Sanctuary Forest

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The Sanctuary Forest is a nonprofit land trust that resides in the Mattole River headwaters on the northern California coast. It began in 1987 when members of the surrounding community put forth their efforts to save a 2,000-year-old redwood named “Big Red”. Sanctuary Forest now provides lifelong preservation to more than 10,000 acres of forest, rivers and wildlife corridors in California, while improving the relationship between its communities and their environment.[1]


Sanctuary Forest began in 1987 within the temperate rainforest of the headwaters of the Mattole River on the northern California coast. Active community members with the vision to save the 2,000-year-old redwood, “Big Red”, that was scheduled for cutting by industrial timberland owners, launched Sanctuary Forest’s first campaign. The origin of this organization is based on the beliefs of the Redwoods Monastery, a group of Cistercian monastic women, who educated their communities on the severe threats logging has towards the environment.[2]

Conservation efforts[edit]

The Sanctuary Forest’s conservation efforts are to preserve old growth Douglas firs, redwood forests, wildlife corridors, and many other priceless habitats and streamflows in and around the Mattole River. It has guided efforts to save 1,200 acres of old growth forest, 4,440 acres of land for conservation purposes, and 6,075 acres of conservation easements on private property.[3]


Sanctuary Forest’s programs include: Lands Conservation Program, Stewardship Program, Education and Outreach Program and Collaboration Program:[4]

Lands conservation program[edit]

The Lands Conservation Program protects the main areas that help keep the Mattole River healthy through conservation easements and land acquisition.[5]

Stewardship program[edit]

The Stewardship Program establishes ecologically sound land management by restoration, water conservation and other projects.[6]

Education and outreach program[edit]

The Education and Outreach Program promotes public appreciation for the land by providing summer hikes and scholarships.[7]

Collaboration program[edit]

Collaboration Program unify different perspectives with the same purpose of keeping the Mattole watershed healthy, through making partnerships to promote conservation and responsible management of the environment. It includes the Upper Mattole River and Forest Cooperative (UMRFC), which involves public, private, federal, state and nonprofit organizations that manage 4,000 acres of Mattole River headwaters as part of an threatened salmon location. Sanctuary Forest is the nonprofit land conservation group that was active in conserving this area in collaboration with the UMRFC. It is estimated that the Sanctuary Forest owns around 500 acres within the UMRFC.[8]


  1. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "Welcome to Sanctuary Forest". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "A Brief History of Sanctuary Forest". Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "How We Began". Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "Sanctuary Forest's Programs". Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "The Promise of Land Conservation". Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "Stewardship Program: 'Living with the River'". Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "Educational Programs". Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Sanctuary Forest, Inc. (2005). "COLLABORATION PROGRAM: 'Upper Mattole River and Forest Cooperative'". Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.