Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP
Narrated by Russ Christoff
The northern most of the redwood parks, and named for the first white American to see the coast redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is nine miles east of Crescent City, and 34 miles from the Oregon border, and contains groves of some of the largest trees in the world.
Known for its 106 campsites and its location on the free flowing Smith River, this is a very popular park during the summer months.
In other months, huge trout and King Salmon make it a draw for fishermen.
We located Dan, the park ranger, down at the river and asked how the park became so well known.
Dan, Jedediah Smith State Park is pretty close to the top of Northern California. What would make people want to come to the park?
RANGER DAN: One reason is that the park has been a park for a long time. It was one of the first state parks.
While a formal campground now, it hadn’t been until the 1940’s. People traditionally camped here many years before that.
And by word of mouth, because it is such a beautiful area, and it is on the Smith River, and people have enjoyed their stay and I think they like the staff here.
We remain pretty much the same over the years and with the same philosophies.
Then I think, number one, people keep coming back and they tell their friends.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: You have a grove here which is just spectacular.
RANGER DAN: Yes, Stout Grove. It was named for Frank Stout, and aptly so because he’s the man that donated the original 44 acres which started the park.
He was actually a timber baron and personally I think as he got older he had some misgivings, and thought he should give something back.
The interesting thing about the Stout Grove and the way the park started, is the fact that he dealt with a man named Newton Drury, who was the founder of Save the Redwoods League, and later state park and national park directors.
Mr. Drury was a very famous man, particularly with redwoods, along with parks in general.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: On the way over to Stout Grove, I crossed Summer Bridge. Now is it Summer Bridge because in the winter you can’t cross that bridge?
RANGER DAN: Absolutely! In fact, right after Labor Day we will be taking that bridge out. We can’t ever risk the first rains. The river rises so fast because it’s a young river and it’s an undamaged river, so it comes up real fast and then goes down.
But in the summer, sometime around July 1st, we’re able to put it in and then it stays in until after Labor Day.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: It’s a great way to get over to the grove.
RANGER DAN: Yeah!