by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Prairie Creek Redwoods

Park Brochure

brochure Prairie Creek Redwoods - Park Brochure
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. In Fern Canyon, earth-fragrant morning mists silence the lush greenery, while distant bird songs blend with the California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (707) 465-7335. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Redwood National and State Parks 127011 Newton B. Drury Parkway Orick, CA 95555 (707) 465-7335 Cover photo courtesy of Save The Redwoods Photo Archives © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) rippling sounds of nearby Home Creek. A long California’s rocky north coast, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park offers sandy beaches and open meadows grazed by herds of Roosevelt elk. Ferns appear to flow like a green waterfall down steep canyon walls, and old-growth redwoods stand in primeval majesty. Summer brings morning fog, which usually burns off by midday. Winter rains bring needed water to the redwoods and ferns. PARK HISTORY Native California Indians Yurok people have lived in and around today’s Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park for generations. The temperate climate and abundant wildlife of the north coast promoted a culturally rich way of life that continues today. Yurok people built villages of redwood planks along major waterways. Traveling by dugout canoe, they fished for salmon. They also hunted elk, deer, and other small game and gathered plants. In 1850, when gold was found near today’s Fern Canyon, the Yurok people were overwhelmed by an influx of settlers. Conflict over the land took many forms. The native people were hunted down; any who survived the attacks were forced onto reservations. Newly introduced diseases further decimated their numbers. Today, the Yurok have made a remarkable recovery. As the most populous tribe in California, nearly 5,500 Yurok live in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Tribal members are building a future by revitalizing their ancestral language and traditions based on customs of the past. Settling the North Coast The first marine explorers along the Humboldt-Del Norte coast were Spaniard Bartolome Ferrelo in 1543, Englishman Sir Francis Drake in 1579, and Spaniard Sebastian Vizcaíno in 1602. The first shore landing, near Trinidad Head, was made by Bruno Hezeta and Juan Bodega in 1775. In May 1850, miners crossing today’s Gold Bluffs Beach saw bits of gold in the sand. Removing the gold proved too laborious, so the prospectors moved on. Yurok plank houses near Trinidad Illustration by J. Goldsborough Bruff ca. 1851 However, settlers needed raw materials to build their homes and towns. By the 1890s, several short-line railroads and steam donkeys had helped create a boom in commercial logging. Lumber quickly became the west’s top industry  —  Eureka alone had nine sawmills. By the end of the 19th century, farms, ranches, and dairies had been developed along the north coast. Today, several of these historical dairies remain a vital part of the north coast’s economy. Conservation and State Parks Between 1880 and the early 1900s, thousands of acres of old-growth redwoods had disappeared; in many areas, the trees had been cut to the bare ground. Alarmed, conservationists established the Save the Redwoods League in 1918 to protect the groves, obtaining donations from lumber companies and concerned citizens. The League and the State of California were able to buy thousands of acres adjoining Prairie Creek. By 1923, some of the grandest old-growth tree stands on the planet had been acquired by the State. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a national work program, began during the Great Depression of the 1930s. CCC members built themselves a camp at Elk Prairie, where they lived while building the present visitor center, trail system, campground, and picnic facilities. Redwood National and State Parks In October 1968, the National Park Service (NPS) created Redwood National Park in Del Norte and Humboldt counties. On September 5, 1980, the United Nations designated Redwood National and State Parks as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. In 1994, NPS and California State Parks agreed to co-manage four parks: Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks, and Redwood National Park. Both entities agreed that managing the parks together would ensure commitment to greater protection and preservation of more than 105,000 acres of redwood forest. NATURAL HISTORY Coast redwoods have existed along the north coast for about 20 million years. Ever- present coastal fog meets about one-third of their annual water needs. Experts fear that Earth’s changing climate endangers the redwoods’ survival as temperatures increase and coastal fog diminishes. The redwoods and the “soil mats” of leaf litter that collect in the redwood canopy support a variety of other plants and animals. Coast Douglas-fir also grows among the Sitka spruce, tanoaks, oaks, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Fern Canyon This spectacular, shady canyon’s 50-foot walls, draped with seven kinds of ferns, resemble a hanging garden. Prairie Creek’s Fern Canyon is draped in mounds of fivefinger, deer, lady, sword and chain ferns. The canyon’s restful quiet is broken only by far-off bird songs and the distant sound of breaking waves. Northern red-legged frog Wildlife Many species — including brown bats, red squirrels, black bears, and even coyotes — feed on berries. In this deep, rich soil, salamanders and slugs thrive. Mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats hunt at night for black-tailed deer, elk, and small game. Endangered marbled murrelets (closely related to puffins) nest in old-growth redwood trees. Since corvids (crows, ravens, and jays) prey upon murrelet eggs and chicks, do not feed wildlife or drop food or scraps. Photo courtesy of Brian Reub Double-crested and pelagic cormorants, common murres, and surf scoters can be seen off the coast, while federally threatened Western snowy plovers, gulls, great blue herons, and peregrine falcons fly along Gold Bluffs Beach. Western garter snakes, Roosevelk elk roam free in the park meadows. northern red-legged frogs and rough-skinned newts are common. Look Backcountry hikers can park at the lot for Pacific gray whales and dolphins offshore. near the visitor center. Hikers and their California sea lions, harbor seals, and Steller cars must show a free backcountry permit, sea lions lie on rocks just off the coast. available at Kuchel Visitor Center in Orick. Roosevelt Elk Once teetering on the brink of extinction, the Roosevelt elk now thrive in their habitat. During the elks’ mating season — six weeks from August to October  —  the air resounds with the calls of bulls challenging each other for mating rights. Bull elk and cows with calves can be extremely dangerous. Approaching elk is not only hazardous, it is also against state law. When taking pictures, please stay on trails, use a telephoto lens or purchase postcards at park headquarters. Boyes Prairie, commonly used by one of the park’s elk herds, is closed to visitors. For your safety and that of the elk, do not veer off any trails while hiking or cycling. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES Trails  —  The park’s 75 miles of trails are rated from very easy to strenuous. The “Trails” chart on the map shows mileage and degree of difficulty. Use caution and bring water. Camping  —  Elk Prairie Campground has 75 family sites and hike/bike sites. For reservations, call (800) 444-7275 or visit Gold Bluffs Beach Campground has 26 tent or RV sites and three non-reservable environmental sites. RVs more than 8’ wide or 24’ long may not use Davison Road or Coastal Drive. No hookups or sanitation stations are available. Call (707) 488-2171 for camping updates. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Camping  —  Elk Prairie has three accessible sites, restrooms, showers, and travel paths. Gold Bluffs Beach is hard-packed, not paved. Trails  —  Big Tree Trail: 0.3 mile. Trailhead north of Big Tree lot. Roadside parking. Prairie Creek Trail: 1.5 miles. Trailhead off Newton B. Drury Parkway. Revelation Trail: interpretive 0.25 mile; accommodates visually impaired users. Be kind to the forest and stay on the trails. Elk Prairie Trail: 1.3-mile loop from Visitor Center. For accessibility updates and details, visit NEARBY STATE PARKS • Patrick’s Point State Park 4150 Patrick’s Point Dr., Trinidad 95570 (707) 677-3570 • Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP, 7 miles south of Crescent City off Highway 101 (707) 465-7335 PLEASE REMEMBER • Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet long and must be confined to a tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on trails. • Natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed. • Never approach elk or other wild animals. • Do not feed wildlife. Keep a clean camp; store food and scented items in lockers. • All firearms are prohibited. • Help keep your park clean and litter free. If you bring it in, take it back out. 600 0 6 00 St at e Park 101 tur R ed Trail Creek T Brown r Brown 80 0 on ar kw 60 ton Trail ia 0 60 Fo o Tra thil il l Trail air Tra il Pr s ie ye Creek on 600 Bo h Rd Rhodo de n 0 200 400 Creek ie Prair Elk Prairie Campground 101 tal Trail Co as 400 ek 200 Davis 0 400 200 to to Davison Rd Eureka 2 miles 48 miles 600 600 0 60 R E D W O O D N AT I O N A L P A R K Trail 40 400 200 to US 101 3.5 miles Davis on C al i fo r n on Rd 200 1400 1200 Ca thedral Tree s Tr ai l 0 40 60 200 dr 200 0 elow y yP rur BD wt Ne 1600 0 k 0 Big Tree Wayside 400 400 Davison Road is limited to vehicles with a maximum length of 24 feet and width of 8 feet. No trailers 0 0 l Trail 00 80 il Tra Trail C oasta 10 Creek Clin 0 20 ie l Rd ee 20 il Tra Cr k d ee oo Cr dw ge an Cal Barre 20 Stre 00 16 Trail 200 00 14 400 Creek 00 12 No trailers or RVs year round; no vehicles in winter Go sh o r n ia rk thill Foo Prair Ridge r’s Trail ine ua Ca l i f 10 il Tra ay Fo Elk May 200 120 il Tra yP t es M il Tra Beac il ur Zig Tra zag il # 1 Dr This park receives support in part through the nonprofit Redwood Parks Conservancy 1111 Second Street Crescent City, CA 95531 (707) 464-9150 18 Cre ia Davison Tra 1000 B 0 e Sq Entrance Kiosk k 1200 Circle Trail P 200 ee Creek R Corkscrew Tree Trail P Cr Ah Pah 0 Bo Ridg Frie nd s 0 400 wt 40 dg ine rv Ri il see detail map Creek 00 800 endron dod ho Ne r’s Tr a 400 200 00 12 80 ek Cre ek Cre at Bo at il i ne I (Fee area) jor Rd ark irie Tr 00 10 0 60 Tr South Ri d Entrance Kiosk Ma Elk Pra Tra il e ek Cr le i tt rnia C Califo 20 Zigza Trail g #2 a Tr 0 1.5 Kilometers Espa Lagoon nd ail 10 Cr ee k Newton B Te n on k 40 es M 1.0 Weitchpec 96 00 00 r h odod e n dr W 1.0 Miles 0.5 Pa h a il ail 0 400 0.5 ive nR 14 Ah PA R K ee 0 60 P 169 101 REDWOOD NP il Tra CREA Showers Jam Orick Patricks Point SP to Eureka mo il Tra ron 00 S al nd r de 1200 ive do R 60 Trail ine rv eek s I e Cr om H 400 400 10 101 PA R K KLAMATH NF Somes Bar Orleans eek 0 WILDERNESS Seasonal Bridge 200 Del Norte Creek 1 00 Redwoods0SP hR N AT I O N A L Cr 60 Restrooms 400 Crescent City Prairie Creek Redwoods SP REDWOOD an l r m rai oo T M ond P o Rh Happy Camp Gasquet Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP m at 0 199 SIX RIVERS NF Pacific Ocean Requa Klamath S TAT E me 200 Ranger Station 0 il up Ta r Sit 48-6es 8 0 80 00 Par kw ay Dr ur y 1000 800 Ja 400 00 O R E 8G ON 101 Point St George Cr P 0.25 Mi K la 0 S T AT E 0 40 Campfire Center P on 10 ek Cre on sag Os Trail West Rid ge oastal Trail 00 60 Prairie 0 00 0.4 Km Smith River Creek MURRELET 20 0 10 k L REDWOODS Accessible Feature Fe r Lo n C op any Tra on il 100 0 Brookings h CREEK Trail Trail: Hike & Bike Gold Bluffs Beach Campground Pa 1200 p hi il Tra 0 800 e ie 10 For 800 80 air rth Creek e Littl ek Cre il Tra idge st R We Trail: Hike Picnic Area 1000 Ah ail Tr Pr No 00 PRAIRIE 600 400 200 Trail: Accessible (Hike Only) Parking Elk Elk Prairie Hike/Bike Camp po 12 600 Unpaved Road Fern Canyon Day Use Elk Prairie Campground es Sit -76 71 800 Paved Road Cabin es Sit -70 69 1000 y Ta Prairie Trail Creek Sites 5-7 00 0 Butler pe P Sites 8-47 Cabin 1-4 Sites Trail Ho (Permit Required) Entrance Kiosk 12 60 200 400 West Ridge Freeway 0 Creek 00 600 Tra il a 0 Ah-Pah Interpretive Trail Ossagon Access m 80 Wilderness Area © 2012 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) d oo Tr 1000 tion P Ca al REDWOOD N AT I O N A L PA R K 800 State Park Campground: Hike & Bike ela DEL NORTE COUNTY HUMBOLDT COUNTY wa ay P Backcountry Parking Visitor Center ro u w Trail pg rk ie Pa Prair st k Dr B Newto n oa n C so ee ve ive y ur Redw hn Gro Dr il eek Jo Cr a Tr reek Cathedral Trees Trail Bo Cr yes ee k P Cr 0 Re v 80 00 ie C il 10 600 Prair Access Tr a il 400 woo d M Na cG 400 P rs the ail rru Tr Ca ove C Legend Campground Elk Prairie Campground 0 y 80 ve 600 Closed to through traffic Easy 133.5 Easy 127.96 Easy 129.00 Moderate 130.17 Strenuous Moderate 127.27 Very easy 127.96 Moderate Easy Easy 128.0 Moderate Easy Easy Moderate Moderate Easy/Strenuous 132.74 Moderate/Strenuous Easy 131.9 Moderate Easy Easy Moderate 132.74 Easy 130.19 Easy Very easy Moderate 130.54 Strenuous 129.0 Easy Moderate Strenuous 129.37 Strenuous 130.54 ek ar 0 DIFFICULTY 0.4 0.1 1.2 1.9 1.0 1.4 0.3 1.4 11.4 0.1 2.8 1.3 0.6 2.2 2.8 3.6 4.5 0.2 4.1 0.3 0.3 1.6 4.3 0.7 0.3 7.8 0.9 2.1 6.8 0.5 0.5 200 MI. Ah Pah Interpretive Trail Big Tree Wayside Brown Creek Trail CA Real Estate Assn (CREA) Carruthers Cove Trail Cathedral Trees Trail Circle Trail Clintonia Trail Coastal Trail Corkscrew Tree Trail Davison Trail Elk Prairie Trail Fern Canyon Loop Foothill Trail Friendship Ridge Trail Hope Creek/Ten Taypo Trails James Irvine Trail Little Creek Trail Miner’s Ridge Trail Moorman Pond Trail Nature Trail Ossagon Trail Prairie Creek Trail Redwood Access Trail Revelation Trail Rhododendron Trail South Fork Trail Streelow Creek Trail West Ridge Trail Zigzag 1 Trail Zigzag 2 Trail 40 TRAILS DRURY PARKWAY MILE MARKER Cre idge 400 0 T ra Prairie Creek Redwoods 00 James Irvine Trail 10 200 40 We st R 200 600 Trail 400 800 to Crescent City 25 miles eT rail 60

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