Early Activism

School Children Petition Preservation of California's Redwoods

Many groups petitioned the government to protect the giant Redwoods. The petition featured in this article came from 1,400 school children in Eureka, CA in 1908. Their request did not result in any action by the government, but caught enough attention to be published in the Journal of Education.

Commercial logging of the redwoods began in the 1850s. Early evidence shows some congressional efforts to conserve the redwoods at this time, but these requests went largely unheeded until the 20th century.

In 1918 the Save-the-Redwoods League became one of the earliest organized conservation groups to make headway with preserving these giants. After seeing the magnitude of the destruction along the Coast Highway, conservationists John C. Merriam, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn started the league. On 13 November 1913, the Daily Humboldt Standard announced that the members of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs had created a Save-the-Redwoods League branch in Humboldt County.

Four Women Pose by Save the Redwoods League Banner Displayed on an Auto

Pictured are Mrs. A.J. Monroe, Mrs. Harpst, Mrs. Atkinson, Mrs. Ella T, and driver Frank Silence. These women were most likely at an early Save-the-Redwoods League rally.

With efforts from the Save-the-Redwoods League, as well as some other activists’ efforts, three early acquisitions were made in the 1920s to preserve portions of the remaining old-growth forest, Jedidiah Smith, Del Norte, and Prairie Creek Redwood Parks, these parks would later be considered in the creation of a National Park. It was during the 1920s and 30s that most of the Redwood Forest we know today would be purchased and perserved. 

The league produced this film in 1927