Wal-Mart protects California forest
May 3, 2006
Last week Wal-Mart announced a $1 million grant to the Pacific Forest Trust to protect 9,200 acres for forest in Northern California near the towns of McCloud and Pondosa.
The grant — supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation — will be used in conjunction with funds from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to connect 2.1 million acres of protected forestlands in the Klamath-Cascade region.
According to a release from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the grant is the “largest working forest conservation easement granted by a private forest owner in the state and first to include lands owned and managed by a major commercial timberland interest.”
Under the terms of the easements, lands will remain accessible for public recreation and sustainable timber harvests will be permitted to continue. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation says that the plan will “prevent development, protect water quality and fisheries, sustain critical wildlife habitat and provide recreational access to the popular McCloud Falls and Pacific Coast Trail — all while supporting the landowner’s forestry and the local economy.”
Photo by R. Butler
“This partnership is more than just a creative approach to conservation, it is an important step that will deliver lasting benefits to the McCloud region’s wildlife habitat, water quality and the economic vitality of the surrounding communities,” said California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman. “Wal-Mart’s support through Acres for America’s is helping to ensure that major conservation easements like this one are always an option for preserving our natural resources.”
To date, Wal-Mart Stores has committed $35 million over 10 years to the Acres for America program. The world’s largest retailer has agreed to “permanently conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every developed acre of Wal-Mart Stores’ current footprint, as well as the company’s future development throughout the 10-year commitment.” Wall-Mart is the first time a firm has tied its footprint to land conservation.
According to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the McCloud forestlands are the most biodiverse coniferous forest in the world with more than 250 species of wildlife including the bald eagle, pileated woodpecker, silver-haired bat, northern flying squirrel, northern goshawk, and the imperiled redband trout. The forest is located in the headwaters of the Sacramento River and plays a key role in protecting the river’s water quality and flows for the native salmon population.
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This article is uses quotes and excerpts from news release from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.