Who doesn’t like a challenge? Regardless if you have walked amongst, heard of, or are now just learning about, who doesn’t want to support a natural wonder that’s called “The Grove of Titans”. What’s in a name, right? Located in Northern California adjacent to Jediadiah Smith Redwoods State Park within the greater Redwood National and State Parks, The Grove of Titans lives up to it’s a namesake. Home to ten of the world’s largest trees, this ancient redwood grove is unmapped and to date absent of a trail network. Secrecy has long been the recipe to protect the world’s tallest known tree, The Last Monarch, amongst its brethren. Unfortunately, the secret is no more. The allure of mystery coupled with the majesty of these hidden titans have inspired curious footprints that have multiplied into a vast network of "social trails" that have damaged the forest floor and the delicate root systems of these magnificent organisms.
Photo Credit: Max Forster
The beauty of our park system is epitomized by the recently unveiled plan to reverse the growing damage of the grove and safeguard this treasure for generations to come. First, Redwood National Park and State Parks is the model for federal and state partnership in conservation. Partnership is never perfect, but the seamless visitor experience one has despite varying jurisdictions cannot be understated coupled with the combined reach of resources and support. Perfect examples being the Redwood Parks Conservancy and Save the Redwoods League. Combined, California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, the National Park Service, and Redwood Parks Conservancy are pressure testing the status quo on behalf of the Grove of Titans.
Rather sitting back and naively ignoring the power of the internet, its ability to unlock secret locations, and inspire the undeterred intrepid explorer, these organizations collectively are taking a page from their own book. Some could interpret as admitting to defeat from past policy while others will recognize the wisdom of action. By joining forces, the partners will protect this sensitive habitat by in parallel creating a memorable experience for its visitors. Leveraging the popular Stout Grove as the perfect example, this outstanding and by all means popular redwood grove is trafficked by dozens (or even hundreds) daily yet is thriving. Access is core to the magic of our National Parks and public lands and the same 180-degree bet is being made to conserve the Grove of Titans.
With an estimated cost of $3.5 million and completion date of July 2021, the project to take back the Grove of Titans from unwelcome footsteps will establish official, safe access to the grove, ecosystem protections for the trees, and all necessary visitor services and amenities. What does this look like? You can read more about the project and its timeline here, but in short, research, elevated walkways, restoration of unofficial social trails, and interpretive programming and materials.
Photo Credit: Max Forster
Have mixed feelings? Paul Ringgold, chief program officer for the Save the Redwoods League said it best, “The situation at the Grove of Titans demonstrates the delicate balance that sometimes must be struck between public access and protection. Visitation to our public redwood parks is a benefit for all and is essential to the long-term conservation of redwood ecosystems: People need to experience the beauty and power of these magnificent trees to understand the necessity of conserving them. But when unregulated visitation threatens specific groves, we must identify ways to eliminate the impacts without eliminating visitor enjoyment. The plans we’ve developed for the Grove of Titans do just that.”
To kickstart phase 1 of the effort, our long-time trusted partner, Redwood Parks Conservancy, is teaming up with the Save the Redwoods League to help promote a dollar-for-dollar match challenge upwards to $25,000 through the end of the year. One doesn’t have to experience the tranquility and humbling power of old-growth redwoods to appreciate what they offer to wilderness, mind, and body…from simply knowing they are there. Join us in supporting this wonderful cause. Our 4 the Parks donations are once again hard at work. Together, let’s live up to the challenge and give the gift of the Grove of Titans this Holiday season. Spread the word, contribute your generosity, and pay tribute 4 the Parks to where legacy roams. Contributions towards the challenge can be made directly here.
Redwood Parks Conservancy (RPC) is a non-profit cooperating association established to foster understanding, enjoyment, and stewardship of our public lands through educational outreach, visitor services, and support of our partners entrusted with the care of public lands along California’s north coast. Proceeds from sales at visitor centers and our online store are returned to the parks to fund special events, exhibits, signs, and publications, including the Redwood National and State Parks visitor guide. Become a member here.
Save the Redwoods League is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and restore California redwoods and connect people to the peace and beauty of redwood forests. The League protects redwoods by purchasing redwood forests and the surrounding land needed to nurture them. The organization restores redwood forests by innovating science and technology that can improve stewardship and accelerate forest regeneration. And by protecting more than 200,000 acres and helping to create 66 redwood parks and preserves, the League builds connections among people and the redwood forests. Donate here.