If you are yearning to view the tall California redwood trees, and you're planning a trip to a redwood park, "Redwood Park" will appear more than once on any of your maps of northern California. In fact the state of California contains 5 redwood parks-one National Park and four State Parks.
The flora does not differ from one park to the next park. Redwood trees are the primary plant growing in abundance. But all five parks also contain spruce, Douglas fir, hemlock, berry bushes and sword ferns. The National Park and each Redwood State Park have been declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Their terrestrial and coastal ecosystems support a rich biodiversity of living creatures, a community of plants and animals in need of preservation.
Humbolt Redwood State Park, Redwood Park number four on the list of California State Parks, received its special status in 1999, when it became the state's largest redwood park. At the time of its creation, the Humbolt Redwoods Interactive Association wanted to help preserve Humbolt's 52,000 acres. Today the total of all California parkland that feeds nutrients and water to the stately redwoods supports the growth of 45% of the redwoods in California.
Prairie Creek Park, Del Norte Park and Jediah Smith Park, Redwood State Parks, all three, share with Humbolt and Redwood National Park the honor of being a World Heritage Site. This indicates that their preservation helps to preserve the culture and heritage of one group of people. In the case of the redwood parks, the protected heritage is that of the Native Americans who lived in California long before the first White settler made an appearance. Those indigenous people recognized the majesty of the world's largest trees long before those same trees gained preservation in a Redwood State Park.
The Indians had a great respect for the redwoods, even though they did not put them in a park. Redwood trees earned the Indians respect by living to a ripe old age of 2,000, and by growing as much as 300 feet above the forest's surface. The Indians never ceased to admire those tall trees, no matter how many times they sailed their watercraft from the 37 miles of redwood-covered coastline.
There is no large body of unsalted water within the Redwood National Park. Redwood trees in some of the State Parks, though, do enjoy the closeness of fresh water resources. The State Parks contain the Smith and the Eel Rivers. Smaller branches of those rivers produced Mill Creek and Prairie Creek, both geographical features in a Redwood State Park.
Various birds and insects have become an important part of the ecosystem in each Park. Redwood tree forests are home to many different birds, mammals and insects.
These creatures thrive in the dark and moist environment of the old growth coast redwoods. Many of those creatures now furnish tourists with an added attraction at the Redwood National Park, or at one of the four State Parks. Their choice of the redwood forest as a home has caused the international push for preservation of the rows and rows of redwood trees.