Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, the Redwood National Park is the formal name for a network of four state and national parks that together protect 45% of the world’s remaining coast redwood. These magnificent trees are the tallest living things on earth. Taking over 400 years to mature, some of the surviving specimens are over 2,000 years old and their heights can reach 113 m (370 ft).
Despite their incredible size, the trees’ roots are shallow, often just 3 m (10 ft) deep. This makes them vulnerable to landslides and wind. Additionally, the trees which once covered 2 million acres suffered extensive logging from the 1850s. However, the area is now undergoing an intensive program to repair the damage. Over 644 km (400 mi) of roads are being replaced with new redwood seedlings.
But that’s not the only attraction of the Redwood National Park. It also protects acres of prairies, oak woodlands and river habitats; miles of unspoiled coastline; and the ways of life of both the humans and creatures that have made their home here for centuries.
The main activities for visitors to the area involve exploring and marveling at the remarkable scenery and wildlife. Threatened species in the area include the Brown Pelican, Bald Eagle and Northern Spotted Owl. Marine and stream water species include the Tidewater Gobi, Chinook salmon and Steller’s sea lion.
But research over the last twenty years has also uncovered a wealth of archaeological sites: these include evidence of prehistoric communities through to places of significance to local Indian communities. There are almost 320 km (200 mi) of hiking trails throughout the park, but note that these are prone to muddy conditions and temporary footbridges are removed in rainy season to prevent them being washed away. Horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed, but restricted to certain trails. Kayaking and canoeing in the abundant streams and rivers and along the coast are highly popular.