Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Loving the Redwoods to Death

Photo by Max Foster, in  Redwoods MagazineBrett Silver, California State Parks Acting Sector Superintendent, points to the base of a Titan where visitors have stripped vegetation and exposed the gigantic tree’s roots.
It's difficult to convey the redwoods' majesty and mystique in a mere children's book. Based on reviews of The Forest in the Trees, I think responses have a lot to do with whether or not readers have actually experienced them. Folks in redwood country love it--for others it's apparently just OK. Only 10% of Americans have ever seen a big redwood up close. And maybe that's for the best.

Visitors have created unofficial trails and trampled plants in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park to get to the Grove of Titans, some of the largest and oldest coast redwoods. Researchers stumbled upon the grove in 1998, and people eventually learned the location despite efforts to protect the area by keeping it secret. The network of trails is compacting the soil, exposing the root systems and creating a host of other serious problems.
"In response, Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, the National Park Service, and Redwood Parks Conservancy have partnered to mitigate the damage and ongoing threats to the Grove of Titans, while allowing for an unforgettable experience in this magnificent grove. Work will begin in the fall of 2019 to remove unsanctioned trails and rehabilitate the damaged habitat and compacted and eroding soil. The project will also include construction of elevated walkways to and around the grove to guide visitors safely without damaging the understory, and installation of restrooms and trash receptacles along Howland Hill Road. In addition, interpretive materials and signage will tell the story of the grove’s restoration, the ecosystem’s sensitivity, and the global importance of this truly special place." - Redwoods Magazine, Spring/Summer 2019 

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