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Science & Nature

Wildlife

Black-tailed deer can be seen watching for bobcats or mountain lions. Tracks of California black bears, raccoons, and river otters dot the river’s damp banks.

Pileated woodpeckers hammer at the trees, in the company of dark-eyed juncos, northern spotted owls, winter wrens, and boisterous Steller’s jays. Great blue herons fish among the river rocks.

In winter, the confluence of Grizzly Creek and the Van Duzen River is a good spot for viewing the park’s run of spawning Chinook salmon.

A marbled murrelet chick was found on the ground here in the summer of 2009, proving that this seagoing species (Brachyramphus marmoratus) can nest in redwoods 30 miles from the coast. Murrelets once numbered 60,000 along the California coast. Today less than 6,000 remain. Corvids (jays, crows, and ravens) prey upon murrelet eggs and chicks. Please do not lure more corvids into the area by dropping food or crumbs.

This park is Crumb Clean. Visitors are required to watch this short video about the impact human food has on park wildlife.

Plants

Sunlight in trees imageThe tallest trees on earth, coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are the dominant tree species at Grizzly Creek. Near the eastern boundary of their range, they rely on winter rains and morning fog for survival. Other common trees include Douglas-fir, tanoak, and bigleaf maple.

Among the plants growing underneath these trees are white trillium, calypso orchids, fairy lanterns, wild ginger, and Douglas iris.

Research in the Redwoods

With the help of Save the Redwoods League and other funding partners, California’s redwood state parks have become a living laboratory for scientists. http://www.savetheredwoods.org/what-we-do/restore

Scientists studying the effects of rising global temperatures have found that the size and longevity of redwoods helps them store more climate-altering carbon dioxide than other plants. http://www.savetheredwoods.org/our-work/study/understanding-climate-change/ Even old redwoods continue to grow, each year adding more carbon-filled wood than smaller, younger trees. After redwoods die, their rot-resistant wood holds onto that carbon for a long time.

To find out more about research in California's redwood parks, go to http://www.savetheredwoods.org/our-work/study/redwood-research/redwoods-research/.

For More Information

For more information about plants and animals in the redwood forests of Humboldt County, go to the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association website and click on “In Depth.”