big river


Sunrise over Big River.
(Photo by John Birchard Photography)

Big River was not named for the size of the river, but for the size of the trees that were along its banks.


We Did It! Big River is Ours!

The Big River now belongs to the people of California. Heartfelt thanks go out to all of our generous Friends of the Woodlands’ contributors that enabled MWCA to donate over $30,000 to the Mendocino Land Trust. This money, along with the $26 million in public and private funds raised by the tireless work and dedication of the folks at Mendocino Land Trust and Michael Lebeau of the Trust for Wildland Communities, allowed the purchase to proceed. Also, Big River’s 7,400 acres of watershed and estuary was rated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as one of the top four conservation projects under its jurisdiction and so awarded $1 million towards the purchase.

Big River’s watershed comprises some of the best timber ground on the planet. And the river and its estuary also are fantastically rich, a haven for 22 species of fish and 131 species of bird, including several that are rare or threatened.

As you can see on the map below, the Big River is an integral part of the Woodlands’ environs. It abuts us on our southern border and follows the ridge top of the southern section of the Special Treatment Area (STA). This purchase was a crucial first step in our ongoing effort to save the Woodlands’ water-shed and surroundings from future degradation. Next, the Trust hopes to buy the remaining 9,700 Big River acres (see light area at right of map), part of which we hope will become a land trade that will include the STA surrounding the Woodlands. Check this page periodically for updates on the next purchase.
Meanwhile, we can now hike from the Woodlands all the way to the Pacific Ocean without leaving State Parks property. Please enjoy and preserve this hard-won addition to the Parks.