The Amazing Diversity
An amazing diversity of life exists at Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Here, banana slugs, gray whales, Douglas-fir, black bears, and sea anemones are equally at home with redwoods.
Park staff work to maintain and restore the area's biological diversity through a wide range of resource management and educational activities. Preserving both natural processes and the region's species and genetic diversity helps ensure that countless generations can experience the beauty and complexity of an old-growth redwood forest.
This is your personal classroom whose wonders wait to be explored.
Preserve and Protect
When western expansion met the redwoods in the 1800s, the trees began to fall under saw and axe. The massive redwoods offered early settlers a seemingly inexhaustible lumber supply. However, within a hundred year span the vast forests were reduced to a fraction of their former range. By the early 1900s, it was apparent that the future of the old-growth redwood forest was in doubt.
Thanks to the visionary actions of the Save-the-Redwoods League, the redwoods received the protection they needed. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park were created by the State of California in the 1920s to protect some of the finest remaining examples of coast redwoods.
Congress protected lands adjacent to the three California state parks in 1968 with the creation of Redwood National Park. In 1994, the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service agreed to jointly manage the four-park area for maximum resource protection.
Today, visitors to RNSP will find not only old-growth redwood groves but open prairie lands, two major rivers, and 37 miles (60 km) of pristine California coastline. RNSP is also a testing ground for large scale forest and stream restoration of severely impacted lands.
American Indian tribes have made their home within the North Coast* region for thousands of years and still maintain their cultural presence today in areas surrounding RNSP. The parks' managers work in consultation with the tribes to ensure that their cultural practices can continue.
We invite you to visit the rich community of life at RNSP. Together, these parks are recognized as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The designations reflect worldwide awareness of RNSP's resources as irreplaceable. They must be safeguarded.
*Redwood National and State Parks reside in the North Coast of California and Oregon. The North Coast is a loosely defined region from about Ukiah, CA inland and Fort Bragg, CA on the coast, extending to Josephine County in Oregon. When travelling on Highway 101 south to north, you'll notice a distinct change in vegetation from California oak woodlands to the Douglas-fir/coast redwood forests and a very moist climate.
Did You Know?
While oceans contain most of Earth's carbon, about half stored on land in Redwood National and State Parks is in soils. The amount of carbon in the upper two meters of soil alone is ~14 million metric tons. That's equal to 1% of total U.S. emission in a year!