Redwoods, specifically the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), have ancient origins dating back to the Jurassic Period, around 160 million years ago.
They are often referred to as “living fossils” due to their longevity. The California redwoods are native to the coastal regions of northern California and southern Oregon. Coast Redwoods thrive in the foggy, coastal climate, while Giant Sequoias are found in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. During the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, there was a significant demand for lumber to support the booming population. This led to extensive logging of the redwood forests, and many old-growth trees were harvested for timber.
Recognizing the need to preserve these magnificent trees, conservationists like John Muir played a crucial role in advocating for the protection of redwood groves. In 1902, the establishment of Muir Woods National Monument marked an early effort to conserve coastal redwoods. Formed in 1918, this nonprofit organization has been instrumental in the protection and restoration of redwood forests. Through fundraising and land acquisition, the league has contributed significantly to the preservation of these ecosystems.
Over the years, various state and national parks were established to protect redwood groves. Notable examples include Redwood National and State Parks, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Despite conservation efforts, redwood forests face ongoing threats, including logging (though more sustainable practices are now in place), climate change, and habitat fragmentation. Today, California redwoods stand as a testament to the enduring beauty of nature and the importance of conservation efforts in preserving these ancient giants for future generations.
One of the tallest redwood trees in California is on the coast and is named Hyperion. This tree was discovered in 2006 in Redwood National Park. It stands at an astonishing height of 379.7 feet. That is one massive tree! If you visit the coast, be sure to go to Armstrong Woods and view these amazing trees.