Muir Beach Parking Lot Closed June-November 2013
This alert applies to Muir Beach, but not nearby Muir Woods. Muir Beach parking lot closed June-November 2013 for construction. Restrooms and parking will not be available at Muir Beach during this period. Check back for updates or call (415)561-3054.
Dipsea Foot Bridge at the Annex Lot is BACK!
The Dipsea foot bridge at the Annex Lot is back in place. Thanks to all who took the Deer Park Fire Road detour. Taking those extra steps helped to protect Redwood Creek and the endangered juvenile coho.
Mushrooms and Other Fungi
You may think of mushrooms as strange and slimy objects that are neither plant nor animal. Or you may be one of the lucky hikers out after an early winter rain that can experience mushrooms in the myriad fascinating forms these fungi take. Appearing seemingly overnight, they come in a vast array of fantastic colors and shapes, from brilliant red, to purple, to golden orange, with caps ranging from the size of a pinhead, to as large as a dinner plate. A slow walk through almost any landscape in Golden Gate National Recreation Area during the rainy season can produce a world of wonder at your feet, but Muir Woods National Monument highlights some of the showiest. Over 200 different species of fungi live in the old-growth Coast Redwood forest and the surrounding hillsides.
Mushrooms are short-lived, spore-producing structures. These fruiting bodies are designed to release spores for the next generation, and then decay. The “body” or hyphae of a mushroom is actually hidden from our eyes underground. This underground matt is composed of a branching network of elongated cells that join together into threads. These hyphal threads grow through and break down dead wood, providing a vital recycling service to our forests. Fungal hyphae also live in the ground, and connect up with the rootlets of trees, shrubs and almost all other green plants, forming a symbiotic relationship. This partnership greatly increases the ability of trees and plants to take up water, and absorb essential minerals. In return, the fungus is provided with photosynthetic nutrients. Neither organism is able to function fully without the other. Mushrooms are not only vital to the health of the Muir Woods eco-system, but they also add charm and magic to the landscape.
Did You Know?
Fires over the centuries can hollow out a redwood, burning out a cave in the trunk of the living tree. Though the fire caves on some of the redwoods look fresh, the last forest fire that occurred in Muir Woods was about 160 years ago.