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Harry Pollack: Thinking About Redwood Parks As a Forest
Harry Pollack, League Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, is planning centuries ahead to protect the redwood forest.
In the 1970s, Harry Pollack and his wife spent 10 months driving from Michigan to California in a VW van. "We took the scenic route," he says.
After settling in the Bay Area, the young lawyer learned that rapid growth threatened the area's natural beauty, and he wondered about the quality of life his two daughters would inherit. He began to balance his work in commercial real estate with efforts in conservation.
Over the years, Pollack became an expert in land trusts. He owned Conservation Partners, a firm devoted to preserving land in the public interest. In one pro bono effort, he assisted in setting up California Council of Land Trusts, a consortium of 150 land trusts around the state. His pro bono work included writing initiatives that helped establish McLaughlin Eastshore State Park along the East Bay waterfront.
In 2011, Pollack started working for Save the Redwoods League as General Counsel and Chief Program Officer. In November 2012, when former Executive Director Ruskin K. Hartley resigned, Pollack was named the League's Chief Operating Officer and Secretary. Meanwhile, the Board of Directors began a search for its next Executive Director.
"We are at an exciting and critical time," Pollack said. "What the League focused on in its first century was saving as much of the old-growth redwood forest as possible—and creating this wonderful system of parks. The challenge today is thinking about those parks as a forest."
The forest he's talking about extends along the California coast from Big Sur to the Oregon border, and includes parts of the Sierra Nevada. Timber companies and other private landowners, as well as state, federal and local governments, take care of their own patches. "But science has taught us to think about the system as a whole, how changes in one patch of forest can affect the plants, the animals, even the weather, of the rest," Pollack said.
His cross-country ramble far behind him, Pollack now thinks centuries ahead. "We're dealing with a long-lived species," he says. "We need to think long-term."
You Can Open the Gate to a Hidden Sequoia World
Southeast of Three Rivers in the Sierra Nevada is a kingdom of giant sequoias reachable on foot, mountain bike and horseback. Ancient giants here measure as much as 16 feet across, likely wider than your dining room. Save the Redwoods League is working with Sequoia Riverlands Trust and the Bureau of Land Management to buy Craig Ranch and provide easy access to the majestic ancient trees. Learn more about this purchase and how your gift can be matched.