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News: The GCA and Save the Redwoods League:

 

March 19, 2019

A Partnership Forged to Protect and Restore

The 2018 wildfires in California wreaked the most extensive damage in the state’s history, with buildings destroyed, lives lost, and nearly 1.9 million acres burned. As an advocate for the protection and preservation of the redwood forests, the GCA is committed to its almost 90 year partnership with Save the Redwoods League. While The Garden Club of America Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park was spared in 2018, the 5,100 acre old-growth redwood forest was heavily damaged 15 years prior. With help from the GCA, restored trails recently reopened to the public.

In 2003, the Canoe Creek Fire burned over 11,000 acres, including the GCA Grove. Subsequent landslides and storms compounded the damage. The resilient redwoods survived and the surrounding ecosystem recovered. However, bridges and trails were destroyed rendering the River Trail impassable. Park budget cuts stymied rehabilitation plans.

In keeping with the GCA's purpose to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment and community, the GCA launched the Bridge the Gap campaign in 2013 for the restoration of the River Trail. The GCA clubs and members across the country raised nearly $400,000 for improvements to Humboldt Redwoods State Park’s day-use area.

In summer 2014, Bridge the Gap campaign funds were used to support restoration of 2.5 miles of the 6-mile River Trail that runs through the GCA Grove. Projects included clearing underbrush, building retaining walls, and doing trail maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction. To minimize erosion and other environmental impacts, California State Parks has rerouted the trail to higher, more stable ground.

Restoration to the fire and storm-damaged trail was done by a six-student crew from the Student Conservation Association (SCA), under the direction of California State Parks. The SCA’s participation in the project bridges efforts by the League and the GCA to involve young people in conservation to get them to know, love, and care for forests in the future.

Last year, the River Trail reopened to visitors who now enjoy upgrades including parking, restrooms, new footbridges, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, and interpretive panels. Additional footbridges will be installed by this spring.

Top photo: The GCA’s Grove in Humboldt State Park, dedication 1934

Second photo: Students from the Student Conservation Association help to rebuild the trails after the 2003 fires. Work was completed in 2018.

Third photo: Devastating 2003 fires at Canoe Creek in the GCA’s Grove destroyed trails and bridges.

 

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