Such collaboration between loggers and conservationists might have been unthinkable back in the early 1990s, when redwood-related violence struck the small communities of northern California. Today, Fay says, that confrontation has mellowed, and many loggers want to preserve the forests as much as conservationists.
Almost as evidence, on the final day of their trek, Fay and Holm were trying to track down the northernmost redwood. They had crossed the California line the day before and walked into Oregon’s Chetco Valley. As Fay tells it, a logger drives up, and “It turns out he’s the son-in-law of the guy who owns like 250,000 acres in southern Oregon. So we’re bullshitting with him for an hour or so, and I say, ‘So you got all the land up here, right?’
“And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been logging it for the last 27 years, and I know every frickin’ little spot in this forest.’
“And I’m like, ‘Any redwoods out here?’
“And he’s like, ‘Nope. Not one. You see that spot down there? That is exactly where they end.’”
After nearly a year in the forest, the biologist and the activist relied on a logger to complete their quest. A more fitting end—or better yet, beginning—is difficult to imagine.