Park Number: 11/61
First Visited: December 20, 2010
These trees, true dendrite deities, form a direct line from heaven to earth, pulling manna from the sky and permitting sorcery in the soil. These are the redwoods, the tallest trees on the entire planet, the placeholder of any hippy's heart.
This national park has an odd and haunting history of preservation, with many conflicting groups vying for different uses of the land. Lumber, watershed, and erosion all became pressing issues. And because Congress couldn't act quick enough to answer the redwood's plight, the area is now a broken chain of state and national parks. Private land, being used for tourist attractions (giant replicas of Paul Bunyan, tunnels cut through trees), is dispersed throughout the mess. The result is a jarring experience, taking you from protected land to exploited land and back again, but once you bury yourself in an old-growth forest (such as the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park) you begin to forget the world around you, your eyes only skyward.