Tag Archives: National Seashore

Redwood National and State Parks: Across a Bridge and Up the Coast to a Hidden Beach

Gold Bluffs Beach, Redwoods National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks protect over 138,000 acres of far northern California coast, old growth Redwood groves, second growth coastal forest, and watersheds large and small, including the mouth of the Klamath River. Interest in protecting the fantastic groves began in earnest with the creation of the Save the Redwoods League in 1918 (only two years after the creation of the Park Service). In a pattern that mirrors the creation of Indiana Dunes National Park, first National Park Service director, Stephen Mather, was involved in some of the early protection efforts, but corporate lumber interests blocked creation of a National Park. Also like Indiana Dunes, the state stepped in, creating four California State Parks in the late 1920s and early 1930s to protect the trees: Jedediah Smith State Park, Del Norte Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and (a bit further south) Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Again like Indiana Dunes, federal protection would not come until the 1960s when Redwood National Park was established by Congress in partnership with the Johnson administration. Ten years later, in 1978, 48,000 acres were added to Redwood National Park to protect the watershed of Redwood Creek before it entered the Park. Unlike Indiana Dunes, in 1994, the administrative functions of the National Park and the three northernmost state parks were combined.

Journeying from San Francisco to Redwood National Park was our adventure for Tuesday, September 10. It’s a long drive (some five and a half hours) even going the most direct route. We intended though, to take the opportunity to drive up the California coast on Highway 1. This would at least double the driving time. But here the journey was absolutely the destination.

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Detour: Point Reyes National Seashore

California2016-2-122

Coyote

It was the early afternoon of Friday, August 12 as Sean and I made our way up the California coast north from Muir Woods National Monument and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to Point Reyes National Seashore. Established in 1962 to prevent impending development, the National Seashore protects over 71,000 acres of the California coast as a patchwork of federally-designated wilderness and “pastoral” lands used by ranchers. The Seashore comprises most of a huge, roughly triangular peninsula, Point Reyes, which sits on the eastern edge of the Pacific Plate, while the adjacent mainland is at the edge of the North American Plate. The two plates are separated where the peninsula connects to the mainland by the San Andreas Fault.

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