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Redwood National Park - California

1968 to 1978 was a monumental period for the Californians who had campaigned -- for many years -- for the preservation of the state's redwood forests. On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson created Redwood National Park, 50,000 acres of supreme old-growth forest land in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

Then the battles began in earnest, and for ten years the Save the Redwoods League and lumbering interests struggled to gain the upper hand for further preservation, or lumbering. In 1978, President Carter signed the Redwood National Park Expansion Act, which increased the size of the park to 106,000 acres. Redwood National Park is an unusual combination of federal and state interests. The national park includes three self-contained state parks: Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Redwoods, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods.

The whole area had been occupied for millennia by several Indian tribes. The Karok were inland people, living on the upper reaches of the rivers, which flow through the park. The Yurok lived along the shoreline and the Hupa lived where the Klamath and Trinity rivers meet. There were Indian Wars in the area until around 1870 with massacres and bad feeling all-around.

The main visitor center for Redwood National Park is to the west of the highway at Freshwater Lagoon, south of the town of Orick. This is a good spot to reserve campsites in state parks and to obtain hiking trail maps for the national park. The northern park office is located in downtown Crescent City, just a block east of Highway 101. Along the way there are interpretation centers in each of the state parks.

While there are campgrounds in the three state parks, there is no developed camping on federal lands. There are no lodgings within the park at all, and visitors to the park who wish to stay in motels and lodges stay in the Eureka/Arcata area, in Orick and Klamath, or in or near Crescent City at the northern end of the park. There are hiking trails throughout the forests, including the southern national park areas. The south information center on Hwy. 101 is your best location for trail information in the area. Bus tours leave the center for the Tall Trees Trails, which are southeast of Orick, as is the Redwood Creek Trail.

For those who wish to take a complete vacation hiking the length of the national park, the Coastal Trail begins off Hwy. 101 west of Lady Bird Johnson Grove and follows the Pacific Coast, ending at Enders Beach, just south of Crescent City. There are campsites along the way, and the trail ranges in difficulty from Class 1 (easy) to Class 5.

The state parks contained within the federal parklands offer campgrounds and other visitor services. These three parks have their own information centers and have camping accommodations.

For camping reservations at state park campgrounds in the area, call 800-444-PARK, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.

For Information on the three state parks
within the national park, go to:
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Del Norte Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

For information on the Trinidad area, just south of the parks, go to the North Humboldt Coast Page.  

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