[Stop #1 - Franklin K. Lane Grove]
[Stop #2 - Lansdale Grove]
[Stop #3 - Bolling Grove]
[Stop #4 - Visitor Center]
[Stop #5 - Weott]
[Stop #6 - Dungan Grove]
[Stop #7 - Mahan Plaque Trail]
[Stop #8 - Dyerville Overlook]
[Stop #9 - Drury Chaney Groves]
Redwoods are the tallest and largest trees in the world.
There are three genera of redwood trees, each consisting of a single species. Two of these, the coast redwood and giant sequoia are native to California. The third, the dawn redwood, is found in China. (A dawn redwood has been planted near the front door of the office at park headquarters.)
Fossil records show redwoods lived in many areas of North America, Europe, Japan and even in Siberia. As a result of climatic changes and glaciation, the coast redwood now grows naturally only in a narrow belt about 40 miles wide and 450 miles long, extending from the southwestern edge of Oregon to southern Monterey County. Some of the most spectacular portions of coast redwood forest remain in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
Picnic and restroom facilities are available here. A leisurely twenty minute loop trail begins here as well.
A movement to protect ancient redwoods began in the 1800s. In 1864, the Mariposa Grove of redwoods was set aside in Yosemite. In 1902, the California Legislature set aside an area of redwoods now known as Big Basin State Park near Santa Cruz. This was our first state park.
Humboldt Redwoods was the first northcoast redwood park to be established through the efforts of the Save-the-Redwoods League in 1921.
When large trees fall in the forest, they can take hundreds of years to decay. Many species of insects, amphibians and mammals use them for shelter or food. As the trees continue to decompose they can store large amounts of water and release nutrients which other trees tap into for food.
The Bolling Grove was the first Memorial grove purchased for what is now Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It was dedicated in 1921.
The newly formed Save-The-Redwoods League made this purchase in order to "rescue from destruction representative areas of our primeval forests."
This Grove was the first of a rich legacy that has been a major factor of the preservation of "this titan race" that continues to grow to this day.
There are over 130 groves within Humboldt Redwoods State Park, many of which you will see as you drive along the Avenue. The grove dedication process is still continuing. Contributions may be made for groves or single trees. For more information contact the Visitor Center or park headquarters.
On the river side of the Avenue you can locate a tree with many burls and near it another tree that has a unique growth technique. Two trees have grown together for the lower 26 feet. At the 42 foot height the trees have again grown together.
This sign indicates the high water mark from the 1964 flood. The townsite of Weott used to be here, but most buildings were washed away in the flood.
During the 1964 flood, water was more than 33 feet above the road at this location. Heavy winter rainfall is a prominent feature of the redwood region, as are summer fogs that keep moisture in the air for the trees to use. Though the average rainfall in this area is 65 inches, amounts of as much as 120 inches have been recorded.
The flood of 1964 occurred in a relatively average rainfall year. Other factors brought the disaster to a climax. Snow had fallen in the mountains just before several days of very heavy rainfall came. Since much of the Eel River watershed had been logged, rainwater and snowmelt quickly ran off into the river. The river channels that historically were deep, had silted in and could not hold the volume of water that came roaring down. The highest tide of the year held back the river water near the mouth of the Eel 35 miles away. Residents of Weott saw their town, once thriving, lose 54 buildings. Virtually all those buildings left standing in the low areas were damaged. The small towns of Myers Flat and Pepperwood were devastated and several lives were lost. A sign showing the high water mark of 1964 is located at the corner of the Avenue and Newton Road.
From Dyerville Overlook, you can see the railroad bridge over the forks of the Eel River. This bridge had two spans washed away in the 1964 flood.
As you look down to the river you can see the junction of the South Fork with the main stem of the Eel River. The Eel River was named for a fish with an eel-like appearance called a lamprey. Lamprey can often be seen in April and May when they migrate into the river from the ocean to spawn.
Fishing for salmon and steelhead can be an exciting experience in the fall and winter. More sportsmen are practicing catch and release fishing to help reduce the decline in the populations of these beautiful fish. High summertime river temperatures preclude a year around trout fishery in the Eel River.
A worthwhile side trip from here would be to turn West on the road into the Rockefeller Forest 1/4 mile south of this stop. The Mattole Road winds picturesquely for six miles through this magnificent forest. There are two parking areas (Bull Creek Flats and Big Trees Area) that give access to trails in the forest. Covering more than 10,000 acres, this is the largest remaining Ancient Redwood forest in the world. The forest gives one a glimpse of what much of the North Coast looked like hundreds of years ago.
Whichever way you travel the Avenue, we hope your trip will be enlightened and enjoyable. Please come to stay at Humboldt Redwoods State Park anytime of the year. Each season reveals a new wonder in these redwood forests.
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