Preserving Old-Growth Redwoods in Humboldt County
Headwaters Grove in Humboldt County spans 3,000 acres and contains redwood trees that are over 2,000 years old. This area was the largest unprotected old-growth redwood forest in the world and was seriously threatened by logging activities. Logging companies owned the land and were cutting down redwood trees, including some more than 1,000 years old, eliminating a resource that would take millennia to restore. In 1999 the California State and the Federal governments reached an agreement with landowner Pacific Lumber Company and bought the land. The purchase included 4,500 acres of land surrounding the old-growth grove, totaling 7,500 acres of forestland to be protected for public benefit. The agreement included a 50-year habitat conservation plan that had to comply with both CEQA and NEPA to govern logging activities on the nearby parcels of land. As required under CEQA, Pacific Lumber must adopt mitigation measures on its remaining land in order to protect threatened and endangered species. Today the area is known as the Headwaters Forest Reserve and is open to the public for hiking along trails and guided tours of the majestic old-growth redwoods.