Allie Caulfield from Germany/Wikimedia

It's true you can drive right up to some of Northern California's giant redwood trees.  But you can also walk up to them and enjoy the difference in scale between their majestic height and our rather insignificant elevation. 

Plenty of hiking trails exist, and John Soares lists them in a new book: Hike the Parks: Redwood National & State Parks


Redwood trees still grow tall and strong, but not all of the species is represented.  Individual trees that may have possessed characteristics key to the species' survival have been cut down. 

That's why researchers worked for years to sequence the genomes of the Coast Redwood and the Giant Sequoia.  It's a big job... a Coast Redwood has nine times as many base pairs of DNA as a human.

After the Grove of Titans of redwood trees was identified near Jedediah Smith State Park in 1998, car traffic on nearby roads increased dramatically, as did impromptu trails through the grove, many of which have received widespread publicity via social media.

The increased traffic has brought predictable negative impacts to the area. Now a partnership between environmental groups, California State Parks and the National Park Service has formed to protect the grove from being loved to death by humans. 

Allie Caulfield from Germany/Wikimedia

How do you make an old-growth forest?  Start with a younger forest, for one thing. 

The Redwoods Rising Project aims to create old-growth redwood forest where lands have already been logged. 

It joins the forces of the Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, and the National Park Service to help turn what is now mixed forest into true redwood forest. 

Emily Burns is science director for SRL, Jay Chamberlin works for the state park system. 

The physical history of Northern California’s coastal redwood region is linked to the human populations that have interacted with it, from pre-contact times to the present.

The physical history of Northern California’s coastal redwood region is linked to the human populations that have interacted with it, from pre-contact times to the present.

Redwood Rides

You can actually hurt your neck just walking through the redwoods of Northern California... all that looking up at the tall trees can leave you sore. 

You can add soreness to your legs by taking a mountain bike into the woods. 

And the opportunities to do that may expand; mountain bike enthusiasts want to turn some decommissioned former logging roads into bike trails in the redwoods. 

Two+two=4/Wikimedia Commons

Some of our trees are looking mighty ragged after several years of drought.  That's to be expected. 

But the kinds of stresses they're showing are new to researchers who know trees well. 

Those include the (southern) coast redwoods and the giant sequoias... many are clearly stressed, and some are dying. 

Redwood expert Anthony Ambrose at the University of California-Berkeley points out that the biggest redwoods need up to 2000 liters of water A DAY to survive, and drought and climate change will challenge that intake. 

Re-Laying The Foundation In The Redwoods

Aug 13, 2015
Two+two=4/Wikimedia Commons

  It's useful for just about any organization to step back once in a while and ask "what are we doing here?" 

The National Park Service is doing just that for the state and national Redwood Parks. 

The Foundation Document for the parks is being reviewed for possible revision at the moment, and the public can comment until August 25th. 

Earth Day For The Mill Creek Forest

Apr 22, 2015
NPS/Public Domain

Earth Day is here once again, the 45th anniversary of the first celebration. 

One of the many recommended activities for the day is to plant a tree. 

That kind of work is a regular thing in the Mill Creek forest in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. 

The restoration work is meant to preserve the mighty redwoods for many years to come.  But the work does involve removing some trees, too. 

Redwood National Park Tree Cutting

Jan 27, 2015
NPS/Public Domain

The distinction between national park and national forest is often lost on people who live close to neither. 

Here's an easy one: trees can be cut in the forests, seldom in the parks. 

But a forest restoration plan in the Redwood National Park would actually remove some trees from the park in Humboldt County, ostensibly to promote forest growth. 

Poaching The Redwoods

May 15, 2014
Public Domain

Not all poachers are hunters, and not all targets of poaching are animals. 

Case in point: redwood trees in Northern California. 

The high value of burl and bunion growths on the giant redwoods is proving irresistible for some people. 

So they are entering the state and national redwood parks at night to poach the wood, from trees both living and dead.