Big Basin Redwood State park is California’s oldest state park and a white knuckle nine mile drive on a road no wider then a couch gets you there While there is evidence of ancient civilizations having lived in the area, it is known that the first missionaries in California used the area to escape bombarding Spaniards and recover from bouts of scurvy on the local berries. The park itself came to be when a newspaper photographer named Andrew Hill photographed a stand of Redwoods on private land near Santa Cruz. Being floored by the enormity of the trees and subsequently accused of trespassing by the landowner, Joseph Welch, whose the land the trees resided on, Andrew took action and saved the trees that were inevitably going to be logged by Welch. Through Hill’s photographs and his ability to convince others of the Redwoods value, the trees at that particular stand and at an even larger one containing larger and older trees nearby in what is now Big Basin State Park, were saved…only six months before all the two thousand-year old trees would be cut down, leaving zero virgin Redwood forest in that part of Central California.
Being from Seattle, and despite having seen my fair share of big trees I was still awestruck. The paths that led me meandering throughout the small portion of the park I explored was set up perfectly for their purpose: To amaze visitors with gigantic trees. Andrew Hill’s story reminded me a great deal of the Lorax and Hill may just have been a source of inspiration for Dr. Seuss. While Hill seems to come off as more of a brute then the somewhat condescending Lorax, the Truffula trees in Seuss’ classic can appropriately stand in for any threatened tree in the world. Check out all the photos I took at my Flickr and my source article for Andrew Hill here.