Say Hello to “Rocky”

This little guy is a Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens).  He’s about 6 months old, and a whole five-and-a-half inches tall!

He has the potential to live for more than 2,000 years, and grow to over 350 feet tall.  

Sequoia sempervirens are the tallest tree in the world.  (The tallest known tree, called Hyperion, is 379.7 feet tall.)  These magnificent trees grow only in a narrow band in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  

There are two other species of redwood:  

  • Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) – these are the most massive, though not the tallest trees in the world 
  • Dawn Redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostrobides) – a much smaller species, native to China, and often used in landscaping

Coast redwoods are conifers…  they sprout from seed contained in cones.  A seedling may grow more than a foot in its first year.  

Learn more about the redwoods!

About the Name

Rocky is short for Rockefeller.

John D. Rockefeller was one of the founders of the Save The Redwoods League, in 1917.

In 1931, he helped to purchase 9,000 acres of old-growth redwood forest from the Pacific Lumber Company, and donated it to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  The “Rockefeller Forest” is the largest continuous stand of old-growth coastal redwoods in the world.

He, his son, and his grandson continued to make generous contributions to preserve  the redwoods throughout their lives.

We plan on watching this seedling grow for many years…  when it outgrows its pot, we’ll transplant it into a permanent home.  

Lonely Planet names Redwood Coast “best US destination”

Lonely Planet, the travel-guidebook company, has selected California’s Redwood Coast as its number 1 US destination for 2018. Located four hours north of San Francisco, the wooded region spans 175 miles of coastline in Humboldt County and is home to the Avenue of the Giants, and trees that appear in blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Jurassic Park.

The travel company described the Redwood Coast as “an often overlooked region — even within California — but a vast and varied experience every traveler should have.”

The region, which includes Redwood National Park, is a perfect place to “lose all track of time.” It combines unique natural beauty with old-fashioned Americana and kitsch.

LA Times Adds the Avenue to Its California Bucket List

The Los Angeles times has just added the Avenue of the Giants to their California Bucket List.

As the article says, “This stretch of Humboldt County highway is a journey to the heart of redwood country, the largest remaining expanse of old-growth redwoods in the world.”

It goes on to mention several of the most notable trails and sites along the Avenue.

You’ll find many other interesting things to see and do in California while checking out the Bucket List.  Their are also tags to find Family-Friendly destinations, or attractions within a particular region.



New Lawsuit to Stop Richardson Grove Project

The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) has filed a new lawsuit against California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)  to stop the proposed expansion of US Highway 101 through the Richardson Grove.

The section of highway is just a few miles south of the Avenue of the Giants, and passes through one of the most significant remaining stands of California Coast Redwoods.

CalTrans proposed the project in 2007, claiming that  it is necessary to accommodate larger commercial trucks. However, the project would damage or destroy more than 100 redwoods, many of them 1,000 to 2,000 years old.

The lawsuit was filed on June 23rd by EPIC and allied citizens and environmental groups. Three previous legal challenges blocked construction and forced Caltrans to rescind all project approvals in 2014.

The courts have repeatedly found that Caltrans used faulty and inadequate environmental reviews.  In the most recent decision, the judge found that Caltrans had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its use of what the court called “faulty data.”

The latest Caltrans proposal fails to address objections raised in previous suits.

Learn more about the Richardson Grove project and the lawsuit on the EPIC website.


Scientists Climb Redwoods to Study How Trees Resist Drought

Scientists Anthony Ambrose and Wendy Baxter, from UC Berkeley, are placing equipment in the crowns of five Redwood trees in a small grove at Bug Sur, California.  They plan to return to the grove regularly in the coming months to study how the trees are affected by climate conditions.

The equipment they have placed in the trees will monitor light, fog, humidity, temperature, and even the mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around the trees. In addition, it will allow them to track how much water the trees are using, and how the water flows through the trunk.

Redwoods have the unusual capability to absorb water from fog, which helps to sustain the trees during rain-free months.  One goal of the study is to understand how much of the trees’ water needs are absorbed from fog, versus drawn from the ground.  This is important to predicting how the trees will be affected by climate changes.


Park Service Reminds Visitors: Stay on the Trails!



As more and more people visit the redwoods, the impact of walking off trail is affecting the health of the forest.  In addition to trampling plants, visitors can actually damage the roots of the redwoods, which grow near the surface.

The Park Service will sometimes build wooden walkways near some of the most famous trees (like the Giant Tree on the Bull Creek Flats trail), so visitors can get close without harming the trees or the plant life.



redwood-inspirationThe redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.

John Steinbeck

Redwood time moves at a more stately pace than human time. To us, when we look at a redwood tree, it seems to be motionless and still, and yet redwoods are constantly in motion, moving upward into space, articulating themselves and filling redwood space over redwood time, over thousands of years.

Richard Preston

The greatest wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The redwood is the glory of the Coast Range. It extends along the western slope, in a nearly continuous belt about ten miles wide, from beyond the Oregon boundary to the south of Santa Cruz, a distance of nearly four hundred miles, and in massive, sustained grandeur and closeness of growth surpasses all the other timber woods of the world.

John Muir

A grove of giant redwood or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.

Theodore Roosevelt

A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky,
Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense….
The wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to join the refrain;
But in my soul I plainly heard.
Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs—out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time—chant, not of the past only, but of the future…

Walt Whitman

Drones Monitor the Health of the Redwoods

Llafranc, Spain. May 29, 2016. Parrot Bebop 2 Drone flying over the mountain in front of a coast city in costa brava, Spain

In order to protect the redwoods from future climate change, scientists must understand many things, including how the giant trees use and respond to water and sunlight.  This often requires laboriously surveying hundreds of acres of forest and surrounding land.

In a new study, Dr. Todd Dawson (a professor of integrative biology and environmental science, policy and management at UC Berkeley) is using drones to quickly construct detailed resource maps from the air.

By quickly and inexpensively gathering data, the drones free up scientists to focus on more complex research tasks.

The pilot project is partially sponsored by Parrot, a manufacturer of drones for both personal and commercial use.


‘Albino’ Redwoods may Act as Natural Filters for Toxins

albino-redwoodWhile hiking in the redwoods, you may sometimes see a small white, or albino, redwood tree. These rare trees are unable to generate chlorophyl, and so they tap into the root systems of surrounding trees in order to survive.

Researchers now theorize that albino redwoods may actually play a useful role in the forest ecosystem.  Zane Moore, a doctoral student at UC Davis, has found that the white trees contain unusually high concentrations of toxic metals such as nickel, copper and cadmium.  He believes that the trees may be acting as filters to remove toxins from the soil, just as the liver and kidneys filter toxins from the human body.

Moore presented his research at the Coast Redwood Science Symposium in Eureka, CA.


Avenue of the Giants featured on American Pickers

AmericanPickersA few months ago, the crew of the popular History Channel TV program America Pickers filmed an episode in Humboldt county.

In the episode, hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are seen driving along the Avenue of the Giants.

Among the treasures picked by the guys is a vintage Trees of Mystery sign.  (The Trees of Mystery is about two hours North of the Avenue, on the coast highway.)

For more information, visit the Lost Coast Outpost website.