[See large on black. Click on photo.] I was here not long ago as part of my California tour....starting close to home, in Mendocino. The experience of this kind of unique habitat......such a majestic presence and utterly peaceful. Mountains are majestic of course, but to be among these kinds of trees is like nothing else I know.
Until the mid 1800's much of the coastal Pacific Northwest of the U.S. was covered with these huge redwoods that had been growing untouched for millenia. Then the Gold Rush of 1848 brought thousands of young men to the West Coast, seeking their fortune. One of these discovered the pristine forests of the north, laid claim to the Mendocino Headlands and began a redwood sawmill operation. It was not long before more settlers arrived, the native Americans inhabiting these lands were either killed or rounded up into so-called 'reservations' and - in a matter of just decades - the forests were cut down and milled, then shipped down the coast of California to build the city of San Francisco, as well as railroads in Mexico and Latin America.
Again in the late 1900's these trees were sought after and cut by corporations who had no qualms about destroying hundreds of watersheds in Northern California. In order to try to slow down the destruction, the Forests Forever initiative was created in Mendocino County, initiated and shepherded by John Lewallen of the Green Party. Dedicated conservationists across California worked hard to get the signatures required to place it on the state ballot. Californians were then deluged by a blitzkrieg of tv commercials and magazine ads that the logging corporations paid for to defeat the initiative. Although many Californians would have supported the initiative they were mislead by the barrage of anti-environmentalism. It was a sad day indeed when the measure lost, preventing the precautionary principle from being implemented and allowing the continued destruction of these mighty forests.
Now there are only a few protected groves of the old growth trees left. Montgomery Woods is one of these treasured and rare stands of trees. A magical place.
Montgomery Woods: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_Woods_State_Reserve
Sequoia semperverins: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia_sempervirens