AP NEWS

Largest private giant sequoia grove saved from development

January 9, 2020 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco conservation group bought a hillside forest in Tulare County that is home to a hundreds of ancient giant sequoia trees and that was once targeted for homes and a ski resort.

Save the Redwoods League raised $15.65 million to buy the 530-acre Alder Creek Grove, which includes the 3,000-year-old Stagg Tree, which has a 34.7-foot diameter and is the fifth-largest tree in the world, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Save the Redwoods president Sam Hodder, said they received donations from individuals and foundations in all 50 states and 30 other countries after announcing in September that they planned to buy the largest privately owned grove of sequoias. The purchase was completed on Dec. 31.

“This is the best of what’s left. This is a truly magical place, and it comes at a time when people needed some good news — something that protects the beauty of the world,” Hodder said.

The grove contains 483 giant sequoias that are at least 6 feet wide. The ancient stand is about the same size as Yosemite’s famous Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, which was established in 1864 and helped inspire the creation of the National Park System.

The Redwoods League now plans to spend another $4.75 million on ecosystem studies and restoration work. Hodder said trails will be built and a public access plan will be developed over the next five to 10 years.