We are making our way down the California coast going through the Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). The combined RNSP contains 133,000 acres, and protects 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. It was raining, so it made a cool scene in the forest – mist between the trees, water on the leaves. The park also protects some beaches and Don wrote a sweet message on one of them. Leslie got a real treat on one of the beaches, we were walking to the car and she saw two heads in the water. She though they were seals, but it turned out to be sea otters (her favorite animal) that came right to the beach. They seemed to be very interested in two dogs that were playing on the beach. We also got to see elk along the way. It was a wildlife day for us. Yes, we managed to find a brewery for dinner. We went to Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville. The beer was good, but they did not sell it in bottles so we could not take any home.
History Lesson: In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast. The northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco and other places on the West Coast. After many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began. In the 1920s the California State Parks were established, and in 1968 Redwood National Park was created. By this time nearly 90% of the original redwood trees had been logged. The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened animal species such as the Brown Pelican, Tidewater Goby, Chinook Salmon, Northern Spotted Owl, and Steller’s Sea Lion. In recognition of the rare ecosystem and cultural history found in the parks, the United Nations designated them a World Heritage Site in 1980 and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1983.