As a child, I visited California’s iconic redwood alongside my grandparents. Meandering slowly though the towering groves, we would often stop to listen to the birds and the wind while my grandfather told stories about how he wandered these woods with his father. Four generations of my family visited this place, walked the same trails and gazed upon these giant trees with the same awe and wonder. Will your family do the same?
“Some of the giants that call Big Basin Redwoods State Park home are more than 50 feet around and taller than the Statue of Liberty.”
Hidden in plain sight are some the most amazing coastal forests you will find in the world, and among them are the tallest trees on the planet. Coastal Redwoods are ancestors of ancient evergreen giants’ who’s that once stood alongside the dinosaurs some and who were around thousands of years before the animals we know scurried across there shaded floor.
There is evidence that coast redwoods have existed as far back as 65 million years ago. This was the end of the Cretaceous period, and the last time that dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and Velociraptor roamed the earth.
For the last 20 million years Coastal Redwoods dominated the Pacific coast of the United States, all the way from Big Sur to the farthest reaches of Oregon and are found on no other part of the planet. But here, in the Santa Cruz Mountains you can find 7 state parks dedicated to the protection of these amazing trees. One of these parks, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coastal redwoods south of San Francisco Bay and a spectacular segment of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. – Hike recommended!
“During the last ice age, perhaps as recently as 10,000 years ago, redwood trees grew as far south as the Los Angeles area!”
Sequoia Sempervirens, the Latin name for coastal redwoods, means “ever green” or “everlasting” and since many of these trees can grow to a ripe age of 2500 years old… you can understand how the title “everlasting” makes sense.
“It’s estimated that some of the trees in Big Basin are over 2,500 years old, which means they are older than the Roman Empire.. and Latin!”
Like many trees, Coast redwoods play a major role in protecting the Earth’s climate – transforming more carbon dioxide into oxygen than any other tree on Earth. As important, redwood forests provide clean water, clean air and vital wildlife habitat for countless species including Santa Cruz’s famous Banana Slug. Found only along the west coast of the U.S., these redwoods are rare, precious and if you wander beneath these giants you will get a sense of awe that is impossible to describe.
Over the last 150 years, 95% of California’s iconic old-growth forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains along were cut down. Today, the remaining redwood forests face numerous threats and what’s even crazier, these magnificent coast redwoods are not protected by the state or federal government anywhere outside of these parks. It’s up to you and me to ensure that these amazing tress and ecosystems survive for generations to come!
With the recent changes to climate, studies are showing that the redwood trees are slowly migrating northward, leaving their ancestral basins in southern California.
Want to get involved to help protect these spectacular trees or even want to protect a grove of your favorite redwood trees? Check out these resource below!
Adventure Hydrology Fun Facts!
Redwoods often grow in areas prone to flooding and the unstable soil in flooded areas often causes trees to lean to one side, like these trees. But immediately after a flood, redwoods grow a second root system, letting the old root system die. To balance the awkward lean, redwoods will increase wood production opposite the lean making one side substantially heavier than the other! These adaptations allow redwoods grow almost exclusively in flood-prone drainages like Big Basin.
Coast redwoods can reproduce by sprouting from the root crown, stump, or even fallen branches. If a tree falls over it will regenerate a row of new trees along the trunk. That’s why you see so many new redwood trees growing in a straight line. Also, when a redwood dies (from disease or fire) sprouts spontaneously develop around the circumference of the tree trunk. Within a short period, each sprout will develop its own root system forming a ring of trees around the parent. This ring of redwood trees is called a “fairy ring” and these new trees can grow over 7 ft. in a single season.
Donate to the Sempervirens fund – https://sempervirens.org/ways-to-give/donate/
Want to dedicate a tree or grove? – https://sempervirens.org/ways-to-give/dedicate-a-tree/
Coastal redwoods interactive map – https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24723