Conservationists are reading to buy all 530 acres of the world’s largest patch of privately owned giant sequoia trees.

Giant sequoia forests are one of the rarest ecosystems on the planet, encompassing 48,000 acres. The vast majority of remaining giant sequoia groves are held in public or tribal ownership, with only 1,200 acres privately owned today—and the private Alder Creek property has been hailed as the “crown jewel” of giant sequoia forests.

The forest, which is surrounded by Giant Sequoia National Monument in northern California, is home to hundreds of ancient giant sequoia, 483 of which have a diameter of 6 feet or larger, including the Stagg Tree: the fifth-largest tree known in the world and the largest tree under private ownership.

Thankfully, the forest may soon be under federal protection since the Save the Redwoods League has managed to negotiate the opportunity to buy the Alder Creek forest for $15.65 million.

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“Alder Creek is the most consequential giant sequoia conservation project of our lifetime. It’s the largest remaining giant sequoia property in private ownership, and a globally unique and extraordinarily beautiful landscape,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “Giant sequoia—the world’s most massive trees — inspired the national conservation movement more than 150 years ago beginning with the protection of Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. 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.”

The eventual transfer of Alder Creek to Giant Sequoia National Monument under U.S. Forest Service stewardship will allow this forest to be managed for its long-term survival—and in addition to the purchase helping to protect the forest, it will also help to open the forest for public access.

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“This is perhaps the most significant sequoia conservation opportunity in the last 65 years,” said Becky Bremser, the director of land protection for Save the Redwoods League. “By protecting this property, we will safeguard the biological richness and ecological resilience of a forest unlike any other on Earth—with giant sequoia trees that are thousands of years old, and nearly 500 with diameters six feet or larger. We also will create the opportunity for this extraordinary mountain forest to inspire the public in a truly special way.”

The acquisition cost of the property must be raised by December 31st, 2019. To launch this public fundraising effort and inspire support, an anonymous donor has volunteered to match all donations to the campaign by up to $500,000 dollar-for-dollar. The public can also donate to support the protection and restoration of Alder Creek by visiting the Save the Redwoods website.

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