As you might expect, we at Save the Redwoods League think about the redwoods, well, a lot. We are immersed in our world of redwoods conservation, education, research, and you name it. Many of us are fortunate to be out in the field a lot and know the parks of the redwood range like the backs of our hands. I think this was partly why I enjoyed a recent Conde Nast Traveler China article (thanks, Google translate!) about the redwoods so much. Reading the perspective of someone who has never seen a redwood forest, I got to vicariously experience the redwoods for the first time again. I wanted to share “Close Encounters with Coastal Giants” with you, so that you can enjoy it, too.
The article shares why people around the world love California’s redwoods and makes it very easy to understand why Redwood National Park is recommended as the number-one destination to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Parks Service.
As author Dana Poblete relates her once-in-a-lifetime experience of exploring the redwoods for the first time, the author shares her perspective on why people are still moved to protect and experience the redwoods today. She journeys from the Bay Area north to Humboldt County, and on to Redwood National and State Parks, meeting rangers and locals along the way. Of Humboldt she says, “It’s a captivating place, for sure — as mythical and mystical of a forest as you’d find in fiction, or the most exotic corners of the world in real life.”
Poblete’s trip contained echoes of another road trip nearly 100 years ago, when the soon-to-be-founders of the League drove north for the first time in 1917. Like her, they were awed, and moved to act. And on Poblete’s trip, she got to see and experience the tangible results of their efforts and the conservation movement they sparked.
The moments of wonder and inspiration that Poblete relates are happening in our redwood parks every hour of every day. Occasionally we get to read about them, but usually they are recorded only in the hearts and memories of those who explore these ancient forests.
Whether you dream of someday visiting California’s redwoods or you’re a regular in these forests, reading this piece will help you see the forest with new eyes. And you may learn some new things about the natural and cultural history of these incredible places.
A version of this was published in Conde Nast Traveler China’s March 2016 issue, in honor of the U.S. National Parks Service’s centennial. You can read the English-language version here.
Then, listen to this talk I gave at the Commonwealth Club of California: Save the Redwoods League and 21st-Century Land Conservation. In it, I explain how the iconic California redwoods catalyzed the nation’s conservation movement a century ago, and are now redefining our 21st-century relationship with nature. Let me know what you think!