From the Redwood Forests
June 29, 2013

From The Redwood Forests…

On June 9, 2013, I wrote about Great Basin National Park because I am out west traveling and experiencing our country. I do this yearly, and this year I wanted to write about it to inspire others to explore some of these places. If we do not value them, then we risk losing them. In an effort to promote these important parks, I adjusted my route a bit so that I could once again make it to Redwood National and State Parks, which includes the Redwood forests that Woody Guthrie describes in his famous song ‘This Land Is Your Land.’

Like Great Basin National Park, Redwood National and State Parks both have free entrance; however, some of the State park recreational areas have day use fees, and the campgrounds all have camping fees. But the Redwood National and State Parks system host many activities that one can engage in so even the $8 daily use fee is well worth it. Most of the fees apply only to the Redwood State Park portions.

Within the parks, hiking and biking abound. Trails spider all over the parks through Redwood trees where the scenes are simply indescribable in their beauty. It feels almost like you have stepped into another time period in Earth’s history. Beyond the ancient giants, the Redwood National and State Parks are home to ferns and rhododendrons from periods past. And the parks have blooming flowers all year round.

On the whole, Redwoods are the tallest living beings on the planet. In some regards, they are an immortal species because their thick bark resists insects, disease, and fire and they are incredibly hearty. They may take centuries to grow, but they live long, long lives. Not only that, but they are simply stunning in their beauty. You can see a bit of their awesome vista in the picture that accompanies this article. I tried to highlight just how stunning they are by standing underneath a little cluster to take the picture. I hope you, dear readers, get the idea.

Beyond simply appreciating the plants and trees, the Redwood Parks have other activities. National Geographic’s Road Atlas explains that the park has more than 160 miles of hiking trails as well as pull outs accessible by car. Two of the most impressive are the Tall Trees Grove, which is accessible via automobile, and the one-mile long walk-through hike to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. If exploring on your own does not interest you, then the parks have ranger-guided tours available, too.

The parks also have four state-run campgrounds throughout that are open all year around. So, you can set up a base camp and then go explore the trails either by foot, bike, or car.

The Redwood National and State Parks run parallel to the ocean coast. In some cases, you are less than a mile from the beach, so you can experience several different ecosystems filled with different plants and animals. As the Nat Geo Road Atlas states, June to September are the park’s busy time, so a late fall, winter, or early spring trip would make it a more private trip.

The parks provide a perfect background for photographers, artists, writers, scientists (both professional and novice), nature lovers, and just lovers of beauty as a whole. They are free for general admission and the daily use fees are less than the cost of a movie. These parks are definitely worth a visit.

Image Credit: Rayshell Clapper

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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