Monday, August 29, 2016

Paul Bunyan and Babe...

the Blue Ox almost cut all of them. I'm talking about the Old Growth Redwood Forests. 

Before the advent of White Folks to the Pacific Northwest, there was an estimated 2,000,000 acres of these green Giants  found along a lean stretch of the Northern California coast. Now only five percent of the Old Growth Redwoods remain. Eighty percent of those are in preserves, three California State Parks and one Redwood National Park. It's all managed with the trees in mind. That's a good thing.

Between the 1880's and 1920's most of the damage was done. This was a different kind of gold rush, but money was still the motivator. In Eureka, CA there were nine active lumber mills in operation. The trees were being mowed down at an alarming pace. What took 2,000 years to grow was gone in a relative "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick" moment. That's too fast.

All that carbon based-carnage finally got people's attention. "Save the Redwoods League" formed and began buying up land that the loggers haven't yet violated. The State and Feds got involved too. God bless them! 

A few Redwood factoids:
Redwoods thrive in cool temperatures, fog and rain. Not exactly my pint of IPA, but it works for them. Then again, I never grew up to be 379 feet high. Yes, they are the tallest living things on Earth. All this mass from a seed equal to the size of one tomato seed. The cones are as small as the tip of your pinky. Their bark is around one foot thick. It's impervious to disease, insects and fire. Unfortunately, it's not impervious to greed and loggers. 

Walking amongst them is the closest I'll ever come to an actual spiritual experience. A feeling I never received when I sat in a Synagogue; listening to Rabbi Isbee drone on about the human experience. 

I'm not the only one who feels this spiritual connection. I've seen visitors stop to touch the bark of a magnificent specimen. Their heads are usually bowed and their eyes are shut tight. Seeing the Redwoods make many feel humble. Even me. 

Silence is the predominant sound here. Footsteps are muffled in the duff. The Redwoods seem to vacuum up excess noise. It's a dignified, cultured and regal forest. These trees wouldn't vote for Trump! 

I love them. 

So does the United Nations. Redwoods State Parks and Redwood National Park have been designated both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. 
No wonder I heard so many people speaking non-English languages.

This place is a Must See. I'm not joking...

Cheers from the Sunny Sierra Nevada of California,

PS. I'll leave you with a John Muir quote. That dude really loved his trees. He didn't even go to a Forestry College like I did. 

"Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed - chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones." 

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful. Thank you for your inspiring post. :)