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COAST TO COAST : Walden Goes West

April 04, 1993|Jim McKairnes

In the latest strategy in his effort to save Walden Woods from development, singer-songwriter Don Henley has come up with a new tactic: ship the woods to California.

OK, that's not exactly the plan. It's true that Henley's Boston-based Walden Woods Project has been involved in selling saplings born of seeds from the tract of land made famous by Henry David Thoreau. But it was only this spring that the growers had enough trees that met California's agricultural pest standards. More than 10,000 Walden trees have already been planted nationwide, and 300 of them were used in fire-ravaged Oakland.

The Walden fund-raising effort is administered by Global ReLeaf, an arm of the conservation group American Forests, which sells saplings from trees with historic roots, such as a black walnut from Abraham Lincoln's birthplace, a tulip poplar planted by George Washington at Mount Vernon and sycamores grown from seeds that went to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971.

"American Forests and its Famous and Historic Trees program was a natural for us," says Henley, whose group is now at a stalemate over the sale price of a portion of the woods owned by developers.

Global ReLeaf offers Walden red maples, river birches, tatarian honeysuckles and weeping willows for $35 (plus $7 shipping). And with this being Earth Month, Walden trees are being offered to radio and TV stations across the country as promotional giveaways.

Henley has a Walden red maple at his Benedict Canyon home. "It's doing OK," he reports. "The maples especially are beautiful in the fall. They really liven up the place."

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