California's Magnificent Redwoods
【Summary】Of all the beautiful natural wonders to be found in Northern California, the Redwoods literally tower over the rest. These are the tallest trees on the entire planet.
By Anthony C. LoBaido
Of all the beautiful natural wonders to be found in Northern California, the Redwoods literally tower over the rest. These are the tallest trees on the entire planet. Jedediah Smith arrived in 1828 as the first ethno-European ever to set eyes on them. On the very first day the 1849 Gold Rush began, there were more than two million acres of these forests. They were harvested by failed gold miners and the lumber was used in the building of San Francisco to the south.
By the time the Redwoods were incorporated as a national park, over 90 percent of the original two million acres of Redwoods had been cut down. In 1918, after the end of World War I, a serious conservation effort began in California to save the Redwoods. U.S. Representative John Raker had introduced a bill into Congress in 1911 to create a national park to protect the Redwoods. Yet the bill did not become law as he could not rally the necessary support. Lumber was in great demand during World War II. The 1950's were a booming time in California, and lumber was still in demand for new construction. So the Redwoods continued to suffer. However, by 1980, the United Nations designated the Redwoods as a World Heritage Site.
Driving north from San Francisco, it's possible to make a trip to see the Redwoods an amazing adventure. There's flora and fauna of course, but also a myriad of opportunities for cycling and photography. If you like sea lions and the spotted owl, then you'll be in luck. One of the most incredible things about the Redwoods is simply all of the various shades of green you'll discover. There are mosses and leaves and seemingly fifty other shades of green. Interlopers can enjoy the quietness of the area. It's possible to simply drive on through and stop wherever you'd like. Bring along a picnic lunch if you're so inclined.
(Photograph of the Redwoods by Anthony C. LoBaido)
Native American Indians have always lived amongst the Redwoods, and today that remains true. They are the very first original Americans. Preserving their habitat is essential for a variety of historical, social and anthropological reasons.
In fact, these grand old majestic trees are a part of America's natural history and heritage. Their guardianship is paramount as an ecological treasure for residents of the United States and visitors from around the world.
Those planning to continue driving up the California coast to Oregon and Washington State would enjoy passing through the Redwoods. That said, these incredible trees are worthy of a trip all its own. There are over 130,000 acres of land set aside for visitors to explore. That's the same as 130,000 American football fields.
The tallest tree in the park traditionally has been believed to be 370 feet tall — or 110 meters. Many redwoods live to be 700 years old. The oldest were seedlings during the apex of the Roman Empire. It's hard to believe you can actually touch and smell trees that are 2,000 years old.
Come see for yourself!
Anthony C. LoBaido is a journalist, ghostwriter and photographer. He has worked in 53 nations around the world – from Laos to Lebanon, from Belize to Botswana and from Nepal to Namibia. He also published a book on the Kurds. Some of LoBaido’s favorite stories include attending the British Army’s jungle warfare training in Central America, retracing Lawrence of Arabia’s World War I trek through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, investigating the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone as popularized in the Leonardo DiCaprio film by the same name, meeting “CNN hero” Aki Ra at one of his landmine digs in northern Cambodia, working with Time Magazine’s “Hero of Asia” Lek Chailert on her crusade to assist injured and abused elephants in Southeast Asia, rescuing HIV/Aids throw-away babies in the garbage dumps of Cape Town, South Africa, as well as visiting a leper colony in Myanmar. LoBaido’s articles have been cited by Ivy League universities such as Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. As a photographer, LoBaido made National Geographic in 2014.
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