Learning from the past for a more sustainable future.



Current Conservation Project

THE MISSION OF THE RAINBOW RIDGE PROJECT is to restore the forests of the Mattole River’s two largest tributaries in a comprehensive effort to reverse climate change, resurrect native plant and animal species, and protect vulnerable treasures such as the remaining redwoods of the Eel River watershed.

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HRC’s "Sustainable Forestry" is Destroying Rainbow Ridge’s Rich Biodiversity

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What’s At Stake and Why we need to Protect Rainbow Ridge

a video by the Lost Coast League 2016

"... You can feel the wildness and vibrancy in it's untamed landscape. Rainbow Ridge and the Forests of the Mattole Valley holds an important place in our hearts."

Michael Muir

John Muir's Great-Grandson

— advocate of wild places

& Executive Director of Access Adventure


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December 15, 2020

Mattole Elders Exonerated

Humboldt Court Dismisses All Charges

Lost Coast League's Jane Lapiner, David Simpson, Ellen Taylor and Michael Evenson were cleared of all wrong-doing from when they appeared at the logging gates to dissuade loggers from cutting down Northern Spotted Owl habitat in June of 2019.  The arrests were some of the first in a long time for defenders of Rainbow Ridge.  However, Mattole residents have been defending these forests since the mid 1980s when it became apparent that they contained some of the last remaining intact landscape in the watershed.


The Humboldt County judge dismissed the Lost Coast League Elders at the request of the District Attorney.  In fact, the DA had no case because the Four were defending public trust resources that were being harmed on HRC's private lands by their logging.

Also today, the USFWS has determined that the owl is not merely Threatened, but the population has dwindled due to the logging of their special, mature forest habitat, to become Endangered under the ESA.  As the Lost Coast League has maintained over the years, the forests of Rainbow Ridge are clearly High Conservation Value Forests, deserving of special protective measures under the FSC rules that HRC operates within.

The dismissal against the Mattole Four was the subject of Pacifica Radio's FlashPoints interview December 16, 2020.  Listen here.









November 11, 2020

Bear River Band Perform Salmon Ceremony

at the Mattole Beach

First Ceremony since 1902


With cooperation from the Lost Coast League and the Bureau of Land Management King Range National Conservation Area, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria gathered at the mouth of the Mattole River at an historic village site to welcome the salmon massing offshore to spawn in the Mattole.  This historic occasion was attended by over 200 Bear River members and Mattole residents, all practicing strict Covid precautions as approved by the Humboldt County Health Department. 


For all Participants, it was a heartfelt joining together of the two communities.  The residents welcomed the Bear River Tribe back to their ancestral territory after residents of the 1850s had committed unspeakable crimes against them.  And the Tribe thanked the residents for stewarding the watershed these past 40 years with their robust salmon restoration effort.









Listen to the Participants

Speak at the Occasion.

Read more about this historic event.

KMUD Interview
00:00 / 28:44

Dear Supporters of Rainbow Ridge,

Back in 2018, the Lost Coast League, along with leading conservation organizations, and over 100 of you, filed a Formal Complaint challenging Humboldt Redwood Company’s “Certified Sustainable” status, the ultimate stamp of approvals for logging companies. The Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria and the WIyot Tribe have now joined in the effort to preserve sacred sites and the High Conservation Value Forests of Rainbow Ridge.  The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification (doled out by inspectors whose funding now comes from Big Timber,) allows Humboldt Redwood Company to market their products as sustainable and eco- friendly.  After a dense legalistic procedure, the Investigation concluded that our concerns had “merit.”  They required that HRC, before logging any more,  come up with (1) a plan for designating areas of High Conservation Value Forest (parts of the forest with greater environmental importance that would be protected from the logging) and (2) a plan to phase out the use of herbicides.  However, before completing any of those requirements, HRC began logging in mature forests which contained Northern spotted owls and other endangered wildlife species.  The Forest Stewardship Council simply looked the other way.


The League demanded that Humboldt Redwood Company cease activity immediately until they fulfilled their obligations to FSC.  Instead, HRC hired camo-clad, weapons equipped para-military personnel, veterans of the Mid-East wars, to harass and endanger forest defenders and tree sitters.  The League appealed to FSC to issue an emergency halt until the dispute was adjudicated.  They were deaf to those pleas.  The logging went on despite violations of FSC rules and numerous injuries to forest defenders who were putting their lives on the line to protect the trees.  The League lodged a Formal Complaint.


The Appeal process is yet another bureaucratic labyrinth, and it has taken FSC over a year to start looking into Humboldt Redwood Company’s violations.  FSC also demanded that the League sign a confidentiality agreement with an indemnification clause.  This would allow HRC to take us to court for revealing details of the Appeal, and sue for monetary damages, creating an Appeal process with no transparency and in which the complaining entity could be subject to financial ruin by the logging company as decided by FSC’s court in Germany! It would have been like putting one’s head in a noose for complaining about the brutality of the hangman. 


The Appeal has dragged on with no investigation.  Now, due to Covid concerns, the Appeal board cannot travel to the US to validate the facts that were already approved in our original Formal Complaint.  Meanwhile HRC is logging rare, old forests.


Humboldt Redwood Company, along with companies such as the The Gap, Banana Republic, and the Oakland A’s, are owned by the Fisher Family, billionaires who, knowingly or not, have exploited the people around them, covering for the damage they cause with philanthropic ploys. Now they are acting to destroy the beautiful, irreplaceable forests of the Mattole.


At this critical juncture the forest needs your support. 


Please write FSC at ( and HRC ( and cc to <>  Tell them to stop all logging on Rainbow Ridge until a valid, transparent Appeal from the Lost Coast League is heard.  Remind them that the Indigenous Tribes of this land want those lands to remain mature forests and prairies for their critical cultural and wildlife values. 


Unless FSC hears from you, they will never stand up to HRC.  One of the planet’s premier carbon sequestering forests and its wildlife is at risk of being logged beyond recovery, by a company that proudly wears the badge of environmentally- friendly forestry.  Petition to unmask HRC for what it really is: yet another example of a Green washing exploitation of everyone’s environment. This is not eco-friendly logging. This is not “sustainable”.


At the Madrid UN Climate Conference in 2019, a panel discussed this failure of FSC to uphold Sustainable standards on Rainbow Ridge.     Watch the public presentation.

July 2020

Lost Coast League Responds to HRC's Denial of the High Conservation Values of Rainbow Ridge in their Assessment

The Following are excerpts from our Comments to HRC July 31, 2020

The Assessment has failed to identify the greater Rainbow Ridge area as HCVF.  The ownership on Rainbow Ridge as an entity deserves HCVF status, as we have advocated in the past (

 and to which we supplied an abundance of peer-reviewed literature and expert opinion.  Please incorporate all the expert testimony found in those documents in this Review.  Limiting HCVF status to a small 200+ acre plot fails to recognize the rare and valuable biodiversity of adjacent lands. 

Remote Sensing confirms Rainbow Ridge area in Mattole merits HCVF Designation

Put simply, areas where the landscape has not been industrially managed is where you find the rare and important species – the high conservation values (also known as Public Trust Values as embodied in CEQA or the “beneficial uses of water” criteria employed by the California State Water Resources Control Board).  An intact High Conservation Value landscape in the Mattole is nowhere more prevalent than in the Companies’ Upper and Lower North Forks lands.  This was found to be true by the Mattole Restoration Council as early as 1988.  This organization completed an aerial photograph analysis of the watershed.  The area escaped the post WW2 logging boom, owing to its remoteness, steepness and mix of hardwoods and conifers (thus yielding less profit to the timber companies who held it and basically let it be).  The 1988 analysis has been confirmed today using the latest USGS LiDAR data.


The USGS took LiDAR data in 2019 and provided it to the public ((33371_USGS_NoCal_LiDAR_ProjectReport.pdf).  The following discussion is based upon analysis of that data.  We focus on the Lower North Fork off Rainbow Ridge.

The images below feature the Mattole and Bear River Watersheds, outlined in orange.

As you zoom into the LiDAR maps, above, you see that the dark red areas are everywhere on this section of Rainbow Ridge.  These are the oldest and tallest trees as sensed from the air.  These are the areas that were never logged and where the wildlife and ecological integrity of the landscape abound.  This is what HRC targets to remove.  In the place of this High Conservation Value Forest, HRC promises to allow trees to grow old in the stream courses (above in white).

However, you can see that the stream courses often do not have tall old trees.  Past logging has caused landslides which have eroded those areas, well below the logging area, in places HRC foresters and California State Agencies never go.  The Lost Coast League has requested they visit the sites so they can learn how logging has de-stabilized this steep, erodible ground.  Perhaps they don't want to see for themselves what a mess they've made.  Their claim is that they protect the "beneficial uses of water" as per the law, but they don't have to live in these streams like the endangered salmon.

Coastal Redwood Trees


Earth's tallest tree! They date back to the Jurassic period. However, since the industrial revolution, less than 5% of these magnificent beauties remain from heavy logging. 


of Northern California 


— a remote area of critical biological importance, rich with: 

Old Growth Douglas Fir


can live for 1200 years providing 

important habitat for such sensitive species as the Spotted Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, and the endangered Bald Eagle. 



rare and endangered salmon, Steelhead, Goshawks, Golden Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, Western Pond Turtles, Pacific Giant Salamanders, Red-legged Frogs, Tailed Frogs, Southern Torrent Salamanders, Red Tree voles & the Pacific Fisher live on the Lost Coast.

Majestic Low Altitude Video of the Mattole River Estuary taken by Chad Smith, Fisherman, in March 2014; courtesy of the Mattole Salmon Group (

In these times of uncertainty and potential climate disaster, it is the responsibility of every human community to protect and restore and provide stewardship for their own part of the planet.

Studies have revealed that the forests of the Pacific Northwest are capable of storing carbon more efficiently than the “Lungs of the Planet” in the Amazon rainforests.  The Rainbow Project has as a primary purpose the protection of the remaining ancient trees on these ridges, and limiting the extraction of younger trees to the sole purpose of facilitating recovery.

Protecting these coastal Douglas-fir trees will also provide a vital buffer for the neighboring giant redwoods of the Eel River valley, also powerful carbon fixers, and now noticeably climate stressed.

As well as a source of planetary regeneration, we aspire to see the forests as a source of human knowledge where scientists and artists can study geology, hydrology and biological phenomena, and where artists can find inspiration to bring peace and well-being to the world.


Lost Coast League would like to thank these individuals and groups who recently signed-on to support Rainbow Ridge Forest preservation efforts:

  • Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria

  • Wiyot Tribe

  • Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)

  • Mattole Salmon Group

  • Professor Reed Noss - University of Central Florida 

  • Michael Muir - John Muir's Great-grandson and Executive Director of Access Adventure & Anywhere Wild 

  • Julia Butterfly -Circle of Life Foundation

  • Greg King -Siskiyou Land Conservancy

  • Chipp Tittman- President of Institute for Sustainable Forestry

  • Jerry Martien- Friends of Elk River

  • C.J. Ralph- Redwood Region Audubon and Klamath Bird Observatory

  • Edwin Smith- The Tribal Council of the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria 

  • Karen Pickett- Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters

  • Dr. Richard WidickOrfalea Center for Global & International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara


Thank you for your endorsement! 

The forests of the Rainbow Project used to abound in many species of plants and animals, many of which have become rare, endangered or have vanished completely. Our aspiration is to restore the habitat for these species in the hopes that they will return and in the knowledge that species cannot survive isolated, especially under the stresses of climate change, to provide a corridor along which they may migrate, extending from the coast at the Mendocino Triple Junction to the King Range and inland to the redwood groves and Gilham Butte, much of which is protected wilderness.


We want to restore the integrity and stability of the Mattole’s two largest tributaries which several decades ago were renowned for their spectacular runs of anadromous fish.


“Mattole,” in the indigenous language of our valley, means “Clear Water” and we want to make it so.


It is well known that the forests of the world still harbor many secrets which can benefit life sciences such as medicine and biology and offer inspiration in other fields.



Rainbow Ridge: The Heart of the Mattole Valley

The Mattole Valley spans from the Humboldt Redwoods State Park to the Kings Range National Conservation Area and from the Sinkyone State Park to the Mattole Beach within the Kings Range National Conservation Area (KRNCA). In the heart of these majestic areas stands Rainbow Ridge. 


The photo below was taken near Rainbow Ridge looking out onto the Mattole watershed.

Peer to the furthest mountain range of this photo and you will see the Kings Range. You will also see clear cuts, high up on steep mountain slopes, a few stands of old growth trees, but mainly second growth and third growth forests that the Lost Coast League and other local organizations are continually trying to restore and bring back from previous logging destruction.  

Rainbow Ridge Map 

Rainbow Ridge is highlighted in the salmon color below. Dark green areas signify important stands of critically endangered old growth trees.

Protection of Rainbow Ridge would be a huge win for conservation efforts everywhere! Not only is it an area of significant biological value, but it will help complete the efforts to reconnect the Redwoods to the Sea, provide a regional conservation zone for threatened and endangered species, and help to create ecological sustainabilty for generations to come.

About the Lost Coast League

"The battle we have fought, and are still fighting, for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it. ... So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for."

John Muir

The Lost Coast League is a grassroots organization made up of working professionals. Collectively we believe that conserving what is left of our old growth forests—and restoring the vast majority of lands that have already been damaged—is important not only for our local ecosystem, but for the global community as well.


The Lost Coast is home to a vast number of plant and animal species indigenous and only found in the Pacific Northwest. We work closely with board members and consultants from other local non-profit organizations to restore and protect this unique area. Some of these organizations include the Middle Mattole Conservancy, Friends of Gilham Butte, Ancient Forrest International (AFI), Save the Redwoods League, The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), The Mattole Restoration Council (MRC), The Mattole Salmon Group, and Sanctuary Forrest. We give many thanks to the many important members who continue to support the efforts of the League over the years. Please search our site for past work created by our many members; you'll find letters, articles, and other projects that focus on conservation awareness.  


Some of our key members active in the efforts to conserve 18,000 acres of forest on Rainbow Ridge include:


Concerned PA-C, parent & active community member


Arborist, Attorney, Member of EPIC Board of Directors

Owner of Lost Coast Ranch &



Mattole Salmon Group 


Fisheries biologist


Conservation consultant & concerened parent


Jane is director of Human Nature Theater Company. David co-founded the Mattole Salmon Group & served as president of Institute for Sustainable Forestry

The Lost Coast League's Vision

The Lost Coast of Northern California is one of the most precious ecosystems on Earth. Together, the neighboring lands of the ancient redwood forest, the Mattole watershed, the Kings Range National Conservation Area, and the Sinkyone Wilderness have the ability to sequester more carbon than most any other forested region on earth!


The Lost Coast League, deeply rooted in the principles of preservation and restoration, is here to help ensure this regions longevity; saving this "timberland" is critical. Founded in the 1970's to help create wilderness designation for the Kings Peak area, the League indignantly organized demonstrations against the agencies who failed to protect these values; League members sat in trees, blocked roads, and even got arrested. To this day we are a community based organization. We are a diverse group of local citizens, active parties from other organizations, concerned citizens, global volunteers and supporters. 


The Lost Coast League is currently working to preserve the 18,000 acres in danger of being harvested by the Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC). These 18,000 acres are highlighted in salmon color on the Rainbow Ridge Map above. As the map shows: Rainbows Ridge's connectivity to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and its close proximity to the Kings Range National Conservation Area, could be critical in maintaining the structural health of this rare biological area.


What does it mean to "Save the Best and Restore the Rest"?  "Saving" the few remaining, untouched, old growth forests, is of great ecological importance. We need to protect vital ecosystems and maintain habitat for endangered species, reliant on these specific forests for their survival. Meanwhile, the work we do "restoring" root systems and canopies to second & third growth forests, and stabilizing damaged watersheds to prevent flooding, landslides, and cumulatively impacted rivers, also has great importance to bring back ecological balance between the few remaining old growth areas of northern California's Lost Coast. 

"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness"


John Muir




1. a collection of people, countries, or groups that combine for a particular purpose, typically mutual protection or cooperation.   


As in "The League of Nations".


Address:  P.O. BOX 60 Petrolia, Ca 95558



For any other inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:





The unique biological and geological diversity of the Lost Coast can be tracked through its dynamic weather patterns. Click here to locate these towns that have biological linkages to Rainbow Ridge view the map above; notice how there can be more than a 10 degree difference of temperature, winds blow in from different directions at different speeds, and humidity can have more than a 40% variance on any given day. 



From weather patterns to geography, our area is truly unique. The limited amount of remaining old growth and diversity of the area allow the Lost Coast the ability to sequester more carbon than most any other forest on Earth. Please help us to Save Rainbow Ridge by signing-on here. 


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