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USAL Redwood Forest
Conservation Easement Transaction Closes

Protects America's Largest Non-Profit Owned
Working Community Forest
October 27, 2011

The Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) is delighted to announce that on October 27, 2011 we closed the transaction for our sale of a 49,576-acre conservation easement on Usal Redwood Forest to The Conservation Fund and 957-acre fee sale of the Shade Dell parcel to Save the Redwoods League.

Through these transactions, RFFI and our partners have succeeded in protecting a forest landscape that covers a land area almost twice the size of the city of San Francisco. The ambitious and complex transaction was made possible by the support of a strong coalition of national and local elected officials, conservation organizations, industry leaders and committed regional residents. This landmark transaction will permanently protect one of the largest non-profit owned 'working forests' in America.

Usal Redwood Forest, Chimney Rock; photo credit: Richard Gienger

RFFI will continue to own and manage the Usal Redwood Forest for the benefit of the region. This easement sets standards in place that will protect the forest in perpetuity. The easement establishes a fundamental conservation scenario that prohibits development and subdivision and imposes a 2.9% inventory harvest limitation, forest stewardship certification, and transitioning to uneven-aged management over a 50-year period.

These permanent standards will be monitored by The Conservation Fund as the easement holder. Over time RFFI hopes to grow both the conservation practices and economic benefits of the Usal Redwood Forest, located on the Mendocino-Humboldt county line, as it makes good on its financial obligations.

The Conservation Fund acquired the easement through a $19,500,000 grant from the California Wildlife Conservation Board and a $500,000 grant from an anonymous party. This transaction along with the previously approved $5.5 million Shady Dell parcel sale to Save the Redwoods League insures that Usal Redwood Forest will remain a working community forest.

Trees of Mystery The sale of the Shady Dell parcel assures permanent protection of a 957 acre coastal parcel that contains windswept, medieval 'candelabra' redwoods and public access to the Lost Coast, the longest road-less area in the lower 48 states. [See: "Shady Dell deal preserves majestic redwood forest" - San Francisco Chronicle]

This momentous transaction assures that the 50,573 acre forest will remain, in perpetuity, a working community forest for the economic and environmental benefit of our communities. RFFI's mission includes their commitment to investing the eventual excess revenue that will be generated from the ongoing sustainable harvest back into the community.

RFFI would like to applaud California's Wildlife Conservation Board and California Coastal Conservancy strong support for this project. RFFI would also like to recognize the great work of our partners at The Conservation Fund and the Save the Redwoods League for their leadership and diligence in executing this important conservation transaction.

RFFI would also like to thank US Forest Capital who served as our lead advisor on these complex conservation transactions and The Campbell Group for their able assistance.

Most importantly, RFFI thanks all of you, our supporters, who worked so hard and tirelessly in support of the easement. Your help made a difference!

With your help, RFFI has just passed another major milestone in carrying out their mission to acquire and manage redwood forest land for the ecological, economic and social benefit of the region. RFFI, as an organization, will receive no funding from this transaction. The funding will be used to reduce the debt on the property, an innovative financial strategy that utilizes private capital for conservation investments that benefit the common good.

We need your help to support our organization so that we can work together to assure the region benefits from the richness of this working community forest. Please contribute your time and financial support.


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Usal Redwood Forest, stream; photo credit: Richard Gienger


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