It’s a brand new year, and with it comes the inevitable New Year’s resolutions. Like many people, I plan to eat a healthier diet and exercise more (sure, and let’s see how long I last!). Besides those, here are some resolutions I might actually keep:
1. I will visit three new redwood forests.
My work at the League takes me to some pretty incredible redwood forests, from the canyons of Big Sur to the floodplains of the Eel River. There’s always more to see, and this year I hope to visit at least three forests I’ve never seen, starting with these:
Siskiyou National Forest: Yes, there are redwoods in Oregon! Siskiyou National Forest, about 8 miles north of the California border near the town of Brookings, is home to the northernmost (native) redwood forest in the world. While its trees may not quite match up to the superlative size of their relatives south of the state line, they’re really impressive nonetheless. With climate change potentially shifting where redwoods will grow in the future, how long will this forest be the farthest north?
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park: One of the farthest inland coast redwood parks, Grizzly Creek is also one of the least visited. A trip here, especially on a weekday, may well mean being the only visitor in the forest. Solitude is sometimes hard to find in the redwoods, but Grizzly Creek is almost a sure thing.
Freeman Grove: Flanking the beautiful creek of the same name, Freeman Grove is one of the largest giant sequoia forests never to have been disturbed by roads or logging. The grove can be found in the southern part of Giant Sequoia National Monument, and its 6.5 square miles contains some 800 giants. Despite its size and number of trees, the Freeman Creek is thought to be one of the ‘youngest’ of the ancient sequoia groves (possibly clocking in at less than 1,000 years old).
2. I will find out where my wood comes from.
When I buy eggs, I try to make sure they’re free-range, so that I know that the chickens are treated well (or at least better than battery hens). When I buy coffee, I check for the “fair trade” logo in order to support a living wage for small growers. This year I’m going to make a greater effort to make sure the wood products I buy – the lumber, the furniture, the paper – comes from well-managed forests.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for the FSC logo. FSC is an organization that certifies forestland and the manufacturers that process wood as supporting sustainable, responsible forestry. Its goals are admirable, and its methods (which some justifiably question) are as good as it gets right now.
3. I will learn more about mushrooms.
Or, more accurately, about fungi. When I see a mushroom peeping up among the duff and sorrel on the forest floor, I know that it is but the tiny fruiting body of a vast underground organism, and that these organisms make it possible for the redwood forests to be as productive and majestic as any on Earth. But that’s about it. I don’t know which fungi are related to which, the animals that use them for food or shelter, or even which fungi are delicious and which are poisonous. There is a lot about the forest that I don’t know, but fungi are probably what I know the least about and I plan to change that.
What redwood resolutions will you make in the New Year? Leave a comment and let us know!