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In Praise of SRL



I am responding to the NCJ's June 15, 2023, book review, "The Ghost Forest's Haunting Histories."

Save the Redwoods League (SRL) started acquiring property for the creation of Humboldt Redwoods State Park in 1921. The acquisitions continued and currently Humboldt Redwoods SP spans 53,000 acres. This is the largest single expanse of old growth coastal redwoods on the planet. Also, in the 1920s SRL championed the creation of Jedediah Smith State Park.

Recognizing the near total devastation of redwoods that was occurring during the 20th century, there is no doubt that without SRL, and other individuals and organizations, the old growth coastal redwood would be virtually extinct today.

SRL has continued its advocacy for these forest monarchs with Redwoods Rising, a collaboration between the state and national parks and SRL, to eventually restore degraded second-growth forest to old growth status. This is vitally important work considering that an old growth sequoia sempervirens forest sequesters more carbon per acre than any other forest type on Earth.

There should be no doubt that, despite its racist and eugenic past, SRL has done and continues to do much good for planet Earth. SRL has publicly denounced and apologized for prior indiscretions by characterizing them as "abhorrent and reprehensible." More work to heal the past is needed but let's remember that other environmental groups such as the Sierra Club (John Muir) and the National Audubon Society (John Audubon) are struggling with the same issues.

SRL has helped save over 200,000 acres of redwood forest from destruction and has meaningfully apologized for past indiscretions. Public support of SRL is crucial so that it may continue to protect and restore our redwood forests (sempervirens and giganteum). Please, let's not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good!


Martin Smukler, McKinleyville

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