Redwood National Park (41°04'-41°49'N, 123°53'-124°10'W) is a World Heritage Site (includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park) in California, United States.
Redwood National Park is located in Humboldt and Del Norte counties of northwestern California. The park is nearly 80 kilometers (km) in length and varies in width from 0.3 km to 14 km. The park boundary extends 0.4 km seaward along the Pacific Ocean. 41°04'-41°49'N, 123°53'-124°10'W.
Date and history of establishment
The park was officially established on 2 October 1968, under Public Law 90-545, when three existing state parks were fused with the addition of about 11,340 hectares (ha) of privately owned land. A further 19,440 ha were added on 27 March 1978. Redwood National Park was Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980 and comprises part of California Coastal Ranges Biosphere Reserve.
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park: 2,578 ha
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: 4,002 ha
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: 5,693 ha
- Redwood National Park: 44,610 ha
14,075 ha of the park are under state government ownership and 30,535 ha are under federal ownership. Eventual transfer of state lands to national park is provided for by an enabling act.
Redwood National Park ranges in altitude from seanlevel to 950 meters (m).
The area transcends two distinctive physiographic environments: the coastline and mountains of the Coast Range. The park's 55 km coastline consists of steep, rocky cliffs broken by rolling slopes and broad sandy beaches. The adjacent coastal mountains encompass portions of major streams and ridges which trend north-west. Bedrock is primarily highly deformed Cretaceous deep water marine sandstones, siltstones and shales of Franciscan assemblage. Lesser amounts of chert, volcanic greenstones and metamorphic rocks occur as blocks in belts of melange within the Franciscan sedimentary rocks. In a few areas, the Franciscan rocks are overlain by a thin veneer of young Plio-Pleistocene shallow marine to fluvial sandstones, mudstones and conglomerates. Grogan Fault, along which much of the main channel of Redwood Creek flows, is a major structural feature within the park, separating well foliated meta-sedimentary schists and meta-basalts on the south-west of Redwood Creek from the unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks of the Franciscan to the north-east. South Fork Fault cuts across the north-east corner of the park in the Little Bald Hills area east of Crescent City.
Some 856 flora species have been noted, 699 of which are native. The dominant vegetation type is coastal redwood forest with Sequoia sempervirens. There are 15,776 ha of old growth redwood, 20,800 ha of post-harvest regrowth and the rest (5,034 ha) comprises other vegetation types. The redwoods are surviving remnants of the forest type which was once found throughout many of the world's moist temperate regions, but are now confined to wet regions on the west coast of North America. The park contains the tallest known tree in the world at 112.1 m. Trees in the regrowth forest range from 20 to 50 years in age. Other noteworthy species include: Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii, western hemlock Tsuga heterophylla, tan oak Lithocarpus densiflorus, grand fir Abies grandis, Sitka spruce Picea sitchensis, madrone Arbutus menziesii, big leaf maple Acer macrophyllum, California laurel/bay Umbellularia californica, of which the tallest stands occur on the alluvial flats and terraces along larger streams. Further inland, on summits and south-facing slopes, the forest is replaced by grasslands. Minor associated plant communities include Jeffrey pine stands, chaparral, Oregon white oak woodland, and northern coastal scrub. The park also includes shrub, spruce forests and coastal strand with intermixed freshwater marshes. Intertidal and marine plant communities occur off sandy and rocky beaches.
Some 75 mammalian species have been noted and include Roosevelt elk Cervus elaphus roosevelti, now restricted to limited population centers, black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus, bobcat Lynx rufus, grey fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus, black bear Ursus americanus, river otter Lutra canadensis, skunk Mephitis mephites, harbor seals Phoca vitulina, sea lion Zalophus californianus, and puma Felis concolor. Two additional mammals which are candidates for listing as nationally threatened include Townsend's big-eared bat Plecotus townsendii (I) and Pacific fisher Martes pennanti.
The avifauna of the redwood region exceeds 400 recorded species (398 native and 35 non-native species). Freshwater marshes, ponds, and streams provide valuable nesting and feeding areas for several migratory waterfowl species. Offshore rocks are important nesting sites for seabirds, including common murre Uria aalge, western gull Larus occidentalis and three species of cormorant Phalocrocorax spp.. Nationally threatened birds (as listed by the United States Department of the Interior and State of California) include brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis, bald eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus, peregrine falcon Falcon peregrinus marbled murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus, northern spotted owl Strix occidentalis, andpossibly western snowy plover Charadrius alexandrius.
Recorded salmonid fish species include coastal cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki, steelhead trout O. mykiss, chinook salmon O. tshawyscha and coho salmon O. kisutch. Non-salmonid species, namely Pacific herring Clupea harengus, surf smelt Hypomesus pretiosus, night smelt Spirinchus starksi, staghorn sculpin Leptocottus armatus and shiner surfperch Cymatogaster aggregata and federally endangered tidewater goby Eucyclogobius newberryi also occur. The intertidal zone contains 168 invertebrate species. Fifteen of western North America's 22 salamander species are found in the area. Of these, three are Category 2 candidates for Federal and State listing, and three are species of special concern to the State of California.
Archaeological surveys, test excavations, research and consultations, conducted over the past twenty years have resulted in the recording of numerous prehistoric archaeological sites, historic sites and ethnographic resources. Of these, cultural resources listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places include: three coastal archaeological sites, 26 inland archaeological sites listed as the Bald Hills Archaeological District, and three historic resources (a World War II radar site, a portion of the Redwood Highway and the Lyons Ranches Rural Historic District). The archaeological sites span over 4,500 years and represent changing settlement and subsistence systems. Historic resources include examples of early trails, homestead and ranching, fishing, dairy, mining and logging industries, and military structure. Places of importance to contemporary Native Americans with traditional ties to park lands include villages, cemeteries, sacred/ceremonial sites and certain natural resource use areas. The park works with both Native American Heritage Advisory Committees and Tribal governments on the use of cultural and natural resources and issues of concern.
Local human population
American Indians in the park's vicinity account for almost 10% of the region's population. The native people of the redwood area belong to a number of different groups, each with a different language and culture, and their villages formerly lined the coast and major rivers.
Visitors and visitor facilities
More than 1.25 million people visit Redwood National and State Parks annually, and enjoy camping, nature, hiking, kayaking, horseback and bicycle trails, picnic grounds, information centers and scenic drives. A 1993 visitor use survey revealed that nearly 15% of the park's visitors were from foreign countries with some 42% of these coming from Germany.
Scientific research and facilities
Research is being carried out by a park interdisciplinary team, supplemented by other federal and state agencies and several universities, notably Humboldt State University. The June 1989 bibliography of Redwood National Park publications includes approximately 170 document titles, under the headings of technical reports, watershed rehabilitation and resources management, conference papers, geology, management reports and cultural resources. The park has a well developed Geographic Information System. There are no facilities devoted solely to research.
Redwood National Park preserves significant examples of primeval coastal redwood forest, a unique and diverse resource. The redwood forests represent some 42% of the remaining old growth redwood stands, a small fragment of a once extensive cover. In addition, the park is of great prehistoric and historic cultural importance with several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park is under strict protection, although sport fishing is allowed. There is a 12,150 ha buffer zone provided under Public Law No. 95-250. Zoning classification comprises a Natural Zone of 31,400 ha, Historic Zone and Park Development Enclaves. The three state parks are zoned as Special Use (11,000 ha). Management objectives can be summarized as follows: to restore the natural ecosystems of the park; minimize human impacts; preserve historic and prehistoric features; eliminate non-conforming uses; provide reasonable and safe public access; provide visitors with an appreciation and understanding of park values; restrict visitor uses as necessary to fulfill resource protection objectives; and protect visual resources. A watershed rehabilitation program has been implemented to return the downstream portion of Redwood Creek drainage basin within the park to a reasonable facsimile of its natural state. A multi-year land rehabilitation scheme has been set up to protect the tallest known trees in the world by restoring cut-over parklands and reducing sediment delivery to park streams. A general management plan, resource management plan, environmental impact assessments and watershed rehabilitation plan have been published and commented upon by the public. A new General Management Plan (GMP) will be devopled in 1995, replacing the 1980 GMP. The Statement for Management was updated in 1992. In 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation for the Cooperative Management of the 'Redwood National and State Parks'. This will permit joint operations of the parks, fulfilling the 1968 intent of Congress.
Much of the federal land in the park has been logged, including almost all of the watershed upstream in the Redwood Creek Basin. Most remnant old growth stands outside the park are threatened by logging by the end of the decade. Second growth harvests have begun on lands outside the park. Regional logging has been carried out on some of the world's most erodible soils. The park is currently in the process of negotiating cooperative agreements with upstream landowners to control erosion. Other developments such as upstream logging, proposed offshore oil and gas development, and proposed subdivisions threaten park resources. Major storms in the Redwood Basin pose an unpredictable threat to this unstable watershed. Currently, the greatest threats to the native vegetation arise from invasions by exotic plants and by progressive changes in species composition and structure due to fire suppression. Much of the forest is in various stages of post-harvest successions and decades or centuries will pass before it will return to its pristine appearance.
90 permanent and 80 seasonal employees (federal); permanent employees are assigned as follows: 5 management, 11 administration, 25 maintenance, 9 protection, 7 interpretation, 31 resources management and 2 technical services.
US$ 5,561,000 budgeted for fiscal year 1995
IUCN management category
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, II (National Park)
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, II (National Park)
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, II (National Park)
- Redwood National Park, II (National Park)
- Biosphere Reserve
- Natural World Heritage Site; Criteria ii, iii
No single comprehensive publication has been prepared. The most complete compendium of park information exists in park planning documents and environmental compliance documents. Many technical and non-technical publications deal with specific resources of park-related issues. The park's legislative history has been well documented. New resource information is regularly published.
- Agee, J.K. (1980). Issues and Impacts of Redwood National Park Expansion. Environmental Management 4(5): 407-23.
- Anon. (1989). Bibliography of Redwood National Park publications. Unpublished. 23 pp.
- Eidsness, J.P. (1988). A summary of cultural resources projects, Redwood National Park. Redwood National Park. Crescent City, California, USA.
- Heyday Books (1994). Living in a Well-Ordered World - Indian People of Northwestern California. Redwood National Park, Cresent City, California, USA.
- IUCN (1994). Monitoring of the State of Conservation of Natural World Heritage Properties. World Heritage Committee 19th Session, Phuket, Thailand.
- Littlejohn, M. (1994). Visitor Service Project: Redwood National Park. Report 59 April 1994. National Park ServiceUniversity of Idaho. 49 pp.
- NPS (1987). Redwood National Park Statement for management: revised February 1987. National Park Service. 62 pp.
- NPS (1992). Redwood National Park Statement for Management: revised March 1992. National Park Service. 76 pp.
- Rasp, R. (1989). Redwood National Park: the story behind the scenery. KC Publications. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. ISBN: 088714022X.
- Rohde, J. and G. (1994). Redwood National and State Parks - Tales, Trails and Auto Tours. Mountain Home Books, McKinleyville, California, USA. (Unssen). ISBN: 0964026104.
- Schrepfer, S.R. (1983). The fight to save the redwoods. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, Wisconsin, USA. ISBN: 0299088502.
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