A California conservation group is attempting to purchase the world's largest private sequoia grove and open its ancient, towering trees to the public. They just need US$15 million to make it happen. And you might be able to help.

Looking up at a giant Sequoia tree with the sun bursting through on a partly cloudy day.
A California conservation group is attempting to purchase the world's largest privately owned giant sequoia forest ©Highlywood Photography/Getty

Save the Redwoods League, a San Francisco-based conservation group, announced this week that it has reached an agreement to purchase what was the largest remaining privately-owned giant sequoia forest in the world. The property known as Alder Creek sits in the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the southern Sierra Nevada region of California and has been hailed as the "crown jewel" of the giant sequoia forests. 

"The beauty of this place is beyond words," president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League Sam Hodder said in a statement, as he requested the public's help in raising the US$15 million it needs to complete the purchase to "fully protect this remarkable grove forever." The deadline for the sale is 31 December 2019.

Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park
Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park ©Elena Pueyo/Getty

"The need is urgent. If we don't buy this property, we don't know who will, or what they'll do with it," Hodder continued. "Walking among these trees that have been growing since the earliest human civilisations changes your understanding of the world and your place in it. We have to save this place."

The 530-acre forest is home to hundreds of ancient giant sequoias, 483 of which have a diameter of six feet or larger, including the Stagg Tree: the fifth-largest tree in the world. Despite living for up to 2000 or 3000 years, the giant sequoia is one of the most vulnerable tree species on the planet and its future is threatened by drought, forest fires and climate change. The League plans to work to minimise the damage wrought by these threats and eventually turn over the grove to the United States Forest Service to manage as part of the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Autumn sun glow against giant sequoias
Giant sequoias are some of the most vulnerable tree species on the planet ©Larry Gerbrandt/Getty

Last year, the League purchased the private Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve in Sonoma County with the intention to turn it into a public park within the next three years, full of hiking and biking trails for all ages. It also purchased Red Hill, one of the two largest unprotected giant sequoia forests in the world, after raising US$4 million. They hope that Alder Creek will also become a place for the public to enjoy, as well as an important conservation area.

If you’d like to donate to the Alder Creek project, you can do so here. An anonymous donor has offered to match dollar-for-dollar each donation received by 31 December up to US$500,000, the league said.

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