Frequently Asked Questions
See answers to common questions about Save the Redwoods League and redwoods.
Experience the Redwoods
Where are the redwoods?
- Coast redwoods grow naturally today only in a narrow 450-mile strip along the Pacific coast from central California to southern Oregon. This strip is almost the distance from San Francisco to San Diego.
- The Earth's last giant sequoias grow naturally today only in 77 scattered groves along the western slopes of California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
- Dawn redwoods grow naturally today in south-central China.
- Plan your next redwood adventure: SaveTheRedwoods.org/maps
Redwood species grew throughout North America, Europe and Asia 144 million years ago. Over time and in response to an ever-changing environment, they retreated from most of their former range, and many once-abundant redwood species became extinct.
I'm planning a trip to visit the redwoods. Where should I go, and do you have any recommendations for accommodations?
State, federal and local parks offer amazing experiences in the redwoods.
- See our Redwoods Finder interactive redwood parks map of California: SaveTheRedwoods.org/maps
- Download the PDF of our Redwood Highway Guide
- Some parks offer lodging and/or tent cabins:
COAST REDWOODS: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
GIANT SEQUOIAS: Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Make a Donation
How can I donate?
You can easily make a donation using our secure donation webpages, via the phone or fax and by mail.
- On the web: SaveTheRedwoods.org/givetoday
- By phone: (415) 820-5800 or (888) 836-0005 (toll free)
- By fax: (415) 362-7017
- By mail:
Save the Redwoods League
114 Sansome Street, Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104-3823
Please make checks payable to "Save the Redwoods League." We accept all major credits cards. There is also the option of making monthly payments from your checking account or credit card.
How many acres of redwood forestland are owned by a public agency (national, state and local parks)?
340,000 acres, about half the size of Rhode Island. Examples of public agencies that own redwood forestland:
- National agencies: the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service
- State agencies: California State Parks
- Local agencies: East Bay Regional Parks District
A redwood or sequoia in my backyard is looking unhealthy or falling. Can the League visit or provide information on helping this tree?
The best way to help your tree is to contact an arborist or a tree care specialist in your community because they will be familiar with your local climate and the special needs of trees in your area. You could contact the Tree Care Industry Association (external link) to find an accredited tree care company in your area, or call this association at (800) 733-2622. This Tree Care Industry Association contact information is provided for your convenience. Save the Redwoods League makes no guarantees in connection with tree care services.
My neighbor or someone in my community is planning a timber harvest on their private land. What can I do?
Please provide as much information on the timber harvest plan as you can (timber harvesting landowner's name, location, assessor's parcel number, etc.). If you have issues with the timber harvest plan, please contact the local planning or land use authorities in your city or county.
The League does not take a position on timber harvest plans on private land, but we appreciate having this information in case it relates to a landowner we are working with or a project we are working on in the area.
Permanent Protection of Land
How can the League be sure that property will be protected once it is transferred to a permanent steward?
Before we transfer land to a permanent steward, the League includes clauses in deeds limiting the future uses of the property. Generally, restrictions ensure that the future use of the land is consistent with its management as a public park.
How does the League select redwood land to protect?
For those who have had the chance to stand in the midst of a redwood grove, there are few life experiences that match it. We can all agree that there are some places on Earth that are so special that they are worth saving.
Save the Redwoods League protects and restores these magical redwood forests according to our science-based Master Plan. This plan identifies and prioritizes redwood forests and the surrounding land that nurtures them, protecting and enhancing investments made since our establishment in 1918. The Master Plan includes 16 criteria that identify areas that are important to protect. Examples of these criteria are:
- the amount of ancient redwood forest the land contains
- habitat for threatened species and the presence of threatened species including marbled murrelet, a seabird; salmon and northern spotted owl
- the number of waterways such as creeks and rivers
- recreational opportunities including hiking trails
- and the risk of commercial and residential development
When the League purchases a property, how do you determine what price to pay?
We rely on an independent assessment of value by a professional appraiser.
What will the League do if a private property owner wants to convert his/her lands to vineyards or develop the property for residential/commercial use?
Save the Redwoods League works with land owners either to buy property or to provide guidance on how to steward their redwood lands. Our decisions to work with land owners are guided by our Master Plan for the Redwoods. Each property is evaluated on 16 different criteria to determine the best possible outcome for the redwoods. Among other things, we look at each property's conservation values (such as water sources, habitat for endangered species and proximity to other protected areas) and location within the natural range of the redwoods.
We receive inquires year-round on properties ranging from huge swaths of forest, to small private parcels, to land with few or no redwoods at all. Many of the properties that we evaluate do not meet the criteria for us to buy or steward the property. Some properties fall outside of our science-based Master Plan for the Redwoods while other projects simply may not have enough ecological, scenic or historic significance. Still, we acknowledge that every parcel in California is important to all of us, and we wish we could protect them all. Since we have limited resources, we carefully follow our guidelines to advance our mission to protect these magical places and connect people to the wonder of the redwoods.
Land owners are not obligated to work with us and owners may have legal rights to clear the trees and develop or convert the land to other use. This is why the League's work to protect important properties when we have the chance is so critical.
How are roads removed during a restoration project?
The League supports restoration of redwood forests. This restoration work is conducted by our partners, California State Parks, the National Park Service and the US Bureau of Land Management. Some of the forests we protect were owned by timber companies. These companies built roads through the forest for trucks and machinery. To keep the forest healthy, we reshape the land so it looks like it was before the road installation. In time, plants and trees grow, concealing evidence of the road.
Why does the League support the cutting of trees in forest restoration projects such as Mill Creek?
To ensure the long-term health and survival of redwood forests, Save the Redwoods League takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to their protection and care. While we stand firmly against the harvesting of any huge, very old redwood trees, we do recognize that there are times where removing younger trees doesn't jeopardize the long-term health or survival of redwood forests. And in some cases, as in our restoration efforts, removing younger trees actually promotes the health of redwood forests by giving trees that are struggling and competing with one another the space, light and water they need to grow.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement, sometimes called a conservation agreement or land protection agreement, is among the tools the League uses to protect redwoods. It is a voluntary contract between a landowner and the League that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its natural resources such as old-growth redwood forests. The contract allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs. In making the agreement, the League agrees to monitor the land forever to ensure compliance with its terms.
Does the League establish conservation easements or accept donations of land?
Yes. The League enters into conservation easements and may accept donations of land if they fit into our Master Plan.
I want to give someone a redwood book. What would you recommend?
Links to Amazon.com are provided for your convenience. Save the Redwoods League makes no guarantees in connection with their services.
About Coast Redwoods
- Giants in the Earth: The California Redwoods by Andrew Dean Nystrom (Collaborator), Peter Johnstone (Editor) and Peter E. Palmquist (Editor). Stories, poems, natural history writing and articles about contemporary conservation issues.
- Among Trees, by Sean Kernan. Coffee-table photo book highlighting various forests.
- Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest by Jim Balog. Portraits of immense sequoias and redwoods.
- Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History by Michael G. Barbour (Editor), John Evarts (Editor), Marjorie Popper (Editor). Includes more than 200 color photos.
- The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods by Reed F. Noss (Editor). Scientific book written to support the Save the Redwoods League Master Plan.
About Giant Sequoias
- The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada, by National Park Service and Richard J. Hartesveldt, H. Thomas Harvey, Howard S. Shellhammer and Ronald E. Stecker. A synthesis of the writings of others and results of the authors' field studies, begun in 1956.
- A Guide to the Sequoia Groves of California, by Dwight Willard. Extensive information on each grove, including general description and managing agency; historical facts; size, condition, and overall quality; access; and notable trees.
- The Enduring Giants: The Epic Story of Giant Sequoia and the Big Trees of Calaveras, by Joseph H. Engbeck Jr.
History of Logging in the Redwoods
- Logging the Redwoods by Lynwood Carranco and John Labbe. The story of the California redwood lumber industry also tells the stories of the men, trains and the land. Illustrations and historical photographs fill the pages.
- Redwood Classic by Ralph Andrews. One man's memorial to redwoods. Lumbermen are quoted in memories about their work, including hardships, inventions, earthquakes and fires, sawmills, logging camps and shipping.
- Ages 2-5. The Tallest Tree by Robert Lieber. The world's tallest trees come to life in a delightfully illustrated story that will enchant and teach children about life in the forest.
- Ages 4-8. Redwoods by Jason Chin. A boy finds a book about redwood trees and becomes captivated while reading it on the train. When he comes out of the station, he finds himself deep in a redwood forest, where he discovers its many wonders.
- Ages 8-12. Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French. Julian's uncle's company plans to cut down some of the oldest California redwood trees, and it's up to Julian and his friends to stop them.
See more on our book list for children: SaveTheRedwoods.org/kidsbooks
Does the League have any information about how my firm or organization can purchase carbon offsets?
While we don't formally endorse any one organization, here are some that sell carbon offsets. These referrals are provided for your convenience. Save the Redwoods League makes no guarantees in connection with their services.
- Neutralize Your Pollution – Fight Global Warming – Environmental Defense Fund (external link)
- TerraPass Carbon Offsets (external link)
- Carbonfund.org (external link)
- Carbon Emissions Offset Directory (external link)
The League maintains that redwoods stand at a new crossroads of environmental change where urbanization, habitat fragmentation, invasive species and climatic changes in combination threaten these forests in ways they have not yet experienced in their long history on Earth. We are currently evaluating any potential benefits of carbon offset programs for redwood forests.
What government agencies are the League's primary partners?
We transfer land to California State Parks (external link), National Parks Service (external link), US Bureau of Land Management (external link), US Forest Service (external link) and county and local park systems, which are permanent land stewards. Agencies such as the State of California Coastal Conservancy (external link) and State of California Wildlife Conservation Board (external link) are our funding partners. We work with leading redwood forest scientists at many universities including the University of California, Berkeley, and Humboldt State University. Parks and public schools, among other providers, may be awarded grants through our Education Grants Program or Research Grants Program.
Does the League work with other nonprofits?
The League often partners with nonprofits operating at the national, state and local levels. For example, Save the Redwoods League has joined a passionate group of conservation organizations in and around Silicon Valley to protect the area's vast open spaces, broad biodiversity, productive working lands and dramatic natural beauty, including 30,000 acres of redwood forests. This new Living Landscape Initiative (LLI) (external link), includes The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (external link), The Nature Conservancy (external link), Peninsula Open Space Trust (external link) and Sempervirens Fund (external link). We also give grants to schools and park cooperating associations such as Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association (external link) and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (external link).
You're Keeping an Ancient Forest Reachable
You helped us buy Noyo River Redwoods, a magical ancient forest you can see only by the historic Skunk Train, in 2011. Recently you came to the rescue again. Your gifts helped to repair a collapsed railroad tunnel that shut down the train's famous Redwood Route last April. The tunnel is now open and full Skunk Train service has resumed. You can make sure we're ready to protect and provide you access to amazing forests like this one: Please donate today.