The Redwood National Park consists of three state parks. It is located in the state of California and receives over 390,000 visitors annually on its area of 315 km². It was founded on October 2, 1968.
Redwood National Park is famous for its rainforest-like coniferous forest. This consists for the most part of huge trees, the redwoods. Today they are rare, but 200 to 58 million years ago it was different. At that time the redwood trees were widespread. The trees reach heights of up to 100 meters. The Redwood National Park also has the tallest tree in the world: at 112 meters, one of the redwood giants was discovered here a few years ago. Its age is estimated to be 400 years, but it is still growing. Some of the trees in the park are estimated to be over 2,000 years old. Their tree trunks are over 6 meters in diameter.
History of the Redwood National Park
In today’s area of the Redwood National Park, ancient Americans from Asia lived thousands of years ago. In the middle of the 19th century, the meanwhile three semi-nomadic tribes were given the company of Europeans. The Yurok, Tolowa and Chilula lived mainly from fishing, hunting and the preparation of various edible plants. The redwood served them as building material for their canoes or their shelters.
Many fur hunters came here around 1828 and gold was finally found in the area of today’s Redwood National Park in 1850. This caused a flood of immigrants who wanted to try their luck at gold prospecting. The entire beach was plowed over. In addition to the gold panning companies, there were also wood processing companies here. The city of Crescent City came into being and grew rapidly. The new settlers began cutting down the huge redwood trees, systematically driving out the local Indian tribes. After being pushed back into the hinterland, they were deported to the Klamath River Indian Reservation in 1855.
As the prospectors gradually withdrew, the deforestation of the redwoods continued to increase. In 1965, 85%, roughly 6,800 square kilometers, of the forest had been cleared.
The tiny remaining part (430 km²) was placed under protection in 1968.
Since the redwood is very popular, the deforestation continues in the unprotected part of the region!
The wildlife of Redwood National Park
The redwood trees form cones. Their seeds are not a particularly abundant source of food. Therefore, the more forested parts of the area are very poor in animals. Even insects are hard to find here. So far only two species of birds have been counted, one species of thrush and the wren. In more favorable places you can find fish, striped or tree squirrels, skunks, raccoons and porcupines. Some mountain beavers also live in friendlier areas of Redwood National Park. Here you can also find Roosevelt deer, black-tailed deer, black bears, river otters, lynxes and in the coastal region seals, dolphins and some species of whale.
In addition to the redwood trees, there are also sequoia trees in the national park area. These are not quite as high as the redwoods, but the trunk can be a lot thicker.
Very thick and soft moss pillows are often found in the soil regions. There are also giant ferns, mushrooms, rhododendrons, azaleas, wood sorrel and other plants that love moisture.