20 Years with the Grove of Old Trees

Category: Blog, branching out conservation for everyone, Community Resilience, Grove of Old Trees, Growing Community with Nature, LandPaths Preserves, Stewardship, Volunteer

By LandPaths Staff

December 21, 2020


It’s hard to believe, but in 1990s, these grand redwoods, tucked off an inconspicous lane in west Sonoma County, were slated to be cut down as part of a timber harvest plan. 

Once owned by a local logging family and preserved as a place for private celebrations and respite, the Grove of Old Trees was handed down to a generation that forgot that connection, and intended to log the trees.You can actually see blue stripes painted on some of the redwoods that had been slated for harvest.  

LandPaths Protects the Grove

Thanks to the tireless work of neighbors and environmental activists, the blue stripes are a reminder of a fate averted. Friends of the Grove, a group of concerned friends and neighbors, launched a years-long campaign to protect the redwood stand, some of the trees over 1,000 years-old. LandPaths heeded the call to support the effort in 2000, and the rest is history.

This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of LandPaths’ purchase and stewardship of the Grove of Old Trees. Originally 28 acres, LandPaths, with community support and Save the Redwoods league expanded the Grove to what it now a 48-acre sanctuary of healthy, old-growth coast redwoods in a quiet corner of Occidental.

LandPaths purchased the property twenty years ago, with the support of Friends of the Grove and the assistance of Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, Save The Redwoods League, California Coastal Conservancy, and generous donations from individuals. Our former board member Caryl Hart was also instrumental in the final push. It officially opened to the public in 2000.

Today, a Forever Wild conservation easement mandates a zero take of the trees. 

People Powered Park  

Grove of Old Trees is the first and now one of only two privately owned preserves in Sonoma County that is publicly accessible and free to all. 

Our small but mighty staff stewards the preserve with the help of dedicated, community-minded volunteers. With your help, we maintain an easy-to-walk network of trails, mulched to protect the shallow redwood roots. We also steward the land with wildfire fuel reduction as a core goal. And did we mention the hugely important role that redwood stands like this play in fighting climate crisis with their amazing capacity for carbon storage? It’s with great joy that we can say that the Grove will stand forever as a forest preserve and a place for research, respite, communing with the ancient redwoods, and environmental education.  

Grove Volunteers
Tim Johnson, left, of Camp Meeker, and Jared Garrison-Jakel of Forestville cut down Douglas fir trees encroaching on a California bunch grass and white oak meadow north of the Grove of the Old Trees at a LandPaths stewardship workday on the property. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

The Grove is located on the original homeland of the Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok people. We honor their legacy and continued contributions to the ecological health of our community. We cherish this living remnant of the redwood forests that once covered much of the Northern California coast and hope you share that connection with us!

Long live the Grove of Old Trees!  

Read more about the Grove of Old Trees in this 2014 Press Democrat story by Mary Callahan.

Large redwood trees at Grove of Old Trees
Majestic redwoods at the Grove.

Partners

Craig Anderson, Executive Director at LandPaths

" This living remnant of the once-expansive coast redwood range will continue as a place for building community around land—especially for our region’s youths. The Grove is a catalyst for bringing nature into daily life, for walks, stress relief, beauty, learning and stewardship. "

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