Restoration of More Than 70,000 Acres Begins Across Northern California Redwood Forests

Redwood National and State Parks is home to 45 percent of the world’s remaining protected old-growth redwoods. Surrounding these ancient stands are thousands of acres that were severely impacted by decades of commercial logging. Photo: Eco-Ascension Research and Consulting

Save the Redwoods League, the National Park Service and California State Parks announced the next steps in on-the-ground restoration work by Redwoods Rising, a large-scale forest restoration partnership underway in Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). Beginning next week, Redwoods Rising crews will work in two watersheds within the park boundaries—representing a significant milestone for this long-term forest health initiative and bringing forestry jobs to this northern California region.

Through 2020, workers will repair and replace six miles of failing former logging roads and stream crossings (culverts) and conduct critical restoration thinning in overly dense forest areas across approximately 1,200 acres.

Over the next several decades, this restoration program and partnership will ultimately restore more than 70,000 acres of coast redwood forests in RNSP. These forests were severely impacted by decades of commercial logging before being protected as public parkland. Since the launch of Redwoods Rising in 2018, the project has been undergoing critical regulatory compliance processes, surveying and data-collection at initial restoration sites, and reviewing public comments.

“This restoration project is essential to the long-term health of California’s redwood forests and the region’s environmental well-being, and it will also play an important role in the local economy by employing nearly 100 people during this difficult economic period,” said Victor Bjelajac, district superintendent, California State Parks, North Coast Redwoods. “Redwoods have a vital role to play in maintaining California’s climate resilience. This work and the employment opportunities it provides are key to the health and welfare of the region. We have an imperative to push this long-term project forward.”

Creating Green Jobs and Supporting a Rural Economy Through Redwoods Rising

Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, and National Park Service staff touring a Redwoods Rising restoration site in Redwood National and State Parks. Photo by Max Forster

This summer, Redwoods Rising will directly employ nearly 100 forestry inspectors, restoration crew members, drivers, restoration thinning specialists, heavy equipment operators, contracted biological and cultural surveyors, and people in other managing and supporting roles. The partnership is building a restoration skill set among local operators that can be used throughout the region and support a growing green economy and workforce. Redwoods Rising also indirectly supports jobs at area businesses, including sawmills, providers of equipment and other materials, as well as other natural resource professionals.

The Yurok Tribe, California’s largest Native American tribe, has been actively repairing river and woodland ecosystems for more than 20 years. The Tribe is sending seasoned forest restoration staff to remove sections of failing and inaccessible former logging roads, which traverse a Redwoods Rising site within ancestral lands of the Yurok people. The Yurok Watershed Restoration crew is comprised entirely of local Yurok citizens.

Redwoods Rising has hired 19 apprentices from Humboldt State University (HSU) and College of the Redwoods to work alongside the natural resource and restoration professionals and gain on-the-ground experience conserving redwood ecosystems. The annual apprentice program was established in 2018 in partnership with HSU to prepare the next generation of conservation professionals. This phase of Redwoods Rising work is being conducted in full compliance with the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California state and local guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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