Membership Happenings and Newsletters

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Members of Redwood Parks Conservancy: 

- Receive our quarterly member newsletter The Redwood Review with RPC project updates and announcements;

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- Receive a 15% discount anytime in our online park store by entering "RPCMember" in the coupon box at check out.

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Latest Newsletter

Fall 2019 Newsletter

 

Message from the Director



I love this time of year. The busy summer months have passed, and we can start to cozy up and reflect on all of the impacts our organization has had. From educational programs to habitat restoration, our team worked tirelessly this year to support our redwood parks and the people who enjoy them.

Perhaps you’re reading this newsletter after returning home from your summer excursion to the redwood coast. Or maybe you’re one of our devoted friends here in our local communities. Either way, you’ve likely met our dedicated employees and volunteers in any of six visitor centers in and around Redwood National and State Parks. So far this year, our staff and volunteers have spent over 15,000 hours serving park visitors along their journeys. We also provided over 900 educational and interpretive items in park stores for our visitors to enjoy.

Over the last few years, we’ve been broadening our scope beyond visitor services to accommodate the growing needs of the agencies we support. In 2019 alone, we’ve provided over $113,000 to support a variety of exciting projects including educational programs that highlight the history and culture of local Tribes; habitat restoration for the endangered Oregon Silverspot Butterfly; the Junior Lifeguard program along our state beaches; the repair and maintenance of popular trails; scientific research on the Redwood Creek watershed and so much more. But our work doesn’t stop there. We’re always identifying new and resourceful ways to support our parks and public lands on California’s far north coast.

I’m also excited to share some big news. Thanks to donors and supporters like you, construction on the Grove of Titans has officially begun! We’ve spent the last three years raising funds and awareness for this important restoration project, and I’m so proud to be watching it come together. Read more about this project inside.

Thank you for your ongoing support for Redwood Parks Conservancy. We cannot do any of this work without you.

Sincerely,

Joanna Di Tommaso

Executive Director

Grove of Titans Project Begins!

It has been more than a two-year journey to come to this day: the Grove of Titans project broke ground officially on November 6, 2019. The project in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park will restore and give safe, ecologically-sensitive access to the group of ancient trees dubbed the “Grove of Titans.”

This is possible thanks to many of you, the 542 donors who gave to the Grove of Titans project through Redwood Parks Conservancy, and others who took up the cause through Save the Redwoods League. The public-private partnership has received support from agencies that contributed money, time, science and expertise and our partners at the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service.

Construction has started on a 1,300 foot elevated walkway through the Grove and vital trail re-building on the Mill Creek Trail leading to it. The 3-year, $3.5-million renovation project will establish official, safe access to the Grove, provide ecosystem protections for the trees, visitor services and amenities, including a new restroom facility where the Mill Creek Trail meets Howland Hill Road.

The project was conceived to provide environmentally sensitive access to the Grove and adjacent forest. Thousands of visitors have been finding their way on “social trails” or unofficial pathways since the location of the Grove was first shared in print and online in 1998, which has caused considerable damage over time.

Jedediah Smith Park’s Mill Creek Trail will be closed from Howland Hill Road to the Smith River for the duration of the construction, estimated to be complete in Spring 2021. Also, the Grove of Titans area will be fenced off for visitors’ safety.

As Brett Silver, California State Park’s Deputy District Superintendent, North Coast Redwoods District said in the official press release, “I know it will be frustrating for people not to have access during this extended construction period. We ask all visitors for their patience and cooperation as we work to preserve and protect this incredible place for future generations to enjoy.”

Thank you all

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Member Spotlight: Wei and Lisa

"Thank you Redwood Parks Conservancy for being a steward of this wonderful land. Our recent experience in the parks made us more appreciative of the effort required to take care of this spot on Earth. Please accept our donation along with my company's additional matching contribution. We wish you the best in preserving this precious gem so generations after us can continue to enjoy and marvel. We can't wait to visit the giant redwoods again."-Lisa and Wei from Los Angeles

In 2018 and 2019, Wei and Lisa have have donated to RPC to support the parks they love. Wei was able to use his employer’s charitable matching program to double the impact of his family’s gifts.To find out if your employer offers a matching gift program, contact the company’s HR department.

Running the “Run in the Redwoods 5K”



Shelby Chambers

On October 5th, friends of the redwood forest flocked to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to participate in the 6th Annual Run in the Redwoods. As the sun shined down on the prairie, 113 runners made their way to the start line, a record number. Over the past three years I had worked behind the scenes, RPC’s trusty Administrative Assistant, keeping time and cheering runners on as they crossed the finish line. This year, I challenged myself to participate in a different way. I wanted to understand these runners who turn up every year — why is event so important to them? What does it take to complete the course? Why do so many come back again and again? I was going to run in the 5K.

I wish I could say my few years hiking and backpacking in the park was enough to prepare me for this event. A simple 3.1 miles was nothing compared to the 11+ miles I was logging on the weekends, right? Wrong. The first time I attempted to run the course reality hit: the forest and trails are less forgiving when you are travelling at speed. I had hiked this trail many times, but that didn’t save me from the tree root that seemingly popped out of nowhere and left me with many bruises and my socks full of redwood duff. I took a few days to recover from the fall and returned with a little more respect for what I was facing. I continued to train as often as I could. Encounters with wildlife along the trail were quite regular, there were a lot of times I rerouted path to avoid elk or a family of black-tailed deer. I was surprised how much trail runners need to be aware of while they are out in the forest.

I woke up on the day of the run feeling extremely excited. As the runners and walkers made our way down the parkway to the start of the course, I talked to entrants who had travelled hundreds of miles to attend. One runner shared she had so much fun last year, she was able to convince her whole family to run this year. It was nice to hear the event had provided so much joy to people from all over the country. Moments later, we lined up at the start, waited for the signal, and took off into the forest. Despite this being a race, you could hear runners encouraging each other throughout, with shouts of “You can do it!” and “Keep going!” It was amazing to see people coming together to complete the course, and ultimately, support this amazing place we are so lucky to enjoy. As event wrapped up with an awards ceremony, prizes, good food, and good company, I reflected on all the amazing people who support the Redwood Parks Conservancy. Seeing my fellow runners have fun in the park for a good cause demonstrated the common goal we all share: to support the health and future of the redwood forest for generations to come.

LEIFFER TRAIL: Beauty Enhances Beauty

Jedediah Smith State Park - 

Mike Caldwell, RPC Volunteer and Board Member

About half a mile down Walker Road, past the Simpson-Reed trailhead, is the newly reconstructed Leiffer trail. The Leiffer trail, at just under a mile in length, silently wends through an isolated and majestic portion of Jed Smith State Park. 

Melody and her crew of State Parks trail builders have been working for almost two years to completely upgrade the lower section of this trail. The crew estimates they will finish up some last details before the end of the year. When completed, the trail will be ADA-compliant and suitable for wheelchairs.  Presently the trail is walkable and open; and I recommend you check it out. 

Not only is the forest ancient and magnificent, the stonework bridge supports and crossings the trail crew have installed harkens back to road construction methods of days of yore.  This adds to the timelessness of your experience. The trail crew have meticulously selected from their rock piles and then, have chiseled individual stones fitting them into place by hand so expertly that cement is not needed to hold them. The trail is still primarily compacted crushed granite but to get over streams or bog areas, the crew have built structurally elegant stonework armored crossings, causeways, and bridges.





The three armored crossings are designed to let the water flow over the top and not wash out with big rain events. In addition to the armored crossings, five bridges and a boardwalk were erected over the larger creeks.  Even these structures are beautiful and built to last. The trail at either end of the bridges gently rises supported on more stonework for the foundation and curbs for the trail. The trail crew’s proudest accomplishment is a 171-foot raised causeway and its attractive stone abutments.

The trail builders are extremely proud of their work making this beautiful trail safe for public access; and they got to work in the stunning setting, a win-win situation. Job satisfaction for the crew where beauty enhances beauty. I heartily recommend you put Leiffer Trail at or near the top of your list of gentle hikes, great explores, with the added visual delight of attractive stone masonry.

When you come to the end of the trail you are back on Walker Road about a mile from the Simpson-Reed trail. Parking is available at either end if you prefer to drive to the trailhead.

Little Things: Helping Educate with Stuffed Animals and Hula Hoops



RPC donors and members help support a lot of big projects (see Grove of Titans above!) but the little things we fund make a big difference too.

Angela Edmonds is a California State Parks Interpreter, an educator that shares her knowledge with park visitors. Edmunds’ field of expertise is California’s underwater parks, called Marine Protected Areas or MPAs. She leads programs with our park visitors as well as students around the country and the world through the state’s distance learning program, PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students), teaching about how MPAs protect marine life off California’s coast. Nine MPAs are located offshore of the public lands that RPC serves.

Angie Edmunds giving a PORTS program about Marine Protected Areas with props purchased by RPC. Students in Jonathan Silverman’s class at Los Cerritos Elementary School in South San Francisco

 watch live video of Edmunds at a beach near Redwood National and State Parks.

Angie came to RPC this spring with a small problem. She needed props to teach kids about how Marine Protected Areas work, but buying things through the state could take weeks or months. She didn’t have time to wait, with both in-park and online programs coming up. 

RPC staff jumped into action, sourcing a dozen marine animal stuffies and other tools to show children and adults how MPAs protect marine environments.

This spring and summer Edmunds has presented 50 campfire programs and other face-to-face presentations as well as 30 PORTS programs beamed directly to classrooms. With help from RPC donors these programs have reached 2,120 students and park visitors. Thank you for helping us do the big things and the little things.

State Parks Interpreter Angie Edmunds showing students how Marine Protected Areas (represented by hula hoops) can protect marine life by giving animals connected sanctuaries.

 

RPC Funds Junior Lifeguard Program in Del Norte



Shelby Chambers

There are an array of ocean and river activities available along the North Coast. Hobbies like agate hunting, tide pool exploration, and surfing are typical weekend family activities. While coastal activities are easily accessible, residents and visitors also face higher potential for hazardous conditions due to our steep beaches, colder water, and unpredictable weather. These hazards prompted the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) to provide a program to educate local communities on the realities of living and playing along the coast. That program, Junior Lifeguards, has now expanded to Del Norte County with Redwood Parks Conservancy’s help.

North Coast Junior Lifeguard training session at Trinidad State Beach

In 2016, CDPR began their first session of the North Coast Junior Lifeguard Program at Trinidad State Beach. “The whole idea behind our program is to get community youth to be water safe,” program coordinator Dillon Cleavenger explains, “how to live near and even recreate in an extremely rough ocean with respect to the dangers.”

Youth are trained in rescue techniques, general first aid, and CPR. The course also emphasizes the importance of physical well being and gives trainees opportunities to participate in safe water recreation. As part of RPC’s education mission, we were awarded  a $10,000 grant from the Simpson Family Foundation in 2018 to help fund the program.

Since then, session enrollment has steadily increased. Due to this high enrollment and an outpouring of community support, the program expanded into Del Norte County this year, holding its first session in Crescent City.

Redwood Parks Conservancy earmarked $5,000, along with a $1,000 donation from a generous community member for the expansion to Del Norte county. “(We wanted) to set up Junior Lifeguards in the last unguarded coast in California,” Cleavenger explained. 

The first Del Norte session trained 20 youth at Crescent Beach, a spot popular with local families. Anticipating growth of the Del Norte program, RPC applied for funding and was granted $2000 grant from Pacific Power Foundation for 2020. 

Supporters of RPC make educational programs like Junior Lifeguard possible. We look forward to the continued success of the program, giving young people tools for their lives and the safety and enjoyment of people in their communities.



State Parks Interpreter works with Junior Lifeguard students

Tolowa Dunes Stewards: Bringing the Dunes to Life

Since 2003, a small band of volunteers, the Tolowa Dunes Stewards (TDS) have dedicated themselves to restoration, conservation and education in Tolowa Dunes State Park and the adjacent Lake Earl Wildlife Area. Tolowa Dunes State Park hugs the northern coast of California, just to the west of Jedediah Smith State Park. The park is part of a vast dunes and wetlands complex of public land that encompasses 11,000 acres known as the Tolowa Coast. Made up of open sand and forested dunes, hidden freshwater ponds and streams, grassy meadows, a large estuarine lagoon, and 11 miles of undeveloped coastline, it is home to a rich diversity of habitats and native species.  

With support from Redwood Parks Conservancy, TDS just completed their 16th summer of Tolowa Coast Nature Programs and activities. The group produced 23 educational nature and restoration programs, one on every Sunday from May through September. These activities ranged from restoration projects pulling invasive European Beach Grass, to cultural presentations on the indigenous Tolowa Dee-ni’ people. Expert presenters and scientists gave slide presentations and led field trips on wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, geology and on the variety of other natural resources. 

 

There were 563 guests at the programs, from the very young, to retired people, families and college-aged explorers. A cross section of citizens from Del Norte, Curry, and Humboldt Counties attend, and the programs attract Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) campers and visitors from around the world. This gives visitors a way to augment their redwood experience by introducing them to other natural areas and unique features of our region.

 

On your next spring or summer visit to our redwood parks, check the Tolowa Dunes Stewards schedule of tours and programs. Add to your own adventure and take advantage of the educational activities RPC supports.

 



 

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