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Summer Reading in the Redwoods

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I’m preparing for a backpacking trip in Yosemite next weekend. It will be my first visit to the park, and it includes homework! I’m going with a friend who suggested that we both read John Muir’s My First Summer in …



Montgomery Woods State Park. Photo by Peter Buranzon

Parks Forward Commission – Time to Reform the State Parks System

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There is a ray of hope for California’s underfunded State Parks system:  a new high-level commission is being appointed with a mandate to transform the system – soon. As those of us who work in the system know, the State …


Redwoods at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show

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This week, a redwood forest came alive at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. Our partners, the Garden Club of America, celebrated their centennial with an lush exhibit featuring understory ferns and flowers of the coast redwood forest. Large translucent photographs …


View at Stewarts Point Ranch.

Listen to an Oral History of Stewarts Point

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Stewarts Point Ranch, a property we own and protect in northern Sonoma County, has a long and interesting history. The Richardson family settled at Stewarts Point in the 1860’s. Recently, a wonderful oral history project called “The Story Shed” interviewed …


In vitro culture of Aulacomnium turgidum regenerated from emergent Little Ice Age population beneath the Tear Drop Glacier, Sverdrup Pass, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. Credit: Image courtesy of Catherine La Farge

The Toughest Plants in the World

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It’s not often that I hear about a creature more resilient than redwoods.  After all, they grow faster, live longer, and reproduce more prolifically than just about any other tree.  Be that as it may, some very small, unassuming creatures …


Burl Thieves Attack Redwoods

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Last year, I saw a man ride a bicycle down the road from Ladybird  Johnson Grove in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park carrying a large chainsaw. I was baffled at the sight and now realize just how terrible an omen …



Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.

30,000 Volunteers Help Keep California State Parks Running!

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. . . so reported Major General Anthony L. Jackson, Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), to the State Parks Commission last Friday morning.  That is a lot of volunteers! If those 30,000 volunteers were to lie …


Pelican Recovery Brings Hope

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I grew up in Northern California and witnessed the inspiring recovery of an endangered species over the past few decades. As a frequent beach goer throughout my life, I remember it was unusual to see brown pelicans diving along the …


This lovely picnic spot in Butano State Park beckons.

It’s Picnic Season! Ready for a Delicious Day in the Redwoods?

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There are a lot of health benefits to a day in the redwoods – exercise and stress reduction are just a couple. Nice weather is good motivation to get active in nature and kick-start the healthy habits that went into …


Eel River at Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area.

I Support Team Standish

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Standing on the bank of the Eel River, surrounded by local volunteers describing the park as the ‘lifeblood of the community,’ it’s hard to believe that Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area almost didn’t make it.  Despite its well-developed trail and campground …


Hiking the James Irvine Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Redwood forests – no cell phones!

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It is all the rage! New York Times columnist Nick Bilton writes this week that a founder of Pinterest “drive[s] until cell service drops off (yes, this is possible) and spend[s] the weekend engaged with all things analog. . .”. …


Seen Sorrel Cry?

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They were perfectly placed drops of water on the outer edge of each redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) leaflet. At first, I thought that I was just seeing drops of fog that had not yet evaporated. Then, I realized that these …


East Bay Redwood

The Last Redwood of the East Bay

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High above the sprawling city, the heat from rooftops and roads casts a shimmering haze mirrored by the ocean beyond.  Here, rising above the oak and bay forest, its trunk twisted and scarred by centuries of wind and fire, it …


Sun through the redwoods. Photo by parmsongs, Flickr Creative Commons

The Healing Power of Redwoods

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“It is like being in a cathedral.” “Ancient spirits of the Native Americans are still living among the redwoods.” “I always feel healed after a visit to the redwoods.” These are the kinds of emotions many of us experience in …


Humboldt’s Original Skunk Weed

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It smells a little skunky along the trail. Did a fellow hiker light up a joint ahead of you or it could be a botanical wonder of the coast redwoods and beyond?! Skunk cabbage emerges early in the year in …


We're in this together. Photo by Paolo Vescia

May Membership Madness!

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It’s a Great Time to Join the League! The best hope for keeping the redwoods protected is making sure there are people like you committed to supporting them year after year. That’s why I hope you’ll join us as we kick …


Dudley's lousewort (Pedicularis dudleyi). Photo by asadotzler, Flickr Creative Commons

A Rare Plant Inhabits the Forest – Or Does It?

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It was a beautiful day for a hike along Peters Creek. The ancient forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains was in full bloom; chattering woodpeckers, the tumbling creek, giant redwood and Douglas fir trees all begged for acknowledgement and appreciation.  …


Giant redwood crowns loom over a canopy of lesser trees (Picea sitchensis, Tsuga heterophylla) in JSRSP. Photo by Stephen Sillett

Clone the best, forget the rest?

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People are cloning the world’s oldest redwoods. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is planting their clones en masse around the world in an effort to create robust forests of the future. They say these ancient clones will reverse deforestation across the …