Placeholder Image photo credit: Smith Robinson Multimedia/Save the
Redwoods League

The iconic old growth Clar Tree towering over the
Russian River Redwoods outside Guerneville.

A large expanse of redwood forest once slated for logging appears to be spared, but it’s a battle with the clock now for Save the Redwoods League.

That's as the nonprofit races to secure the six and a half million dollars needed to buy the property located on the south side of the Russian River between Guerneville and Monte Rio.

Dubbed the Russian River Redwoods, the 394-acre site is home to the legendary Clar Tree, one of the last remaining old growth redwoods in the area, measuring 278 feet tall, and believed to be close to 2,000 years old.

Save the Redwoods League CEO Sam Hodder spoke in a recent video about the purchase agreement between the League and the property owner.

"The Russian River Redwoods property was harvested back in the late 1800's, but the roots are still here," Hodder said. "There are these stumps scattered all around it, like the bones of the forest that used to be here, but yet underground we still have that, that vibrant, ancient genetic resilience of a forest that really wants to be right here."

Efforts to preserve the property have intensified since the owner, RMB Revocable Family Trust, first submitted the Silver Estates timber harvest plan in summer 2020.

That plan to log 224 acres was ultimately approved in November 2022 after back and forth between the Trust - Cal Fire - community members - and groups like the Guerneville Forest Coalition.

RMB trustee Roger Burch is also founder and CEO of Pacific States Industries, an umbrella corporation with multiple timber product companies in its portfolio, including Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale.

Having reached an agreement with Burch, Save the Redwoods League is now aiming to raise the needed funds by September 30th to complete the purchase.

Speaking in the announcement video, the League’s Jeff Stump noted the rare opportunity to preserve the property. It provides habitat for species like spotted owls, red tree voles, steelhead trout, and chinook salmon.

"It's about a mile of river frontage," Stump said. "You know, this river has been a focal point for a lot of effort around water quality and health of the anadromous fish. Lots and lots of folks uses this river in the summer. It's, it's a lovely place to recreate. And you know, what we wanna see in the generation, which is an old growth silver grove. You know, much like it was in the 1800's."

Save the Redwoods plans ultimately to transfer the property to Sonoma County Ag and Open Space for long term stewardship and restoration.

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