In Love With Redwoods

Photo credit: Paolo Vescia/Save The Redwoods League

Photo credit: Paolo Vescia/Save The Redwoods League

Redwoods are immense and unforgettable, and I imagine that you feel the same way too. The time I spent in their presence on a snowy day in Sequoia National Park some years ago still stays with me. Today, I'm in love with these trees as much as ever and seek them out in forests not far from where I live.

These huge trees are living reminders of an ancient wilderness that once blanketed the West Coast of America. With lifespans dating thousands of years, their canopies reach skyward, filling the air with intricate foliage and thickened branches.

Away from the giant sequoia that grow in the mountains of Sierra Nevada, coast redwoods live in a world of their own in North California and southern Oregon. Despite their dislike for salt water, they prefer living close to the open sea. They thrive on the thick fog that drifts in off the Pacific Ocean, absorbing the endless moisture that coats their narrow leaves and the soil where they stand.

Fibrous and dense, the root systems of these trees resemble a finely woven mat. With no deep roots to keep them firmly anchored in the earth, towering redwoods become weakened by centuries of wind damage and eventually topple over in savage storms. Their tall trunks are coarsely layered with reddish-brown bark which acts as a shield against fire and disease.

Closely related to each other, coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and giant sequoia (Sequoia giganteum) are iconic and endangered in the wild. By protecting them in public parks, through the efforts of the Save The Redwoods League, we can continue to safeguard their future. Offering shade and respite and some time out in nature, I know from my own experience, there's nothing that calms the soul like being in a redwood grove.

Angela Gnyp