Van Damme is the most interesting of the state parks close to us as it contains examples of the three types of flora along the Mendocino Coast: the Coastal Redwoods, the Pygmy forest and ferns. The park is at Little River. There are three trails which pass through each type of flora. The fern canyon hike in the park winds along the bottom of a canyon filled with ferns, the Logging Road trail passes through large second growth redwoods the upper Pygmy Forest Boardwalk trail loops through the Pygmy forest where 100 year old pines trees are one foot high. The paved Logging Road Trail was built on an old skid road used to remove redwoods in the 1860s.
Elk is south of Albion and the Navarro River. Go to the Greenwood State Beach visitor centre and museum – it’s in the middle of town on the west side of the road. The museum is a positive treasure trove of links to the logging days. From 1884 to 1916 the Museum was the office of the L.E. White Lumber Company. From 1916 to 1930 it was the office the Goodyear Redwood Lumber Company that purchased the White operation. It was the Elk post office for many years. When you enter the museum you will be stunned by the mural covering one wall. One word of caution – you need to time when you visit the museum – it is only open weekends for 2 hours each day. Check their website here.
In the museum you will find artifacts which were used in the lumber camps to harvest the redwoods and bark from the tan oak trees. The gallery room and main Museum are filled with photographs of early settlers of the town of Greenwood and nearby Cuffeys Cove and of the lumbering operations. There are file folders filled with postcards, pictures and memorabilia from families living in Elk whose forefathers worked in the mill. In the back room you will find a model of a steam donkey and a Shay locomotive built by Associate member Colin Menzies and Member Tony Phillips.
Fort Ross is a two hour and a half drive south from Fort Bragg on Route 1. Click here for map. The settlement of Ross was established by the Russian – American Company, a commercial hunting and trading company chartered by the Tsarist government. On March of 1812 a party of 25 Russians, many of them craftsmen, and 80 native Alaskans from Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands began construction of the fort. The Fort has been completely restored and has a wonderfully informative visitor center.
1906 earthquake epicenter: The 1906 earthquake hit the Mendocino Coast very hard. You can visit the epicenter of the 1906 earthquake at Point Reyes and see physical evidence of the earth shifting nearly six feet. Click here for map. Club Member Louis Hough wrote this article which was published in the Mendocino Beacon about the devastation in Mendocino and its surrounds. Click here to see pictures we have collected of the devastation the “big one” caused in the Redwood Empire.
Montgomery Woods State Reserve To visit what was once considered to be the tallest tree in the world you need to turn off Route 1 (which takes you to Fort Ross and the 1906 earthquake epicenter) onto the Comptche Ukiah Road in Mendocino and go about 30 miles passing through the minute town of Comptche onto Orr Springs Road – which is not a nice road. Click here for a map of its location. You need to climb a steep hill to get to the old growth redwood stand which is very beautiful.