Bay Nature magazineFall 2019

Nature News

Save the Redwoods Has a Deal to Acquire A Forest of Giant Sequoias Rivaling the Mariposa Grove

September 16, 2019
stagg tree
The Stagg Tree, believed to be the fifth largest tree in the world. (Photo by Max Forster, Save the Redwoods League)

The Save the Redwoods League has announced a deal to acquire 530 acres of giant sequoia forest in the Sierra Nevada east of Tulare. In both size and in the number of ancient sequoias, the Alder Creek property rivals Yosemite’s famed Mariposa Grove. The $15.25 million purchase, expected to be finalized in December, includes the fifth-tallest tree on earth, the Stagg Tree, a 250-foot-tall, 3,000-year-old giant. It’s one of nearly 500 giant sequoias on the private property.

The nonprofit redwood conservation group works to protect both coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and their cousins the giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). But most giant sequoias were protected more than half a century ago, leaving Alder Creek as the largest unprotected grove remaining.

Once the purchase wraps up at the end of the year, the League will strive to reduce fire risk on the property by thinning smaller trees and shrubs to more closely mimic the way giant sequoia forests would have looked before fire suppression. The League plans to turn over the grove to the United States Forest Service to manage as part of the Giant Sequoia National Monument within a decade, League conservation director Becky Bremer says.

Then, perhaps, the public will get to visit a grove she calls “magical” for its concentration of ancient trees. “I’ve been working in land conservation for 20 years,” Bremer says. “I’ve gotten to see some pretty spectacular properties, but this one still moved me. You stand there in this space of massive, massive trees, and you’re just like, ‘What are your stories!’”

“Giant sequoias catalyzed the national conservation movement more than 150 years ago, beginning with the protection of Mariposa,” League president and CEO Sam Hodder adds. “Today, Save the Redwoods League has the opportunity to continue this conservation legacy by permanently protecting Alder Creek and its hundreds of giant sequoia trees.”

About the Author

Eric Simons is a former digital editor at Bay Nature. He is author of The Secret Lives of Sports Fans and Darwin Slept Here, and is coauthor, with Tessa Hill, of At Every Depth: Our Growing Knowledge of the Changing Oceans.