Dancing rangers, dunk tanks at Prairie Creek birthday bash

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP celebrates 100 years as a redwoods icon

A century may be no big deal to a 2,000-year-old redwood tree. But for us humans, a 100-year anniversary calls for one heck of a party. On August 26th, Save the Redwoods League staff joined more than a thousand fellow redwoods fans for a centennial celebration at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The park’s 100th birthday party featured a variety of activities, including ranger-guided walks, face-painting, dunk tanks, food trucks, and of course the famed “BioBlitz” dance, led by naturalist Griff Griffin. Special programs offered throughout the day included an accessibility walk through the forest with David’s Chair, a Spanish bilingual walk, historic visitor center tours, and trolley tours on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.

People ride in an electric all-terrain chair through Prairie Creek Redwoods.
Special programs included an accessibility walk with David’s Chair, an electric all-terrain track chair to assist visitors with mobility challenges in exploring the old-growth forests of Prairie Creek Redwoods SP. Photo courtesy of California State Parks.
A person prepares to throw a ball at a dunk tank
Long lines formed to dunk a few key players from the Prairie Creek event, including District Superintendent Victor Bjelajac. Courtesy California State Parks.
A woman with a microphone talks next to a banner showing a California condor.
Tiana Williams Claussen, Director of the Yurok Wildlife Department, led a discussion on California condors, whose native range includes the North Coast redwood forests. Last year, members of the Yurok tribe reintroduced young condors in the coastal redwood ecosystem and their ancestral lands. Photo by Max Forster.

A star (park) is born

One hundred years ago, Save the Redwoods League played a key role in securing an initial land donation of 160 acres from Zipporah Russ, a local businesswoman and community leader in Humboldt County. With this single gift, Prairie Creek Redwoods got its start.

This was way back in 1923, before there was even an official California State Parks system. It was the need to protect and steward incredible places like Prairie Creek that inspired the formation of California State Parks in 1927. Five years later, the League helped secure more than 4,000 additional acres for Prairie Creek—an expansion  that really put the park on the map as a world-class redwoods destination. The League has since contributed more than 16,000 acres to the state park for permanent protection and public enjoyment.

Today, Prairie Creek Redwoods is one of the most popular destinations within Redwood National and State Parks, home to old-growth giants along James Irvine Trail, the lush wonderland of Fern Canyon, impressive herds of Roosevelt elk, and the crashing waves of Gold Bluff Beach. The birthday bash may have come and gone, but there is still so much more to celebrate.

Two staff members with Save the Redwoods League talk with visitors at a display table
Attendees stop to talk redwoods with Jessica Carter and Paul Ringgold of Save the Redwoods League. Photo by Max Forster.

About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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