this Reserve is now listed as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Our acquisition will be added to this reserve, with wilderness management as a priority.