Redwoods Legacy Circle Survey
The Grove of Titans is home to the largest collection of giant redwoods ever discovered. Long hidden in plain sight of a frequently traveled trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Grove boasts ten ancient giants so enormous that they inspired its iconic name. The grove is close to Mill Creek, an important stream for salmonids, coho salmon and steelhead trout. The grove is also the site of important redwood forest research, ranging from the unique ecological communities that exist in ancient redwood canopies to the effects of climate change in redwood forests.
California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, National Park Service, and Redwood Parks Conservancy launched an ambitious collaborative project to protect the grove while accommodating visitation. The project involves an elevated walkway, a visitor usage study for the grove’s primary access road, retirement of unofficial “social” trails, remediation of impacted lands, and installation of restrooms, trash receptacles, and interpretive materials, including brochures and signage.
Despite the pandemic and the recent California wildfires work at the Grove of Titans continued last summer and fall and we are on track to complete the raised pedestrian trail system and install the new interpretative materials by July 2021. The crews just installed a 36-foot long bridge on the Mill Creek Trail which was a major component to moving materials further into the Grove. All materials are hand transported over a mile into the Grove, so it was a massive effort and huge part of moving the project forward. The Grove of Titans project highlights the vulnerability of our ancient redwoods and is a reminder to all of us that we are responsible for stewarding our planet.
The founders of Save the Redwoods League refused to allow the wholesale destruction of the redwood forest to continue, setting in motion 100 years of redwoods conservation that continues today. Founders Grove, with its towering old-growth redwoods, is dedicated to these founders and educates visitors about this moment in conservation history.
Founders Grove is the most visited old-growth redwood forests in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and is a major North Coast redwood attraction. Located on a large alluvial flat at the intersection of two rivers and shielded from storms by 3000-foot-tall mountains to the west, the grove provides an ideal environment for redwoods. For the sheer size of its trees and its remarkably large area, the Founders’ Grove is one of the most impressive in existence. It has an open and expansive feel, with huge trees growing side-by-side with much smaller trees.
The League is currently working with California State Parks to seize on the opportunity presented by the necessary facilities rehabilitation to re-imagine how this iconic, yet sensitive site can be most effectively designed to provide meaningful visitor experiences. The proposed Great Redwoods Trail, which alignment runs directly through the proposed re-development site, offers incredible potential for a visitor-serving hub that doubles as a southern gateway to the North Coast redwood parks.
Rockefeller Forest is the first “landscape scale” tract of redwoods protected by Save the Redwoods League. Today, it exists at the beating heart of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The forest embodies the entire watershed of Bull Creek, a stunningly beautiful tributary to the Eel River. The League purchased the initial 9,000 acres from Pacific Lumber Company in 1931 for $3,212,220. State funds the League pushed through California’s legislature in 1928 provided for half the cost, and John D Rockefeller Jr, richest man on earth, supplied the other half. His contribution established a long and warm relationship between the Rockefeller family and the redwoods.
In 1955, when Bull Creek was hit by “the storm of the century,” the Rockefeller family donated millions more to the League for purchase of the hillsides surrounding Bull Creek. Adding thousands more acres to the park, this action prevented further erosion on the steep slopes, ultimately saving the dense and towering stands of Coastal Redwoods located below. Outside of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the Rockefellers also backed the League’s purchases of South Grove in Calaveras Big Trees State Park and significant portions of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The Rockefellers were not just the largest sum donors in League history. They were incredibly involved and dedicated members. John D Rockefeller’s son Laurance worked with the League as a key advisor in the creation of Redwood National Park, for example. The majesty of Rockefeller Forest is a fine testament to the family’s long commitment to American conservation.