A 10,500-acre conservation easement is being pursued for the timberlands south of Redwood National Park and county supervisors are in support of it. The Green Diamond Resource Company is collaborating with the non-profit Trust for Public Land, which is applying for funding to buy the easement from the company. It would permanently extinguish development rights, include public access and maintain timber harvesting operations.
The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been named as a funding source and at its March 19 meeting, the Board of Supervisors was asked for a letter or resolution in support of the plan.
Craig Compton, Green Diamond’s land management and business development manager, said the easement would be situated “upstream and adjacent to the southern boundary of Redwood National Park, within the Redwood Creek basin.”
The easement would also make way for a trail along Redwood Creek, Compton added. “It’s the view of the park that that this will add some additional protection for park resources,” he said.
Answering questions from Supervisor Mark Lovelace, who noted a lack of written information, Compton said there are no plans to change the way his company is logging. “The fact that it’s located within the Park Protection Zone really focuses our efforts,” he continued. “It’s a fit for the park.”
The Trust for Public Land wants the zone to remain a “working forest,” said Compton, and “not having additional protections is not something that’s going to prevent this project from moving forward.”
Supervisor Rex Bohn noted that talk of land trusts and conservation easements generally put some people off but he described the easement an ideal arrangement. “The property still stays in private hands,” he said. “It’s still going to be a private entity, you’re just going to be able to get public access along the creek and it’s still going to be a working forest.”
Supervisors directed county staff to prepare a resolution in support of the easement plan and it’s up for approval at this week’s meeting on March 26.