Sinkyone Wilderness

Park Brochure

brochure Sinkyone Wilderness - Park Brochure
Sinkyone Wilderness 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. One hundred years ago, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park was an industrial landscape, logged for its natural resources. Today, California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (707) 986-7711. 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 Sinkyone Wilderness State Park Briceland Thorn Road Whitethorn, CA 95589 (707) 986-7711 © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) efforts are underway to restore its wild beauty for generations to come. S inkyone Wilderness State Park is part of a wild and beautiful stretch of shoreline known as “The Lost Coast.” This rugged area, about 36 miles southwest of Garberville, is one of the few places on California’s long coastline that cannot be reached by a state highway or paved road. Fortunately for those who seek peace and serenity, the remote location of this rocky place has foiled decades of attempts by developers who had hoped to exploit its stunning scenery. The thick morning fog that develops as the land meets the sea muffles most sounds. As the fog threads its way over high cliffs and settles in among the park’s tall redwoods, only the thunder of the ocean’s rolling surf and the faint barking of sea lions reaches the ear of a silent hiker. Bear Harbor PARK HISTORY Native People The Sinkyone people lived in the area now known as Sinkyone Wilderness State Park for thousands of years before European contact. At the time the Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone population probably numbered as many as 4,000. The boundaries of Sinkyone lands extended east to the main stem of the Eel River and the river’s South Fork, south beyond what is now Leggett, and west to the ocean. The name Sinkyone was assigned by 20th-century ethnographers to classify separate political groups who spoke the same dialect of the Athabascan language family. Each distinct political group maintained its own geographic area and self-identity, but all groups formed a larger economy that delivered goods as far as the Eastern United States. This area was probably more densely populated by Sinkyones before the European incursion than it is now. Today, many people of Sinkyone descent live throughout the north coast. Traditional practices passed down through generations of Sinkyone experience created a highly productive environment. Conservation and restoration projects headed by local Dollar resurrected the lumber company for a while by use of skillful marketing and partnerships. Despite good management, Mr. Dollar shut the mill down in 1901. In November 1908, the Nelson Lumber Company of New York State acquired the mill for $10 in gold. The land continued to change hands frequently, with various attempts to revive logging operations. At the end of World War II, the Georgia-Pacific Plywood and Lumber Co. took over. In 1975, the State of California began acquiring local land to preserve as Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. When concerned environmentalists sued to prevent Georgia-Pacific from clear-cutting the remaining forest in 1986, the lumber company sold the property to the Trust for Public Land. The funds necessary to purchase 3,000 acres of trees came from the Save the Redwoods League, the Trust for Public Land, Photo courtesy of Julie Martin, Save the Redwoods League slide lumber products to waiting schooners — the preferred method to load lumber products onto ships. He called the gulch “Anderson’s Landing,” later renamed “Northport.” Lumberyards shipped wood to markets into the early 1900s. Lumber schooners departed regularly from Usal, Anderson’s Landing, Needle Rock, and other local ports. Eventually, roads and railroad tracks were built. No longer dependent Wharf constructed at Bear Harbor for lumber shipping, 1893 on the sea for transportation, people settled further inland. tribal groups, using time-tested methods, The Bear Harbor Railroad was built in have been instrumental in bringing the early 1890s to haul tanoak from inland restorative healing to the landscape. forests to Bear Harbor. Plans to extend Early Settlers the line from Bear Harbor to a mill near In the 1850s, early European settlers Piercy were cancelled claimed land in the area of today’s Shelter after a fatal accident Cove. Beginning in the 1860s, settlers and the 1906 occupied the land around what is now earthquake. Railroad called Bear Harbor, where they grazed remnants may still be cattle. Soon the landscape was devoted seen in the park. to cattle and sheep ranches, in addition to By 1892, the demand farms and orchards. for lumber had Until then, the only routes into and out destroyed thousands of the area were those used by the native of acres of virgin coast people. By the mid-1860s, lines of pack redwoods. John A. mules carried a steady supply of local Wonderly, who had tanoak bark to San Francisco’s tanneries. acquired the Usal Before long, the settlers had to build Lumber Company in wharfs and chutes to aid in loading waiting 1888, shut it down ships with lumber, tanoak bark, and other because of the lack profitable cargoes. In 1872, Robert Anderson of timber. In 1894 San built a wire chute at Little Jackass Gulch to Franciscan Robert Redwood grove on Lost Coast Trail the State Coastal Conservancy, and other dedicated donors. These acres were added to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in 1986. Natural History Geology Sinkyone Wilderness lies near the junction of three major tectonic plates — the Pacific, North American, and Gorda plates. The “Mendocino triple junction” is one of the most seismically active places in the state. The park’s dramatic, sheer coastal bluffs are just one landform resulting from fault movement. At the north end of the park just south of Whale Gulch, fault-related landforms include a narrow, incised linear valley with several sag ponds, which are clear indicators of fault activity. The park’s beaches are mostly black sand, with tiny rock fragments derived from the local Franciscan bedrock. The sands are made up of dark, iron-rich mineral grains, and small cobbles and gravels. Sometimes, unusual purple and pink sand beaches appear within the park and then vanish. Brought about by the “washing” action of the surf, this event occurs when waves winnow the heavier sand grains back into the sea, leaving behind a “frosting” of pink or purplish garnet sand grains that cover the underlying black sands. Animals and Plants Red, pinto, and flat abalone inhabit the rocky intertidal waters. Steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon live in tributaries, coastal drainages, streams, and rivers. California brown pelicans, rhinoceros auklets, and their close relatives —tufted puffins — can often be seen diving for fish. The park’s small herd of Roosevelt elk roams the coastal prairies. Once almost countless, the elk were nearly hunted out of existence. Originally relocated from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the elk were rescued by the actions of a group of ranchers who saved the remaining elk and their habitat. Among amphibious species of special concern, southern torrent salamanders like cold, wet places; tailed frogs find refuge among stands of Douglas-fir, redwood, and Sitka spruce. Adult coastal giant salamanders can be found in the forests, and their larval stages are more conspicuous in streams. Foothill yellow-legged frogs prefer streams with rocky shores, such as Usal Creek. Overhead, raptors — including red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, golden eagles, northern harriers, peregrine falcons, spotted owls, and ospreys — descend from the skies, seeking their prey. Sinkyone Wilderness has steep slopes heavily wooded with Douglas-fir forest closer to the coast. Tanbark oak woodland grows on the inland slopes. Coastal terraces are covered with coastal prairie and coastal scrub vegetation. Some old-growth redwoods along the Lost Coast Trail survived the logging era. Left: Roosevelt bull elk Above: Small herd of Roosevelt elk resting at the Needle Rock Visitor Center Climate Summer temperatures range from 45 to 75 degrees. Summer fog is usually gone by mid-morning. Rain is most common between November and May, when the temperatures range from 35 to 55 degrees. Climate change affects all living things within the redwood forest. Experts fear that the area’s increase in average temperature and decrease in thick summer fog and rain will endanger redwoods and the other plants and creatures that depend on the redwood environment. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES The former ranch house of Calvin Cooper Stewart and his family, built in the 1920s, campgrounds, check in at the Be extremely careful around the majestic Needle Rock Visitor Center. Roosevelt elk — they can be especially dangerous. During mating season, massive Trail camps — These firstbulls battle each other for the right to come, first-served campsites mate. When calves are born, elk cows for backpackers are located become fiercely protective. If you want to between Bear Harbor and take elk photos, stay on trails and use a Usal Beach on the Lost zoom lens; do not try to get close to the Coast Trail. elk. These fast-moving animals may be Horse Camping — found throughout the park. Equestrian camping Rarely, bears have been seen in the is permitted at Usal Beach forested areas; more elusive mountain and Wheeler campgrounds. lions roam at dawn and dusk. Group Camping — Groups Besides the abundance of birdlife and of nine or more can be the Roosevelt elk, you may spot various accommodated at the Usal Needle Rock Visitor Center marine species. Watch migrating whales Beach horse campground. offshore from mid-January to mid-April. Call (707) 986-7711 in Marine mammals such as northern now houses the Needle Rock Visitor Center. advance for a Group Use Permit. elephant seals, sea lions, or harbor seals Needle Rock was once a small settlement Hiking — The 22-mile Lost Coast Trail may be seen hauling out along the and a shipping point for Stewart’s ranch parallels the coastline, traversing steep rocky shoreline. operations. The center also displays mountains and sloping prairies. Views from Do not — under any circumstances — interpretive exhibits. the trail depend on the thickness of the approach a marine mammal. Report a Camping — Wilderness camping is the only fog cover, especially during the summer distressed marine mammal by calling type available. Primitive campsites have months. The fog-muffled sounds the North Coast Marine Mammal tables, fire rings, a nearby pit toilet, but no and fragrances produce an aura Center at (707) 465-6265. developed water source. Bring your own of great mystery. drinking water. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Wildlife Watching Usal Beach Campground — The only At this largely undeveloped The park’s variety of marine, drive-in campground in the park, the wilderness park, there are freshwaters and terrestrial Usal Beach sites are in a meadow currently no wheelchairhabitats support richly area near the beach. Narrow accessible activities; diverse wildlife. The offshore rural roads are often however, accessibility is rocks, under the jurisdiction of impassable, and RVs or continually improving. For the Bureau of Land Management, trailers are not advisable. details or updates, visit are managed by California State Needle Rock and Bear Parks and the California Department of Adult male Harbor — To use Fish and Wildlife. elephant seal these environmental Red-tailed hawk PLEASE REMEMBER • All of the park’s natural and cultural resources are protected by state law, and may not be disturbed in any way. • Hunting and firearms are prohibited anywhere in the park. • Dogs must be kept on a leash no more than six feet long, under human control at all times. They must be confined to your tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on trails. • Do not collect dead or down wood. Purchase firewood at the visitor center for campfires, or bring your own wood. • Fires are permitted only in facilities provided. Use portable stoves only in designated areas. Fireworks are never permitted in the park. • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Noise that may disturb others is not permitted. Generators may be operated only between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. • Pay in advance for campsite use. No more than 8 people per site. Checkout time is noon. • Vehicle speed limit is 15 mph. • Off-road vehicle usage is not allowed. • Please clean up after yourself and your pets. Store food in airtight containers. • Stay on trails to avoid ticks. Wear lightcolored clothing in order to see them; tuck pant legs into your socks and use repellent. Check for ticks after hiking. • Dispose of trash properly. Practice the “Pack it in — pack it out” rule. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Humboldt Redwoods State Park 17119 Avenue of the Giants Weott 95571 (707) 946-2263 • Richardson Grove State Park 1600 U.S. Hwy. 101, #8, Garberville 95542 (707) 247-3318 • Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area 1.5 miles north of Leggett on Hwy. 101 (707) 925-6482 Alder trees line a creek. Whitethorn Sinkyone Wilderness to Hwy. 101 (25 miles) State Park SWSP KING RANGE N AT I O N A L C O N S E R V AT I O N AREA HUMBOLDT MENDOCINO COUNTY COUNTY 00 10 Us al Coast Road River st WHALE Lo 1000 SWSP Paved Road Road Four Corners GU LC 0 Th 20 Unpaved Road Trail: Hiking le B r i ce l an d to at M H 0 or n Trail: Hike & Horse SWSP Ro Campground: Primitive l 1000 s ed 0 p w o Rd L Indian Parking P Trailhead Creek Viewpoint 80 0 Jones Beach Camp in W int ) er orn 20 Ga k i Tra (C lo ee nd ad Coast Bri c e l a st Usal Lo Th Jones Beach Trail Campground: Environmental Campground: Horse Cr 0 il Tra 100 80 Legend © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) 60 0 100 0 Streamside Camp SINKYONE Visitor Center WILDERNESS Cr eek ad r) te in W de S TAT E PA R K Ro al in Us ed s lo (C 0 tR oc k 100 Cre n ek 0 80 Fla a d o er) t in W 600 400 20 0 North Rock Orchard Camp Morgan Rock 40 0 100 00 R rs o 16 orn Th d sed in lan (Clo Bri c e Double Rock An Needle Rock Needle Rock 0 160 0 1200 1400 Railroad Camp 00 12 00 10 140 0 Note: Most roads into the park are seasonal. Due to rough driving conditions, large trailers and RVs are not recommended at any time. Bear Harbor Camp 0 1000 0 180 0 20 0 40 Bear Harbor 80 Pa Cluster Cone Rocks 600 C Br t st A S 1400 S ID rth Ea 0 14 R No n il 0 00 as ea Tr a K 16 Co an ch st Oc Seal Rocks 0 Lo ic JA 160 cif Duffy’s Reef G 00 E 10 This park receives support in part through a nonprofit group. For more information, contact: Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association PO Box 276, Weott, CA 95571 (707) 946-2263 1000 10 00 00 Creek 0 10 Wh 2 Miles Cr ee k il Tra t a ss Ja Trail 200 400 L i tt Gulch r de tel An N Gu o ID 10 E 00 20 0 ul ch 0 G Lost Co as G t ul ch P a Tr il 5 60 800 600 600 4 20 00 0 0 tel 40 800 Ho 0 120 rk G Hotel Hendy Woods SP Point Arena Da Big White Rock Willows Clear Lake SP R h Gulc 0 30 Km Ukiah n 80 0 20 Mi Anderson so l Russian Gulch SP Van Damme SP 10 Gulch i Tra Fort Bragg t p or 5 Mendocino National Forest Willits Trail ER 101 0 Leggett MB le r 1 00 Little Jackass Creek h rt ch l Red Bluff Standish-Hickey SRA 0 80 0 60 Garberville 36 Richardson Grove SP MacKerricher SP 0 Redding 36 Humboldt Redwoods SP King Range National Conservation Area 10 80 101 Sinkyone Wilderness SP Jackass Cone Mistake Point TI eele Cliff il Tra Eureka Shasta-Trinity National 3 Forest Whiskeytown Six Rivers ShastaNational Trinity Forest NRA 299 Ho as ck Co Wh st n Lo derso An 3 Kilometers 2 1 r 1 eele 0 0 Usal Beach Usa to Hwy. 1 l eek Wheeler Camp Cr ka s s 80 Ja c al Creek Us Usal R oad (Closed in Win ter) Fork 200 400 600 400 200 Jackson Pinnacle

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