Destination List > Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park
Photo by Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are a group of, cooperatively managed parks, along the coast of northern California. Made up of the Redwood National Park (established 1968) and California's State Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek (dating from the 1920s), the combined RNSP contain 139,000 acres, featuring old-growth temperate rainforests.
The four parks, together, protect 45 percent of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest, among the oldest, and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the redwood forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, fauna, grassland prairie, cultural resources, and 37 miles (60 km) of pristine coastline.
In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast. The northern portion of that area was originally inhabited by Native Americans that were forced out off their land by gold seekers and timber harvesters. The enormous redwoods attracted timber harvesters to support the gold rush in more southern regions of California and the increased population from 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. By the 1920s the work of the Save the Redwoods League, founded in 1918 to preserve remaining old-growth redwoods, resulted in the establishment of Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks among others.
Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90 percent of the original redwood trees had been logged.
The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened animal species such as the tidewater goby, Chinook salmon, northern spotted owl, and Steller's sea lion, though it is believed that the tidewater goby is likely to have been eliminated from the park. In recognition of the rare ecosystem and cultural history found in the parks, the United Nations designated them a World Heritage Site on September 5, 1980.
Redwood trees can live for over 2200 years, reach a height of 379 ft (115 m) and have a diameter of 29 ft (9 m).