Thesis

Development of the memorial grove system in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Thesis (M.A., History)--California State University, Sacramento, 1968

The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is unique
 among the trees of the world. Occupying only a narrow strip
 along the Pacific Coast of California, these trees are considered
 to be the oldest, largest, and most impressive of
 all living things. Prior to the California gold rush, the
 redwood forest had grown to enormous size and great age
 Then, about the middle of the nineteenth century, the
 pioneers of California began to use redwood lumber. These pioneers found that the redwood had many remarkable
 qualities. One such quality was that the redwood
 contained a natural preservative, making it resistant to
 decay. The fact that it contained no highly inflammable
 substances, such as pitch or resin, made the redwood also
 resistant to fire and therefore quite useful as a building
 material. For three summers I worked at Humboldt Redwoods State
 Park as a park aid, greeting campers and helping to maintain
 the park. During this time, I was able to explore the
 area and observe, not only the varying sizes and beauty of
 the different redwood groves, but also their uniqueness as
 living memorials. Such questions as, how did the groves become established? Who
 were the parties responsible for setting them aside? And, when did the memorial grove system start? These questions needed answering in order to bring about a better understanding of the forest, the park, and the efforts of
 the people concerned with the preservation of the redwood
 tree. This research paper represents an attempt to answer
 these questions.

The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is unique among the trees of the world. Occupying only a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast of California, these trees are considered to be the oldest, largest, and most impressive of all living things. Prior to the California gold rush, the redwood forest had grown to enormous size and great age Then, about the middle of the nineteenth century, the pioneers of California began to use redwood lumber. These pioneers found that the redwood had many remarkable qualities. One such quality was that the redwood contained a natural preservative, making it resistant to decay. The fact that it contained no highly inflammable substances, such as pitch or resin, made the redwood also resistant to fire and therefore quite useful as a building material. For three summers I worked at Humboldt Redwoods State Park as a park aid, greeting campers and helping to maintain the park. During this time, I was able to explore the area and observe, not only the varying sizes and beauty of the different redwood groves, but also their uniqueness as living memorials. Such questions as, how did the groves become established? Who were the parties responsible for setting them aside? And, when did the memorial grove system start? These questions needed answering in order to bring about a better understanding of the forest, the park, and the efforts of the people concerned with the preservation of the redwood tree. This research paper represents an attempt to answer these questions.

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