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Giant Thoughts

This is a place for personal insights into our work by Save the Redwoods League leaders. You can explore posts by category: It Takes a Forest SM focuses on League project and program updates; Off the Beaten Path gets you into the redwood forest; Redwoods Futures illuminates the issues affecting our redwood forests; and The Eighth Wonders explores the art, education, and science of the redwood forests. Please join the conversation by posting your stories and comments.

Pleasant Surprises at Portola Redwoods State Park

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Whenever we decide to go hiking, we always do research to find out a bit about the park first. Just little things such as location, how long it will take us to get there, accessibility, and, of course, what the weather will be like. In doing so, we will often come across interesting facts such as trees of some notoriety, but our number one criterion is the variety of trails because it does no good to go to a park if there are no trails suitable for me to hike. For these reasons, Portola Redwoods State Park fit our criteria.

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An endangered California condor keeps protective watch over its chick in a nesting cave. Photo: John Brandt/USFWS

Condor Chick Signals Hope for the Future

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This summer proved to be momentous for the recovery of the California condor. Joe Burnett and Amy List, biologists at Ventana Wildlife Society, located the nest of two condors, #538 and #574, inside a hollowed-out coast redwood in Big Sur. Over the years Burnett watched these two birds, nicknamed Miracle and Nomad, as they fledged and grew up in the wild. Now, they’re raising their own chick — the first chick, since the 1980s, born to parents who were not raised in captivity.

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Aiden Conway visit the redwood forest for the first time.

My First Encounter with the Giants

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The fresh, salty air hung heavy as I wound my way south along the coastal highway with expansive vistas of the Pacific Ocean stretching across and meeting the blue sky infinitely far away. I’m on my way to see the giants I’d dreamed about since I was a kid. Could it be true? Entire cars driving through a tunnel in a tree trunk? No way.

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Latino Conservation Week 2017. Photo courtesy of Hispanic Access Foundation

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity in the Sequoia

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On July 15-16, 2017, Latino Conservation Week was in full swing and we had the privilege to participate in visiting this beautiful national park with a group of city youth, young adults and youth leaders ranging from different backgrounds and ages from Los Angeles.

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A glimpse of a mountain lion caught by wildlife cameras on the San Vicente property.

A Mountain Lion’s Perspective: Humans are Terrifying

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A few years ago, Justine Smith, a researcher with the Santa Cruz Puma Project, observed an interesting pattern; in human-populated areas, mountain lions killed more prey but spent less time feeding. Researchers weren’t sure why, but they suspected it had to do with lions’ fear of people.

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Photo by Tom Burke, Flickr Creative Commons

5 Sweet Swimming Holes Under the Redwoods

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Hiking and swimming go together like a hot meal and a cool drink — one is invigorating, the other is refreshing. Together, they make a wonderful combo. So, where are some great places to go swimming under the redwoods, you might ask? Here are five great recommendations for you. Dive right in!

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California State Parks protects 280 parks statewide, like Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Ginny Dexter.

The Transformation of California State Parks

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With 280 parks across 1.6 million acres, hosting more than 74 million visitors last fiscal year alone, California is one of the largest state park systems in the United States. In a focused and comprehensive effort to keep these world-class parks open and thriving, seasoned leaders from California State Parks and outside entities helped plan for and implement 60 ambitious initiatives, from a new state-of-the-art reservation system to increased protections and improvements for the parks statewide. Here are just some of the improvements for redwood state parks.

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Giant sequoia in North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, California. Photo by age fotostock / Alamy

Excellent Half-Day Redwood Hikes

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Summer is here, and we’ve got daylight hours to burn. Even with a busy schedule, you can take a day trip before the sun goes down. Here are recommendations for three excellent half-day redwood hikes. Enjoy!

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José González, Executive Director of Latino Outdoors. Photo by Jordan Bloch, Earthjustice

José González Promotes Discovery in the Outdoors

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Outdoor adventure is often characterized as a highly idiosyncratic pursuit, one that engages a single individual with the challenges of nature. That’s all well and good, but José González, the founding Executive Director of Latino Outdoors, promotes another perspective: connecting communities and families with the power and beauty of the planet’s wild places.

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How to Find Awesome Dog-Friendly Redwood Hikes

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For many of us, dogs are treated less like pets and more like family. It only feels natural to bring our dogs—with their cute, wagging tails and unbounded enthusiasm—along with us as we explore the redwoods this summer. If you need suggestions on where to go, consider these delightful and dog-friendly redwood hikes.

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Mariposa Grove. Photo by jenkinson2455, Flickr Creative Commons

Happy Birthday Mariposa Grove!

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Today marks the 153rd birthday of the spectacular giant sequoia grove in Yosemite National Park, Mariposa Grove. The protection of Mariposa helped inspire a movement of conservation at a time when sequoia were being cut, leading to the protection of the biggest trees in the world.

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Redwoods and Wildflowers along the Cape Viz Coastline

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Cape Vizcaino, along the Mendocino coast, is named after Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaíno, who is known for mapping much of the area. This spring, while the wildflowers were in bloom, we surveyed the area with the California Native Plant Society to map the plants along the coastline.

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Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

Student Perspectives: What Have You Heard Today?

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When was the last time you stood still and didn’t hear voices, traffic, or the bustle of everyday life? I bet you’re now thinking that there isn’t any place close enough to us in San Francisco where this would even be possible. That’s why I’m here to tell you that there are options close by!

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